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Utilities explore customers as a grid resource

Discussions abound on emerging trends in the electric utility industry, such as Vehicle to Grid (V2G) and Building to Grid (B2G). Customers, also, are emerging as a viable grid resource, as utilities explore demand response and Customer to Grid (C2G) as the next wave of reserve potential.

In 2008, Progress Energy Carolinas initiated the Smart Grid Distribution System Demand Response (DSDR) project in North and South Carolina. The DSDR project is the first step in the utility’s long-range smart grid strategy, as part of its balanced solution to meet the future energy needs of its customers. The DSDR project is designed to reduce generation requirements during peak load conditions by controlling voltage using real-time power flow analysis of the distribution grid.

Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) is working on one of the most compelling benefits of smart grid: price responsive demand, also known as dynamic pricing. Price responsive demand and customer elasticity has numerous parallels that can be examined in other industries such as oil, food, and entertainment. Some of the common misconceptions that customers have about their utility and electric service today is the topic of focus group studies, which were conducted in Baltimore with customers who were asked to give uninhibited feedback.

At Wake Electric Membership Corporation, homeowners and small businesses are empowered to control their energy consumption. Energy conservation can attain the attributes of generation. This is achieved by attaching intelligent measurement and control hardware to major energy consuming devices that draw energy when no one is using them. Consumers then use the solution software to create dynamic profiles or preprogrammed profiles, both of which manage usage according to changeable preferences. Utilizing this intelligent conservation, a Virtual Peak PlantSM that produces zero greenhouse emissions can be used to defer or supplant the need for additional conventional power plants at a cost that is 10-20% of the current cost of a new gas-fired peak plant.

KEMA’s Ron Chebra will moderate the session “Customer to Grid—The Next Wave” at DistribuTECH 2011, which will include a discussion with Progress Energy Carolinas, BGE, and Wake Electric Membership Corporation on their “C2G” projects. The session is part of the Demand Response and Energy Efficiency track on Tuesday, February 1, 2011.

Learn more about KEMA’s participation in DistribuTECH 2011.

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