Company will lead project funded by California Energy Commission BRIDGE Program
BURLINGTON, Vt. , Feb. 03, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Packetized Energy, a leading developer of software systems and smart devices that help the electricity industry flexibly manage electricity demand, will receive $2 million in prime contractor funding from the California Energy Commission under their BRIDGE (Bringing Rapid Innovation Development to Green Energy) program. The award will fund deployment and connection of 7,000 new and existing smart energy devices to Packetized Energy’s Nimble platform, enabling a combined 4 megawatts (MW) of grid flexibility. The project will create one of the largest distributed energy resource (DER) aggregation networks from residential devices in California.
With its project partners, Packetized Energy will be able to provide valuable energy flexibility through the state’s grid operator (California ISO), in a way that will go beyond conventional demand response programs. In addition to peak load reduction to help eliminate the need for new fossil fuel power plants, the resulting “virtual battery” will demonstrate how aggregated smart devices can actively balance the variability of renewable energy, reduce grid-based carbon emissions, and lower system-level energy costs through wholesale price arbitrage. The project will also show how policy changes resulting from FERC Order 2222, which enables DER aggregators to compete in organized wholesale electric markets, will create new opportunities to solve grid problems through customer-owned devices.
“This project will prove how Packetized Energy’s technology can enable thousands of energy users and their smart devices to play a significant role in balancing the grid in ways that go far beyond conventional demand response,” said Packetized Energy CEO and co-founder, Dr. Paul Hines. “This large-scale deployment will help keep energy in California affordable and reliable, while also enabling the growth of clean energy resources. As the largest contract award in our history, this accelerates our momentum as an innovative DER aggregator and software solutions provider for the electric power industry.”
The need for energy flexibility in California is clear. Last summer, the state’s electricity customers faced rolling blackouts because the grid nearly ran out of capacity. Looking forward, as power systems increasingly rely on variable wind and solar resources, this need for flexibility will become more complex and essential. This project will demonstrate how customer-owned energy devices can provide next-generation grid flexibility, delivering benefits to program participants and to all California electricity customers.
Another key goal of the project is to provide better access to advanced energy technology to communities that have not historically benefited from clean energy innovations. To facilitate local outreach and deployment of about 2,000 new devices, such as smart thermostats, in disadvantaged communities, Packetized is teaming with GRID Alternatives, the country’s largest nonprofit providing low-carbon solutions exclusively to low-income communities. GRID Alternatives currently administers California’s $162 million Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) program and the $120 million DAC-SASH program.
“GRID Alternatives is excited to partner with Packetized Energy to deploy thousands of new smart energy devices in California’s disadvantaged communities,” said Dan Dumovich, GRID program manager. “Increasing access to smart device technology is a real win-win opportunity, as it will provide benefits to California’s electric grid while creating more affordable energy for those most in need.”
As part of the project, Packetized Energy is partnering with WattTime to integrate marginal carbon emissions signals into the Packetized software platform, helping customers to reduce their carbon footprint through load flexibility. WattTime’s Executive Director, Gavin McCormick, says, “We’re excited to partner with Packetized Energy to empower customers—and their smart devices—to shift their electricity use toward periods of clean energy. Flexible demand paired with the right kind of software intelligence and automation can make grid-edge devices a powerful tool for reducing carbon emissions, integrating more renewable energy, and engaging with residential customers on issues they care about.”
In addition to GRID Alternatives and WattTime, Packetized is partnering with Leap Energy, a company that provides aggregators with access to California’s energy markets. Other project partners include Momentum, which will provide grant management, technology transfer and outreach, Demand Side Analytics, which will provide data analysis support, and Emerson and Zen Ecosystems, both of which will provide smart thermostat systems for the program.
Details of the award announcement may be found here: https://www.energy.ca.gov/media/4931