As I’ve covered before, the grid of the future will encourage people to use electricity at optimal times and not use it when electricity comes from dirty or expensive sources. It sounds straightforward but hard to execute in practice. Some have dubbed this demand response as “flexiwatts” — a term I admit to liking.
Now California is going after this demand response opportunity big time, with aggregators facing a deadline today to submit bids to investor-owned utilities. What that means in practice is that a company will be bundling a bunch of customers, ensuring the ability to moderate their electricity use on command and in unison, and then selling those bundled “flexiwatts” to utilities as a resource on par with generation.
The precedent is already there:
In September, Stem Inc. successfully bid aggregated customer storage systems into the CAISO real-time market using Olivine technology, as a demand response resource, part of a pilot program testing integration of the new resources. What to the wider grid looks like a reduction in demand can in fact be battery storage serving a client load, the company said.
“We’re sending energy to serve the clients’ load, so it looks to the grid like load going down,” Ted Ko, Stem’s director of policy, told Utility Dive last month. “It’s a new form of demand response, but it looks to the grid like demand response.”
Stem, along with EnerNOC, SolarCity and Tesla are all expected to submit proposals, GTM reports.
Experts expect a big response — ahem — to the solicitation today.