Renewable Energy World
East Bay Community Energy launched its Pay for Performance program last year, three pilot projects that pay energy efficiency contractors based on their ability to reduce demand during evening peak hours. EBCE contracted with OhmConnect to give customers smart thermostats and wifi-enabled smart plugs that can respond to signals from OhmConnect to cut demand when the grid is overtaxed.
EBCE is also working with Myst AI to use artificial intelligence (AI) to develop more accurate load forecasting, as described in a recent article in PowerGrid International. Partnering with Sunrun, EBCE customers who install solar and batteries are getting paid to dispatch their batteries during the evening peak each day. The batteries in the Resilient Home program are then available to power the home during outages.
EBCE is also partnering with Leap, a San Francisco company, to use “virtual power plants” to provide flexible electricity capacity ahead of peak summertime demand. Virtual plants are a network of residential and commercial batteries, electric vehicle charging, smart thermostats, agricultural and municipal water pumping, cold storage, and commercial HVAC systems that respond to market pricing signals. Statewide, Leap has 288 MW and over 18,000 meters under contract.
To enable these innovative distributed solutions, EBCE is also advocating for policy changes. Joining with other CCAs and distributed energy providers in the California Clean Resource Adequacy Coalition, EBCE called for a set of reforms to remove roadblocks to storage and demand response. These reforms would better value distributed storage, eliminate limitations on demand response, and make it easier for both to get paid for providing reliable services.