How EBCE Is Working with Recurve to Address Peak Demand and GHGs Through Demand Flexibility

April 14, 2020

Watch the full webinar here. Read on for a summary of key points.

How EBCE is Planning for Decarbonization and Grid Stability 

East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) is a Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) serving Alameda County, California. Like many CCAs, EBCE promotes carbon-free energy while balancing resource adequacy requirements, improving reliability, and serving the needs of low-income customers.

In the clip below, Beckie Menten of EBCE explains the goals and objectives behind their data initiatives:

In order to achieve both a stable grid and decarbonization, EBCE needs a path to increasing renewables saturation while managing variability and costs to ratepayers. Adding to this challenge, buildings and transportation must be electrified. But doing so exacerbates the difficulty of meeting expensive and carbon-intensive peak loads.

To meet this challenge, EBCE is working to develop and scale programs focused on load flexibility that approach resources holistically--integrating long-term energy efficiency, flexible load resources, demand response, storage, and renewable energy under one umbrella. 

To this end, the agency designed both their own internal data management capabilities and are working with Recurve on a data analytics platform to identify and procure demand flexibility resources based on avoided cost impacts, with a focus on targeting long term peak load reduction. 

How Recurve Supports EBCE’s Procurement Optimization Strategy

The two-way integration of the EBCE and Recurve platforms has enabled Recurve to efficiently deploy the open-source CalTRACK methods to build weather-normalized load shapes and gas usage profiles for every building in the EBCE service area--approximately half a million structures and nearly one million meters. This analysis forecasts EBCE's energy use and shows which buildings offer the greatest benefit for specific demand-side flexibility interventions.

Addressing the afternoon peak, and especially the summer afternoon peak, is critical as it is these times when the avoided cost of reducing energy use is greatest across all categories, including energy cost, capacity, and greenhouse gas impacts.

Rather than guessing, EBCE can now use the Recurve platform to specifically identify those customers who will have the greatest personal and grid outcomes.

Even for sectors such as commercial buildings, where conventional wisdom has long suggested that there is little load shaping potential, these averages often mask a huge underlying opportunity. 

Typical commercial buildings use more energy during the middle of the day, which means that on average there is not a lot of potential to shed load during high-demand evening hours. 

However, looking beyond the sector average and deemed load shapes, the reality is that thousands of commercial customers in EBCE territory use energy predominantly in the evening. These customers offer a great opportunity for load shifting and cost-effective savings that are hidden by a traditional reliance on average load shape profiles.

Recurve’s analysis identified a large market of commercial buildings that defy the average and are in fact great targets for peak reductions, described by Adam Scheer in the short video below:

This same approach can be utilized to identify high potential customers across other sectors, whether the aim is to target residential HVAC and controls, heat pumps, water heaters, or other distributed energy resources.

Behind the meter solar, paired with storage, electric vehicle charging stations, and other DERs can be strategically deployed to jointly benefit customers and provide grid resilience. Meter data provides building-level granularity that is necessary for planning and forecasting of DER deployment. 

As an example, in the video below, Adam Scheer demonstrates how Recurve enables EBCE to identify which specific customers have the potential for energy storage to be sited where it will have the biggest impact:

This newly enabled visibility into these assets in terms of their load impacts and revenue effects allows EBCE to make strategic investments into carbon-reducing DERs while maintaining a broader commitment to low costs and high-quality service to its customers.

Smarter Targeted Procurement

Though motivated by a broader mandate than traditional energy efficiency programs, EBCE’s commitment to low-cost, clean energy requires the same commitment to cost-effective, scalable programs. 

With an eye towards meeting the needs of all of its customers, EBCE is designing programs that specifically support energy efficiency in low-income homes, peak demand reduction in homes with inefficient air conditioners, and flexible demand reduction in businesses where energy consumption can be reduced during the most carbon-intensive times of the day.

Eschewing top-down, highly prescriptive measures and program designs, EBCE is building on its data infrastructure to provide targeted guidance for third parties, but giving them the freedom to design unique and compelling customer value propositions.

Watch the full webinar below:

The Secret Plan for Decarbonization: How Demand Flexibility Can Save Our Grid

Read our Electricity Journal article to learn how behind the meter flexibility can work as a true grid and climate resource.

Read the articleRead the article

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