News Article | July 19, 2017
The term “distributed energy resource management system,” or DERMS, is used to describe a wide array of software platforms serving a number of functions, from controlling and aggregating fleets of behind-the-meter energy assets, to enabling utilities to integrate these distributed energy resources into their grids. But according to GTM Research’s newly released North American DER Management Systems 2017 report, a true “enterprise DERMS” platform -- one that includes all of the above, without kludgy multi-vendor integrations, and outside the realm of pilot projects -- doesn’t exist today. “This isn’t about interconnection or hosting capacity analysis, operations and maintenance, or long-term management of distributed energy resources (DERs) -- this is about how we manage the grid and DERs in real time,” said Ben Kellison, director of grid research at GTM Research, referring to a new set of categories used in the DERMS report. “Because of the definitional change, we became more stringent about what we call spending on these solutions.” Applying this to GTM Research’s new North American DERMS market forecast yielded a “pretty bleak” figure, he said -- a little over $380 million in cumulative spending through 2021. That’s not much more than the $300+ million in venture capital investment raised by DERMS-related companies since 2010. The forecast also reflects slower-than-expected progress in DER-to-wholesale-energy market integration in Texas, and early-adopting utilities that have hit regulatory and technological hurdles that have pushed spending into future years. San Diego Gas & Electric, which started its $57.4 million DERMS project in 2012, appears likely to spend half or less of that amount by the end of 2018, to take one extreme example. At present, the majority of projected spending is for pilot projects and demonstrations, and the report notes that it will likely be two to three years before an initial set of utilities pursues full deployments, with broader adoption occurring beyond 2021. DERMS activity has been largely concentrated in a handful of states that are aggressively addressing distributed energy integration with major policy reforms, including California, Hawaii and New York. Texas and Washington state are close runners-up, however, and 17 states have at least one pilot project underway. Still, these low numbers belie the growing need for DERMS solutions, Kellison said. “There are more and more DERs on the grid, more and more controllable loads on the grid. And with things like solar PV that have interacted completely passively with the grid, they’re having some of their value streams questioned in some states, or altered in other states. So they’re having to seek out additional values.” GTM Research defines the existing DERMS landscape in three categories: edge, fleet and central. Central DERMS are extensions of the distribution management systems or advanced distribution management systems platforms that give visibility and control to utility operators today. Notable examples include Pacific Gas & Electric choosing General Electric to build its DERMS platform, San Diego Gas & Electric’s work with Colorado-based startup Spirae, and Hawaiian Electric’s partnership with Siemens on its SHINES distributed energy-grid integration project. Kellison noted that GE and Siemens fall into the category of companies for which DERMS is just one piece of a much broader set of software and equipment business with their big utility customers. While the DERMS-specific spending may be low, it often comes as part of larger deals. “They’re not all chasing $25 million or $40 million contracts," said Kellison. "They’re chasing more than that.” Edge DERMS setups, also known as “active network management” systems, take the utilities a step further into DER control through SCADA controls to utility assets, and cellular- or broadband-to-Wi-Fi connections to behind-the-meter assets. These are faster-acting, and require some amount of edge computing to manage the task of getting lots of devices to act in concert with local and system-wide grid needs. Some vendors rolling out this kind of system include Smarter Grid Solutions with Southern California Edison, and, as GTM Research understands it, Enbala Power Networks with one of California's big three investor-owned utilities. Fleet DERMS is the broadest category, and includes software that can enable utilities or aggregators to dispatch lots of DERs for economic opportunities. Notable examples include San Antonio, Texas-based CPS Energy’s work with AutoGrid to manage up to 165 megawatts of diverse DERs and controllable loads, and New York utility Con Edison’s work with Sunverge on its non-wires alternatives pilot. This category also includes a number of alternative descriptions, such as DER aggregation, or (if it can meet certain energy, ancillary services and reliability needs) virtual power plants. Finally, there’s the enterprise DERMS category, which essentially includes all three previous categories in a unified platform to “manage all DERs on the grid across customer, utility and wholesale market objectives.” This doesn’t really exist yet, although Texas municipal utility Austin Energy’s Department of Energy-funded SHINES project comes close. Austin Energy's use of Doosan GridTech’s platform to manage residential, commercial and utility DERs, on its own and through aggregators, on both economic and reliability measures, merits mention as a “partial fulfillment” of the description. Other pilot projects are aiming at enterprise-level integrations, but as of today, “You can’t get everything packaged and organized in an efficient manner -- it requires multiple vendors to get there,” Kellison said. GTM Research has laid out a graphic that explains how central, edge and fleet platforms must evolve to meet the need for this grand integrated approach to managing DERs, shown below. The North American DER Management Systems 2017 report mentioned in this article is part of GTM Research's Grid Edge Service. Learn more here.
News Article | August 8, 2017
Over the past decade, Cincinnati-based startup Integral Analytics has built a software suite that’s helping utilities around the country integrate distributed energy resources for real-time grid operations or decades-long planning horizons. Now IA’s software and customer base will be boosting the business of Willdan Group. The Anaheim, Calif.-based engineering design and services firm announced last week that it’s acquiring Integral Analytics in a deal worth up to $30 million, depending on performance over the next three years. According to Willdan’s 8-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the acquisition will include $15 million in cash paid at closing, a purchase of common stock valued at $3 million, and up to $12 million to be paid “for a percentage of sales attributable to the business of Integral Analytics” over the next three years. These “earn-out payments” will be calculated as 2 percent of gross contracted revenue for new work generated “in close collaboration with Integral Analytics,” as well as 20 percent of gross contracted revenue for each software licensing agreement it lands over the three-year period. In other words, Willdan will be looking to incorporate Integral Analytics’ capabilities into its existing business lines, as well as profiting from continued growth in grid-DER planning software. Integral Analytics offers a source of recurring revenues from software licenses to augment Willdan's project-by-project revenue models. In the longer term, its analytics will serve Willdan’s broader range of work, which increasingly includes municipal and utility efforts to expand traditional efficiency programs to incorporate DERs, said Kevin Kushman, Integral Analytics' chief operating officer, in a Monday interview. For most of its 50-plus years of existence, Willdan has mostly served as a civil engineering department for California cities and counties, he said. But in the past decade or so, it’s expanded outside the state, with work in Arizona, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Washington state and Washington, D.C., and taken an increasingly large share of its revenues from contracts with utilities like New York’s Consolidated Edison. Integral Analytics has built its software business on its own revenues, with a relatively small team of employees. While Kushman wouldn’t reveal how much money the company’s shareholders are making on the Willdan acquisition, “I can say proudly that it’s a great success story for a company that was self-funded through its entire history,” he said. Integral Analytics, founded in 2005, is working with more than 40 utilities tackling “emerging system regulations in California, New York, Massachusetts, Texas, Arizona, Hawaii and other jurisdictions,” with software designed to calculate and manage the impact of distributed energy resources like solar PV, energy storage, on-site generation and load control, and electric vehicles. IA’s software suite manages these DER impacts on both the long-term scale, through its LoadSEER (Load Spatial Electric Expansion and Risk) and DSMore (Demand Side Management Option Risk Evaluator) platforms, and in real time, through its IDROP (Integrating Distributed Resources into Optimal Portfolios) platform. Utilities using the software include Duke Energy, Southern California Edison, DTE Energy, San Diego Gas & Electric, ComEd, AEP, Seattle City Light and Xcel Energy. One of the most interesting applications of IA’s software is in creating “distributed marginal price,” or DMP, values for DERs at the local distribution grid level. It’s a term taken from the locational marginal price (LMP) values used by transmission grid operators, but shrunken down to low-voltage distribution grid scale. These screenshots of IA software show how it’s being used by utilities, including Hawaiian Electric on the island of Oahu and Pacific Gas & Electric in Fresno, Calif., respectively. In the course of working on a project together, the two companies “started to see that we were very nice complements for each other,” Kushman said. “They’ve been a project engineering type business, and they like the way we can repeat our solution in different places, and pick it up and move it across their whole portfolio.” Meanwhile, Willdan’s work with more than 150 municipalities opens up new potential customers for Integral Analytics’ software, he said. Willdan has been playing a role in some high-profile distributed energy-grid integration projects, said Tom Brisbin, the company's chairman and CEO, in an interview. It's delivering much of the energy efficiency savings behind Con Edison's Brooklyn-Queens Demand Management project, for example, and is working with many of its municipal clients on integrating DERs into their efficiency efforts. "When we do energy efficiency for utilities, Integral Analytics helps us target the congested areas of the grid," he said. "If we can reduce the load in the congested areas, it helps utilities become more efficient with their capital expenditures. That’s where we see IA really helping us." Ben Kellison, director of grid research for GTM Research, noted that the acquisition “positions IA more as an investment in internal capabilities to enhance program delivery” for utility efficiency, demand response, or distributed energy implementations. In that way, he said, it’s a bit like how NRG Energy has taken its SpaceTag distributed energy optimization platform, developed by its Station A research team as an internal planning tool, and brought it to market for use by utilities in California and other states. Integral Analytics is one of a small but growing number of companies with software taking on the challenge of integrating DERs into utility planning and operations. Others with similar approaches include Smarter Grid Solutions, Opus One Solutions, Spirae, AutoGrid and Enbala Networks, as well as grid giants such as General Electric, Siemens, ABB and Schneider Electric. The rise of DERs as a significant grid resource is pushing utilities in forward-looking states such as California, New York, Hawaii, Illinois and Minnesota to look at ways to break down the traditional separations between energy efficiency, demand response, distribution grid operations, and infrastructure investment planning, Kushman noted. “Instead of saying, ‘We need 100 megawatts of DR,’ they’re starting to say, ‘We need 100 megawatts of available capacity -- and fill it at the lowest possible marginal cost.’” As for when the combined companies will be revealing how they work together, “The time since the acquisition has only been a couple of weeks, but we’ve spent a lot of time cross-pollinating our work with theirs, and finding places we can collaborate on projects that are in flight right now.”
News Article | February 1, 2016
ROCHESTER, N.Y., Feb. 1, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NYSEG and RG &E, subsidiaries of AVANGRID, are preparing to roll out an innovative technology aimed at making it easier and more efficient for large-scale producers of renewable energy resources to connect to the electric power grid. The utilities' Flexible Interconnect Capacity Solution (FICS) demonstration project supports New York State's Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative. NYSEG and RG &E are collaborating with Scottish technology firm Smarter Grid Solutions to test the new interconnect approach. "We're introducing a transformational technology that can open up the grid to more renewable generation development," said Mark S. Lynch, president and CEO of NYSEG and RG &E. "It's an opportunity to spur investment in clean energy resources and to support REV." NYSEG and RG &E will test Smarter Grid Solutions' Active Network Management (ANM) technology to help accommodate larger amounts of solar-generated electricity on the lower-voltage distribution electric delivery system without jeopardizing the safe and reliable operation of the grid. ANM can also support interconnection of wind, hydro and biomass/biogas generated electricity. In the United Kingdom, Smarter Grid Solutions helped Iberdrola's Scottish subsidiary, SP Energy Networks, support faster integration of renewable energy resources onto its grid. "Our partnership with Smarter Grid Solutions reflects the benefits of being part of a global company," said Bob Kump, CEO of the AVANGRID utilities. "We will be able to leverage the experience of our sister company in Scotland to support New York's renewable energy industry and REV." Developers of renewable energy projects frequently face delays and costly upgrades before connecting to utility networks to ensure their projects won't compromise the grid's reliability. In many cases, the time and expense has made potential projects too costly to build. With Smarter Grid Solution's technology, utilities like NYSEG and RG &E can monitor and control the output from intermittent renewable resources on their systems to defer or avoid the costly upgrades traditionally required. The demonstration project with Smarter Grid Solutions runs through 2016. The utilities and the New York Public Service Commission will then evaluate where and how the program could be expanded. "Innovative technology to solve the challenges of grid interconnections can help us expand the benefits of distributed generation, lower electricity costs, and improve the environment by bringing on sustainable energy sources such as solar," said Jeff Ballard, vice president for operations technology and business transformation. "We are delighted to be contributing to the work of REV and the objectives of AVANGRID," said Bob Currie, chief technology officer and co-founder of Smarter Grid Solutions. "Active Network Management is a transformational technology and has repeatedly reduced grid integration costs by up to 90% for new renewable generator connections, increasing the capacity to accommodate wind and solar by 100-200% and avoiding grid upgrades that can exceed $50 million. We expect the FICS project to deliver significant benefits to generation developers in New York by providing quicker and less expensive grid connections. We are excited to be partnering with AVANGRID on this fantastic and timely project and demonstrating the role our technology can play in implementing REV." About Smarter Grid Solutions Smarter Grid Solutions delivers products and services that enable electricity distribution companies and regulated utilities to integrate Distributed Energy Resources (DER). The company provides world-leading Active Network Management products, and is the only provider to uniquely combine real-time, autonomous and deterministic control into its Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems (DERMS) solutions. Its products are transforming the utilization and resiliency of the grid, and managing connected customers at greatly reduced cost, without compromising safety and security. It supports customers worldwide from its offices in New York, London and Glasgow, U.K. The company was formed in 2008, originating from the world-renowned Institute for Energy and Environment at the University of Strathclyde, and it is a leading vendor of DER integration solutions. It established its offices in New York in 2013, and is now an active contributor to the development of the Smart Grid in many parts of North America. For more information, visit: www.smartergrid.com/us AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE:AGR) is a diversified energy and utility company with $30 billion in assets and operations in 25 states. The company operates regulated utilities, electricity generation, and natural gas storage through three primary lines of business. Iberdrola USA Networks includes eight electric and natural gas utilities serving 3.1 million customers in New York and New England. Iberdrola Renewables operates 6.3 gigawatts of electricity capacity, primarily through wind power, in states across the U.S. Iberdrola Energy Holdings operates 120 Bcf of owned or contracted natural gas storage and hub service facilities in the South and West. AVANGRID employs 7,000 people. The company was formed as a business combination between Iberdrola USA and UIL Holdings in 2015. AVANGRID remains an affiliate of the Iberdrola Group, a worldwide leader in the energy industry. About NYSEG and RG &E: NYSEG and RG &E are subsidiaries of AVANGRID. NYSEG serves 883,000 electricity customers and 264,000 natural gas customers across more than 40% of upstate New York. RG &E serves 371,000 electricity customers and 307,000 natural gas customers in a nine-county region centered on the City of Rochester. For more information, visit www.nyseg.com and www.rge.com Follow Us on Twitter: @NYSEandG and @RGandE Follow Us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/NYSEG https://www.facebook.com/RochGandE
News Article | September 14, 2017
Distributed energy and grid intelligence won’t be able to stop a hurricane or prevent hackers from trying to disrupt the grid. But they could play a role in keeping the grid running amidst storms or cyberattacks, or by helping it recover after an outage. On Tuesday, the Department of Energy announced $50 million in funding for projects aimed at making that vision a reality -- though not specifically as part of recovery efforts from hurricanes Harvey and Irma. At the center of the funding is $33 million for seven projects from the Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium. The GMLC launched early last year with $220 million in funding for 88 projects around the country. The consortium was created as part of DOE’s grid modernization initiative to coordinate the work of its national laboratories with public and private-sector partners. Last year’s Grid Modernization Initiative awards were largely “foundational” in nature, with lots of consortia of standards bodies taking about “grid modernization metrics” and “stakeholder-driven architecture.” But this week’s awards are far more specific -- and many are tied to ongoing efforts on the grid edge integration front. One of the widest-ranging is a project entitled “Increasing Distribution Resiliency Using Flexible DER and Microgrid Assets Enabled by OpenFMB.” That last term stands for Open Field Message Bus, the standard-under-development for communications between devices like smart meters, grid sensors, smart inverters and other DERs. Besides the three national labs involved -- Pacific Northwest, Oak Ridge and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory -- the biggest utility partner in the project is Duke Energy, the utility giant that’s been a big proponent of OpenFMB. Duke is joined in this project by Pacific Northwest utility Avista, as well as GE Grid Solutions (formerly Alstom), University of North Carolina-Charlotte, University of Tennessee and the Smart Electric Power Alliance. The goal of this $6 million project is to see if OpenFMB-maintained networks of DERs and microgrids can be run securely and reliably enough to be used as “boundary conditions” (i.e., as part of the envelope of constantly updated data that tells utilities and grid operators what they can and can’t do). Duke has a microgrid or two up and running to test out these concepts. Interested to learn more about how these projects fit into the bigger picture for the power sector? Join us at the U.S. Power and Renewables Conference in Austin, Texas. Another project with a $6 million grant, and the goal of mitigating grid disruptions through DERs, is called Grid Resilience and Intelligence Platform. It’s a more software-focused project, as evidenced by the participation of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and has set a goal to “anticipate, absorb and recover from grid events by demonstrating predictive analytics capabilities, combining state-of-the-art artificial intelligence and machine-learning techniques, and controlling DERs.” The key industry partner on this project is Tesla, owner-operator of fleets of SolarCity rooftop PV systems and a small but growing number of behind-the-meter Powerwall batteries. Other partners include Southern California Edison, Packetized Energy, Vermont Electric Co-Op, University of California-Berkeley, Stanford University and the University of Vermont. Home energy management systems are the focus of another $6 million project being run by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Oak Ridge, two labs with decades of experience in field-testing home-to-grid integration. Big utilities involved include Southern Company, Tennessee Valley Authority, Duke, Con Edison, Chattanooga, Tenn.’s Electric Power Board and Jackson EMC. Two more projects are aimed more at the post-blackout phase of grid reliability. The first is a $6.2 million project dubbed Radiance, featuring grid giant Siemens and a host of university partners. The project is proposing to deploy “multiple networked microgrids, energy storage and early-stage grid technologies” with partners including Alaska’s Cordova Electric Cooperative, the Alaska Center for Energy and Power and Alaska Village Electric Cooperative. The other, dubbed CleanStart-DERMS, is focused on a “DER-driven mitigation, black-start and restoration strategy for distribution feeders” (i.e., how distributed energy assets could help keep isolated feeders running in the moments after a blackout). This could be useful, but also dangerous if the utility isn’t kept informed about it, which means that it will have to include an “applied robust control, communications and analytics layer, and coordinated hierarchical solution." The lead technology provider on this project is Smarter Grid Solutions, a Scottish startup with a distributed energy management platform operating across hundreds of megawatts of assets. Other private-sector partners include battery-maker-turned-developer EnSync, inverter vendor SolarEdge, and big-data software startup PingThings, as well as a host of Southern California utilities including Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, the Southern California Public Power Authority and Riverside Utility. None of these projects is expected to yield a commercially available product. But DOE noted that their results will provide key data on “technical and economic viability of integrated solutions” for the utilities, agencies and private-sector players working on these kinds of systems. On the cybersecurity side of the coin, DOE announced more than $20 million in awards to 20 separate research projects aimed specifically at security-critical pieces of energy infrastructure. The projects come with such colorful acronyms as MEEDS (Mitigation of External-exposure of Energy Delivery System Equipment) and SASS-E (Safe & Secure Autonomous Scanning Solution for Energy Delivery Systems), and range from managing the cyberthreats inherent in the utility IT-OT connection, to managing security on a grid rich with DERs. Join us for the U.S. Power & Renewables 2017 conference in Austin, Texas this November to meet with top regulators, utility executives and technology leaders dealing with the aftermath of Harvey, and applying its lessons to the nation as a whole. The two-day conference will include the solar expertise of GTM Research, the wind energy analysis of MAKE, and the broader energy and utilities expertise of Wood Mackenzie.
News Article | January 6, 2016
Over the past year, the Department of Energy has been putting an increased focus on technology to integrate renewable energy into everyday grid operations. This work has included opening loan guarantees to distributed renewables, grants to support field tests of distributed energy integration, and future funding plans to support the development of grid modernization technologies. Now the DOE’s blue-sky research agency, ARPA-E, is getting into the action — or, as befits its mission, ahead of the action. Last month, ARPA-E announced $33 million in grants for its Network Optimized Distributed Energy Systems (NODES) program, meant to help 12 university, corporate and DOE laboratory projects that are trying to turn grid-edge assets into networked “virtual storage” systems. These projects are meant to “enable real-time coordination between distributed generation, such as rooftop and community solar assets, and bulk power generation, while proactively shaping electric load.” That could allow utilities to manage greater than 50 percent renewable penetration on the grid, “by developing transformational grid control methods that optimize use of flexible load and distributed energy resources.” This is not a unique concept. Distributed energy resource management software, or DERMS, platforms are being developed to tackle this challenge in one way or another, with grid giants like Siemens and Toshiba and startups such as Spirae, Enbala, Integral Analytics and Smarter Grid Solutions providing different pieces of the puzzle. Beyond that, there’s work being done by consortia such as Duke Energy’s Coalition of the Willing and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s transactive energy pilot project to allow lots of distributed energy assets to communicate and act in concert to solve local and system-wide grid challenges. Some of the projects funded by ARPA-E’s NODES program would help support these kinds of ongoing distributed energy resource (DER) integration efforts, while others would go several steps beyond what today’s utility grid control platforms and DERs are built to handle. Here’s a short description of each project and its aims. Greentech Media (GTM) produces industry-leading news, research, and conferences in the business-to-business greentech market. Our coverage areas include solar, smart grid, energy efficiency, wind, and other non-incumbent energy markets. For more information, visit: greentechmedia.com , follow us on twitter: @greentechmedia, or like us on Facebook: facebook.com/greentechmedia.
News Article | February 24, 2017
In a highly competitive residential solar market, Route 66 Ventures has committed $130 million to Sunlight Financial, a provider of loans for residential solar systems. Route 66 Ventures makes credit and equity investments in the financial services sector. Solar installers and sales firms access Sunlight through an online platform, through which homeowners can apply for credit and sign loan documents. Mitsubishi’s American power subsidiary, Diamond Generating (historically focused on gas and traditional power plants) has acquired a near-majority interest in Boston's Nexamp, a solar and renewable project developer, according to Boston Business Journal. The deal will allow Nexamp to bring its commercial-scale energy project development and community solar to Maryland, Georgia and New Jersey. View, the Milpitas, Calif.-based tintable-window startup, raised $100 million in VC funding led by TIAA Investments, an affiliate of $882 billion Nuveen. View holds a valuation of $1.1 billion, according to PitchBook. View has raised more than $600 million since its inception as Soladigm seven years ago from investors including Corning, Madrone Capital Partners, Khosla Ventures, GE, Reinet Investments, NanoDimension, DBL Investors, Navitas Capital, Sigma Partners and The Westly Group. View claims over 300 installations in North America, with another 150 in progress. View’s main competitor, SageGlass, is owned by Saint-Gobain. Kinestral Technologies also recently raised $65 million in a Round C funding for its tintable glass. Enbala raised at least $12 million in Series B financing led by ABB Technology Ventures, the Swiss grid giant's venture arm. ABB just picked Enbala’s technology to build out its distributed energy resource management system (that's DERMS) -- a hot commodity among forward-looking utilities, particularly those in regions with lots of customer-sited rooftop PV. Enbala has raised about $42 million from investors including GE Ventures, Chrysalix and Obvious Ventures. Enbala's competition on the DERMS front includes grid giants developing their own platforms, and startups like Advanced Microgrid Solutions, Blue Pillar, AutoGrid, Opus One, Power Analytics, Spirae, Smarter Grid Solutions, and the recently acquired Viridity Energy. GreenSync raised $11.5 million in a Series B round led by Australian government-owned Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Southern Cross Venture Partners. The firm has shifted from peak demand management services to a software platform that controls and optimizes energy resources and battery storage. GreenSync appears to be a direct competitor to Enbala, AutoGrid, etc. The firm is taking part in a T&D deferral trial project and a "project in Australia that looks a lot like a REV demo." NRStor, a Toronto-based energy storage project developer, won an $11 million equity financing commitment from the Labourers’ Pension Fund of Central and Eastern Canada. NRStor has won contracts with Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator for utility-scale energy storage projects and is working with Hydrostor and Temporal Power. NRStor built Canada’s first commercial grid-connected flywheel facility, and is developing Canada’s first commercial compressed air energy storage facility. Its majority investor is Lake Bridge Capital. MineSense, a provider of data analytics for the mining industry, closed a $14.5 million round led by Aurus Ventures along with Caterpillar's VC-investment arm, Chrysalix, Cycle Capital Management, Prelude Ventures and Export Development Canada. MineSense's sensors and data analytics software can impact "both the mines' productivity and environmental footprint," said Victor Aguilera of Aurus Ventures. SparkFund, a Washington, D.C.-based financial technology startup, closed a $7 million Series B led by Energy Impact Partners along with existing investor Vision Ridge Partners and others. SparkFund looks to offer an "efficiency-as-a-service" subscription model to provide businesses with efficiency measures for a single monthly payment and no upfront cost. Why is long-in-the-tooth grid startup Tendril raising another $5 million in venture funding? QD Solar, a Toronto solar startup, won $2.5 million in a Series A financing led by Dutch VC firm DSM Venturing along with MaRS Innovation and Saudi Arabia’s KAUST Innovation Fund. QD Solar’s quantum dot-based solar cells use "nano-engineered, low-cost materials that can absorb the otherwise wasted infrared light" with the potential to boost overall power generation by 20 percent, according to the firm. ConnectDER, an early-stage firm developing a meter collar that lets residential solar connect to the grid cheaply and rapidly, has closed a $1.1 million Series A round through a collaboration between Investors’ Circle and PRIME Coalition. PRIME Coalition is a 501(c)(3) public charity that allows philanthropists to place charitable capital into market-based solutions to climate change. WattGlass, an Arkansas-based startup, won Series A funding from DSM Venturing for its anti-reflective and anti-soiling coating with applications in solar and other markets. First Solar acquired Enki Technology for its anti-reflection coatings late last year after receiving funding from Applied Materials, RockPort and the DOE's SunShot program. Pollinate Energy won support from Tata Trusts, an Indian philanthropic organization, for its "last mile distribution of social impact products" like solar lights and water filters in India's slums. Enphase has "refinanced and extended its term loan facility with certain funds managed by Tennenbaum Capital Partners (TCP) from $25 million to $50 million. In connection with the TCP refinancing, Enphase says it will consolidate its lender relationships by repaying amounts currently drawn under its existing line of credit facility with Wells Fargo Capital Finance and close that facility. Ascent Solar has shipped limited volumes of its portable CIGS thin-film solar charging devices, but Hong Kong Boone Group Limited still invested $20 million in its purchase of Ascent's newly designated Series K Convertible Preferred Stock. GTM Research analysts Andrew Mulherkar, Paulina Tarrant, Elta Kolo and Brett Simon contributed to this article.
Ault G.,Smarter Grid Solutions
IEEE Power and Energy Magazine | Year: 2017
A valuable set of matured smart grid concepts has emerged from the significant trial-and-demonstration programs around the world. An investment in rollout programs is now required to deliver the full value of these initial investments to electricity customers. Managing the risks and making an effective transition to the smarter grid are significant challenges but a growing body of experience, strong principles, and effective solutions to the issues are helping to make smart grids business as usual. Innovative grid solutions trials create real operating environments for assessing the technical and commercial performance of solutions to industry problems. They also enhance basic technological understanding, leading to improved design and production quality of rollout-ready solutions. © 2003-2012 IEEE.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: FoF-08-2015 | Award Amount: 7.01M | Year: 2015
OPTIMISED aims to develop novel methods and tools for deployment of highly optimised and reactive planning systems that incorporate extensive factory modelling and simulation based on empirical data captured using smart embedded sensors and pro-active human-machine interfaces. The impact of energy management on factory planning and optimisation will be specifically assessed and demonstrated to reduce energy waste and address peak demand so that operations that require or use less energy, can allow this excess energy to be re-routed to local communities. The OPTIMISED environment will use semantically enriched process modelling, big-data generation, capture and perform analytics to effectively support planning specialists, manufacturing engineers, team leaders and shopfloor operatives throughout the systems lifecycle. These next generation manufacturing systems supported by data rich manufacturing execution systems with OPTIMISED technology will support a dramatic improvement in system performance, improved operational efficiency and equipment utilisation, real-time equipment and station performance monitoring, adaptation and resource optimisation. The OPTIMISED vision will be achieved by developing systems which are able to: 1. Monitor system performance through an integrated sensor network, automatically detecting bottlenecks, faults and performance drop-off 2. Continuously evolve to respond to disruptive events, supply chain disruptions and non-quality issues through factory simulation modelling 3. Improve understanding and monitoring of energy demand curve and energy usage per industrial process and globally improve efficiency of production line through reduced energy waste 4. Understand potential benefits, added value and impacts of participating in Demand Side Response (DSR) processes and becoming an active player in the changing energy industry, instead of remaining a conventional passive element that simply acquires a service from energy providers
News Article | February 15, 2017
It’s the first day of the big DistribuTech conference in San Diego. Grid giants and startups are unveiling their latest products aimed at connecting utilities with the grid edge. Let’s start with Enbala, the Vancouver, Canada-based startup that has deployed its software platform to turn industrial energy loads like pumps and refrigerators into megawatts' worth of fast-responding grid assets. On Tuesday, it announced its biggest partner yet: Swiss grid giant ABB, which has tapped Enbala’s Symphony software platform as part of a new, jointly developed distributed energy resource management system (DERMS). The term "DERMS" applies to software that can integrate the needs of utility grid operators with the capabilities of flexible demand-side energy resources at the edges of the grid. DERMS platforms come in all shapes and sizes, from grid giants like Siemens and General Electric, to startups like Advanced Microgrid Solutions, Blue Pillar, AutoGrid, Opus One, Power Analytics, Spirae, Smarter Grid Solutions, and the recently acquired Viridity Energy. But for the most part, they’ve typically been organized in two different ways -- top-down extensions of utility or grid operator controls out to customer endpoints, or bottom-up aggregations of customer loads into grid energy markets. Enbala and ABB’s combo DERMS platform intends to erase this distinction, Enbala CEO Bud Vos said. On the utility side, ABB brings a well-known set of tools, like its advanced distribution management software (ADMS) with its “single network model” and “unified geospatial control center operator environment." These are tools used by utility operators to monitor and respond to changes on their distribution grids. “Our platform is an extension of the ADMS platform, and tightly integrated with that ADMS framework,” Vos said. ”It provides cohesiveness, from an operational standpoint and from a data standpoint.” Enbala, in turn, brings a software platform that can tap into hundreds of individual loads per customer, collect and analyze their data, and then start to subtly shift their energy-use patterns in effective and profitable ways. Sometimes that means moving big water-pumping schedules to times of the day when electricity isn’t in high demand. Other times it involves turning thousands of water heaters and refrigerators on and off in response to 4-second signals to help balance grid frequencies. So far, Enbala has been aggregating responsive energy loads on behalf of its customers in frequency regulation markets run by mid-Atlantic grid operator PJM and Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator. As one of several partners in the PowerShift Atlantic project, it has also used its software platform, managed by employees at its network operations center, to help control customer loads to firm wind power for Canadian utility NB Power. In the past year or so, Enbala has been getting more into the distribution grid side of things. At last year’s DistribuTech, the company was demonstrating pilot projects in Hawaii using rooftop PV solar inverters, and a project in Southern California modeling big industrial and commercial loads’ potential to help balance grid disruptions. “We think we’re going to see hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of connected energy deices coming to market,” Vos said. “You’ve got to be able to optimize millions of assets in seconds, or even sub-second timescales, and with accuracy, to know that power is moving to the right places at the right time.” Enbala has also kicked its computing capabilities up a notch with its latest rollout, he said. “Under the covers of this release, we’ve updated our learning algorithms and optimization algorithms,” he said. It is using a software language called Erlang, originally built for the telecommunications industry, that can run millions of simultaneous transactions at a speed that allows for real-time decision making. It’s hard to define the DERMS competitive landscape, since it’s such a new field. But GTM Research predicts that the North American DERMS market will reach $110 million by 2018, as today’s pilot projects start to become operationalized at utilities in states with lots of distributed energy to handle, like Hawaii and California. And ABB isn’t the only grid giant trying to colonize the DERMS space. Take Siemens, which launched its own DERMS product at DistribuTech on Tuesday, complete with “tools that provide data and visibility across the energy system, from distribution grid planning to market forecasting.” The new DERMS platform is built on Siemens’ work on microgrids, a big focus of the company's efforts at DistribuTech conferences over the past few years. This work includes partnerships with startup Utilidata, as well as adaptations of the company’s Spectrum 7 control software into local grid applications. To date, Siemens has rolled out these capabilities in microgrid projects with universities and government partners, such as the Department of Energy-funded microgrid project with Case Western Reserve University and NASA. But it’s also linking those microgrids to utility systems, said Mike Carlson, president of Siemens Smart Grid North America, in an interview. On the data side, Siemens released an integrated application for its EnergyIP software on Tuesday, combining distributed energy management, virtual power plant capabilities and demand response on one platform. EnergyIP, built on the software of Siemens acquisition eMeter, “is architected for a true real-time, cloud-based IOT system,” Carlson said, capable of giving grid operators second-by-second control and analysis capabilities. “What we built is very modular, or scalable, or agile, components that you can bolt onto existing capabilities, and scale them based on size, or capability,” he said. The costs for standing up a microgrid range from the low six figures for simpler applications, up to the millions of dollars to enable sub-second monitoring required for certain grid applications, he said. But that’s “about half the cost of a traditional enterprise deployment,” since it has already combined all the requisite pieces of the microgrid puzzle. General Electric, which has invested in Enbala through GE Energy Ventures, has also been promising a DERMS offering, built on the work it’s been doing with Duke Energy’s Coalition of the Willing, and the Nice Grid project in southern France. GE has also been working with Enbala on a project under the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E NODES program. Vos noted that Enbala’s work with ABB is a non-exclusive partnership, freeing it to work with multiple partners. Right now the company has six projects, including two contracts for virtual power plants and two regulated utility DERMS contracts that are focused on optimization of distribution feeders. Make sure to attend Greentech Media’s Grid Edge World Forum 2017, our premier conference and exhibition focused exclusively on tomorrow’s distributed energy system. Join us to discuss and debate the latest issues impacting tomorrow’s distributed energy system, and examine the trends and innovation happening at the grid edge. Learn more here.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: SME-1 | Phase: SIE-01-2015-1 | Award Amount: 71.43K | Year: 2015
eCAP is an innovative power network planning and analysis tool for self-assessment of network capacity for DG connection. eCAP provides Distributed Generation (DG) developers with the ability to analyse the viability of conventional and ANM grid connections prior to making a connection application. DG Developers are able to choose a Point of Connection (PoC) in the network and receive an estimate of the available network capacity based on the type of generation technology and rated capacity. Currently, no such tool is available to support DG Developers who are forced to undertake complex studies using specific power systems analysis software and sophisticated techniques to determine the available capacity at a given PoC. eCAP tackles this problem using a modular software solution based on original power system modelling and analysis techniques. eCAP deals with this complex problem while delivering an intuitive and straightforward interface to the users. eCAP has an intuitive, web-based platform for DG developers to consider the feasibility of ANM-based connections and allows DSOs to vastly improve their customer service by identifying opportunities for ANM solutions to free a large portion of network capacity that otherwise would not be accessible. It has been successfully demonstrated as a proof of concept as part of the Accelerating Renewable Connections project (2012-2015) in a limited grid area with many connection requests defined by the DSO, SP Energy Networks. eCAP will enhance and support the existing SGS real time control products portfolio with a new product in planning tools. This feasibility study focuses on enhanced market analysis, the benefits and feasibility of re-platforming eCAP for being commercially fit, and identifying the requirements and design of new analytical and user interface functionality.