EnergyHub, a distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS) provider, in partnership with Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), has enrolled more than 100,000 homes in the Save on Energy Peak Perks program in six months to create what they’re calling the largest residential virtual power plant (VPP) in Canada.
With 100,000 homes enrolled, EnergyHub and the IESO say the VPP is capable of delivering peak demand reduction of up to 90 MW, the equivalent of taking a city the size of Kingston, ON off the grid during peak times. Flexible capacity is expected to climb as enrollment continues, they said.
“The scale and speed of enrollment proves that electricity providers and customers can partner on initiatives that provide mutual benefit,” said Erika Diamond, Senior Vice President of Customer Solutions at EnergyHub. “The IESO has built a resource that will continue to grow and play a key role in keeping the grid reliable and accelerating decarbonization as demand for electricity in the province increases.”
EnergyHub is a sponsor of the GridTECH Connect Forum, which offers electric utilities, grid operators, project developers, and policymakers a unique opportunity to collaborate to improve how we connect DER to the grid. Join us February 26, 2024 in Orlando, Florida!
According to a recent report by the Rocky Mountain Institute, virtual power plants – groups of internet-connected devices like batteries, electric vehicles, and smart thermostats that can be actively controlled – are an overlooked resource for advancing grid objectives. By 2030, VPPs could reduce peak demand in the United States by 60 GW, the report said, and could grow to more than 200 GW by 2050. In addition, VPPs could help reduce annual power sector expenditures by $35 billion in 2030.
“We are so pleased that Ontario residents are taking an active role in energy efficiency through Peak Perks,” said Tam Wagner, Director of Demand Side Management at the IESO. “Demand side management is a critical resource that can make a significant contribution to the reliability of the province’s electricity grid – especially on hot summer days when air conditioning use is at its highest – and will play an important role in ensuring long-term electricity supply matches demand in the province.”
Last year, Energy Hub said it was the first DERMS provider to have more than one million DERs under management. The company works with more than 60 utilities across North America and hundreds of device partners to support DER-based VPPs.
Maintaining reliable energy service has grown more challenging as the country navigates extreme weather and heavier demand for electricity, but utilities are adapting by using the rapidly growing number of customer-owned DERs on the grid as flexible resources. In 2022, the number of EVs participating in EnergyHub programs increased more than 200% and the number of batteries increased more than 80% year-over-year. The exponential growth of connected DERs promises much-needed load flexibility as more renewables come online—but only if utilities can harness that flexibility when and where they need it with reliable VPPs.
Originally published in Power Grid International.