Viridity Energy, an up-and-coming demand response provider that's raised more than $40 million over the last few years, is out with a new software package designed to give building owners more flexibility in how they reduce onsite demand.
The web-based software is an upgrade to its existing offering called VPower that monitors equipment, energy management systems, electricity prices and weather to help building owners sell energy reductions into the demand response markets.
The newest software creates a seven-day model that Viridity says will help its customers predict when peak demand on the grid is likely to occur, thus allowing them to reduce their peak load contribution (PLC). The PLC is an extra rate used in the PJM region to charge customers for their share of the five highest peaks during summer months. According to Viridity, the PLC can account for 30 percent of a large customer's yearly electricity bill.
Viridity's new platform, called "annual peak demand management," is designed to move customers away from traditional capacity-based demand response and get them thinking more about active management, said Viridity Vice President Eric Alam.
"Our software platform has undergone substantial change in order to meet this emerging need, and we are now at what we consider to be our next generation of our software," said Alam. "We've gone from VPower to VPower 2.0."
Viridity's customers sell their demand reductions into the frequency regulation markets, the energy markets and the capacity markets -- all of which offer different sets of regulations and compensation. The company has been mostly active in the PJM region, but has expanded its customer base to NYISO and ERCOT. As Viridity grows, it sees itself not just as a demand response provider, but as a company blurring the lines between traditional efficiency, traditional demand response and energy management.
"Although Viridity's demand response solutions provide customers with multiple opportunities by optimizing across markets, if we limit our solutions to DR only, we would only provide our customers with access to one piece of the puzzle," said Alam. "This strategy has been validated as we hear feedback from customers that recognize a convergence of traditional supply side (commodity procurement) and demand side (DR, energy efficiency) strategies."
Along with pushing customers toward active energy management, Viridity has also used its platform to manage small microgrids, pair renewables with energystorage and even sell power from braking trains onto the grid.
This is exactly the strategy that leading demand-response provider EnerNOC has taken in recent years. EnerNOC no longer thinks of itself as a demand response company, and is instead branding itself around operational efficiency. In order to realize that goal, EnerNOC is diving deeper into building intelligence, big data management, and moving into new industries like agriculture.
Because demand response companies have a unique window into how large pieces of the built environment are operating, it's a natural evolution to move beyond capacity-based reductions and into active load management.
"End-user needs don't end with enabling their participation in demand response programs," said Alam. "We began the company with the premise that there was significant value in load flexibility that wasn’t being brought to market due to the lack of tools and understanding on the part of the end-user, and the limited focus of the existing service providers around traditional capacity-based demand response."