In Canada’s capitol, utility Hydro Ottawa is in the midst of testing out a distributed, digitally connected energy ecosystem.
It’s starting small, with a handful of homes equipped with smart thermostats, smart water heaters, rooftop solar panels, and behind-the-meter batteries. But those distributed energy resources (DERs) are being monitored and controlled via a utility network, and able to respond within seconds to wireless commands.
Right now, that flexibility is linked to the transformer serving the four test homes, largely to make sure that if it’s asking water heaters and electric baseboard heaters to shut down to help it reduce peak loads, it doesn’t let any one home get too cold for too long. But Hydro Ottawa is also integrating the data flows from these devices into the SCADA systems serving its distribution grid, with an eye on coordinating household loads, batteries and solar inverters.
And as a final stage in the project, it’s working with startup Opus One Solutions to build a transactive energy market, one that could price, bid, dispatch and reward behavior from consumers and devices based on this real-world data.