webinar: Grid Edge

The Next Evolution of Demand Response

New Brunswick Power talks about how it is leveraging distributed energy resources to create a real-time, dynamic solution to renewable energy firming

New Brunswick Power has a goal of generating 40 percent of its portfolio from renewables by 2020. Like many utilities looking towards a more renewable future, the utility was faced with solving the capacity firming challenges that come with intermittent energy resources like the wind that blows so freely in the Maritime region of eastern Canada. An important component of the solution involved working with its customers on an innovative distributed energy management initiative focused on demand-side management.

This webinar provides information and insights into NB Power’s PowerShift Atlantic renewable firming project, which engages a network of participating interconnected customer loads to keep the power grid in balance. Loads come primarily from equipment that has flexible energy storage capacity and which doesn’t require a continuous energy supply to maintain acceptable comfort levels within buildings. This includes heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, hot water heaters, thermal storage units and municipal water pumping stations.

By employing a unique distributed energy resource management system (DERMS) and an effective approach to customer engagement, NB Power was able to involve some 1,400 households and 30 business customers in the project. Available demand-side loads from individual sites are consolidated and used as a single, dispatchable resource to manage day-ahead forecast, risk and intra-hour ramping due to changes in wind speed. Together, these customers provide a combined 17 megawatts of dispatchable load, with more than 3.9 megawatts of controllable capacity coming from some two dozen C&I customers alone. This is achieved with no disruption of customer operations.

Energy dispatch requests are sent by NB Power to the DERMS platform calling for a specified increase or decrease in energy consumption over a set period of 15-minute intervals, thus enabling energy shifting of connected devices in real-time based on the grid’s moment-to-moment fluctuations. This enables the utility to better incorporate wind generation into the resource mix and offset the need for fossil-fuel-based generation by load smoothing.

The webinar will provide insights on several aspects of this unique project:

  • Regional challenges faced with how to leverage wind energy while achieving peak shaving and valley filling objectives.
  • How the project resulted in one of the world’s first fully grid-integrated virtual power plants, which -- unlike typical demand response services -- uses load and wind forecasting and aggregation capabilities to perform near real-time load shifting of commercial and residential loads and provide new ancillary services to the grid.
  • The highly successful customer engagement program that was developed by New Brunswick Power for forming a new partnership with its customers and which resulted in a 95% support rate for the DERMS project.
  • A technical overview of how the system works.
  • Aspects of the project business case.