Consumption of electricity sure has surged and will continue to do so, putting immense pressure on building owners and grid operators to ensure its availability in the most eco-friendly ways. While renewable energy promises to be the go-to alternative for generating clean energy, the grass is not all that greener on the ‘green’ side, especially in assuring ample energy availability. In California, for instance, Demand surges during the 4PM to 9PM period more than any other time of the day because intermittent energy resources such as solar decline during this hour. This means that gas peakers would be needed to balance the grid. Despite the obvious value of the electricity, nearly 68.8 percent of energy (from renewable and non-renewable sources) supplied for electricity consumption is wasted, meaning higher rates and more emissions. Consequently, the need of the hour is a way to help building owners save electricity so that it can be tapped in the future when their live supply naturally dwindles during certain times of the day.
MicroNOC has brought forth this very revolutionary solution to meet this need—a state-of-the-art, grid-synchronized, property-based clean virtual power (CVP) station—that would redefine electricity consumption and distribution. CVP stations entail Energy Management and battery storage system installed at the building to reduce on-peak energy consumption and reliance on gas peakers and other fossil fuel-based power resources from the grid. As JK Kim, CEO of MicroNOC Inc., puts it, "We balance your rates and balance the grid."
CVPs deliver ‘On-Demand Resources’ to assist the electric grid balancing for electricity producers, suppliers, operators, and building owners. CVP significantly helps with the replacement or as an alternative to powering up of gas power plant for GHG reduction on CAISO grid using behind-the-meter energy storage systems (BTM-ESS) while reducing electricity costs for users and assist with resiliency. With its proprietary solution, MicroNOC can turn any qualified C&I building’s electricity usage into CVPs with just a one-time registration fee at the signing of the service agreement, without any additional equipment lease or purchase.
Addressing challenges around electricity storage and distribution
CVP minimizes energy waste, reduces CO2, and establishes a great economy for all
The way a CVP works is by covering for the peak demand periods and loss of power caused by using intermittent renewable energy resources inevitably face. "The problem is how you get supplied of power for use, during certain times of the day,” states Kim. Cost of demand and energy increases when supply of energy decreases. This is exactly what is happening when abundant of renewable solar energy declines during evening hours, specifically 4pm-9pm, while demand still remains high in the commercial and industrial buildings. Dispatchability of energy supply is crucial to meet the demand and to balance the grid and its costs. At present thermal energy resources like gas peakers are being used to dispatch energy to meet the peak demand. CVP is featured with the full dispatchability by using energy management and storage system to mitigate the peak during the peak hours. CVP is installed at consumer’s site and dispatch optimum energy during the peak hours by calculating precisely real-time energy consumption patterns of the consumers. By doing so, CVP minimizes waste of the energy, contributes CO2 reduction, mainly caused by thermal generators, and establishes a great economy.
“The fourth generation data technology and battery technology now enables to make energy supply and demand in BI-DIRECTIONAL, meaning that consumers can now actively participate in grid balancing, good for all” Kim adds. The system can store and dispatch power as required by the exact amount and time the storage system can control. MicroNOC’s CVP consists of many unique on-demand resources like ESS working in tandem to fulfill consumers' energy needs. During hours of oversupply— such as solar supplying more during the day than demand usage needs—CVP’s on-demand resources will store energy from the grid using ESS. Then, it will supply the available stored cleaner sources of energy for building use during hours of higher demand needs, rather than relying on GHG emitting sources.
A very important business element to achieve this objective is a keen software operation platform that can manage the hardware and facilities like stored energy or energy from solar plants. “You need a smart software platform in order to communicate with the customers behavior and grid demand, to balance them together,” states Kim. The MicroNOC CVP offers such a software platform that helps clients manage their dispatchable energy resources to be operated in the right way to create a benefit for both consumers and the grid operators.
The 2020 California power outages definitely showed the world the importance of MicroNOC CVP. The state’s electric grid’s supply and demand imbalance was an issue that affected almost everyone. For utilities and power companies, the imbalance created the need for expensive thermal generators such as fossil and gas peakers to help fulfill the energy needs during the highest hours of demand. For consumers and businesses, this grid imbalance led to more expensive energy and demand rates. The biggest problem was the state's oversupply of intermittent generation resources such as wind and solar energy. While these sources are renewable and clean, they weren’t live, something that could be switched ON or OFF at will. As such, they could not be used to satisfy the demand for energy at peak hours. California’s spiking peak hours were being mitigated using GHG emission thermal generators, most often fueled by natural gas. These plants were only turned on intermittently during peak hours to help peak loads during 4-9 PM hours.
"We balance your rates and balance the grid"
Once MicroNOC’s CVP stations are connected at business buildings and together aggregated can help our electric grid overcome its supply issues and lower its greenhouse gas emissions. MicroNOC along with do good companies can thwart the challenge and save the day for the millions of residents within the community they do business in; redefining Corporate Social Responsibility to Corporate Social Relationship with MicroNOC CVP.
Beyond the Limits of the Norm—A New Future, the MicroNOC Way
Governments also realize the importance of consumers’ participation of energy supply/demand and distributed energy resources as shown in new regulations and polices such as FERC Order 2222. MicroNOC tackles development and update of software and system integration to comply with the new regulations to enhance and satisfy consumer’s need and balance the grid.
“Like other ‘change for the better’ challenges, we all need to work together for energy matters too. Consumers can also actively participate in balancing the grid with modern technologies”, says Kim. It is with this purpose in mind that MicroNOC had originally set out to build their CVP platform. The Company is committed to a greener future and giving back to communities. To this end, MicroNOC wants to get more people involved and use their collective influence to mitigate the issues that the grid operations, the governments, and what the utility companies are looking at, and bring it all together. “Five loaves and two fishes are humble beginnings to feed five thousand people. I would like CVP to be a humble platform for everyone to participate in balancing the grid with clean energy. Energy balancing will not only lower electricity rates but also do many good things for corporate social relationship,” concludes Kim.