Leading smart device providers leverage grid services to strengthen their triple bottom line

Leading smart device providers leverage grid services to strengthen their triple bottom line

November 29, 2022

Jason Michaels, Chief Commercial Officer

Jason Michaels, Chief Commercial Officer

Leap’s partners are industry leaders who excel at harnessing the power of the “triple bottom line.” They understand that participation in grid flexibility programs can lead to new revenue streams and competitive advantages (profit), while improving grid reliability and energy security in their communities (people) and allowing for more adoption of clean, renewable energy generation (planet).  

In this blog series, we’ll explore how Leap’s partners have leveraged grid services to improve their triple bottom line. First up - how smart building systems and smart devices can transform the triple bottom line for building owners and operators. 

Profit

With energy costs on the rise, grid services offer building managers new opportunities beyond energy efficiency measures to lower their energy expenditures. Building management systems, smart thermostats, heat pumps and other grid-interactive technologies enable buildings to generate extra revenue by participating in a variety of grid services programs through utilities and in wholesale energy markets. In many regions, electricity prices are also lower during non-peak hours, allowing buildings to lower their electricity bills by shifting non-critical energy consumption away from peak periods. 


Leap’s partner GridPoint is leveraging grid services participation to deliver a stronger value proposition to their commercial building customers. In California, for example, combining revenues from energy markets and resource adequacy programs with rebates made available by Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) for automated demand response (DR) participation can create a more compelling product offering for GridPoint’s customers. “We’re making demand response part of our core value proposition so our customers can play an active role in grid stability while also creating new revenue streams,” shared Rachel Marcus, Demand Response Program Manager at GridPoint, “Because our platform enables DR participation in a way that does not impact business operations, we’ve found our virtual capacity to be incredibly reliable, performing over 100% against nominations during the California heatwaves in September. DR rebates and revenue streams enable our customers’ budgets to cover more sites.”


For our partners working with residential smart devices, demand response and other grid services offerings can boost the technology’s financial value for customers, improving the return on investment for device owners. Lumin, a pioneer in smart circuit technology and responsive energy management, partners with Leap to offer automated demand response participation to their homeowner customers. Opting in to the “Lumin Response” program delivers an easy new value stream for homeowners without disrupting home comfort. “Customers receive financial incentives with very little work,” said Keegan Campanelli, Product Manager at Lumin, “The Lumin platform automatically monitors and adjusts the connected appliances when the system dispatches energy reduction notifications according to the participant's settings.”


People

Energy insecurity impacts everyone, but hits our most vulnerable populations the hardest. The primary goal of demand-side grid flexibility solutions is to support grid stability and resiliency. Demand flexibility is most powerful when it is market-integrated, with relief to the grid matched to the times of greatest need. Demand flexibility showcased its potential to protect communities from potentially deadly power disruptions during the recent September heat wave in California. Demand-side adjustments made by homes and businesses helped prevent rolling blackouts and kept the lights on for millions across the state. 


For some of our partners, energy security and community resiliency are key motivators for their customers to enroll in grid services. GridPoint works with convenience and pharmacy chain Walgreens to facilitate grid services participation. For Walgreens, the social return on investment that grid services provides is the primary driver for engagement in energy markets. “Walgreens does grid services because they see themselves as active parts of the communities,” said Marcus. 

Planet


Demand flexibility solutions help lower the grid’s carbon intensity by shifting energy usage to times when cleaner energy sources are available and grid operators won’t have to fire up additional polluting power plants to meet energy demand. As building electrification accelerates and variable renewable energy generation increases, the potential to leverage demand flexibility to lower building emissions grows as well. In a 2021 report on the carbon emissions impact of demand flexibility, RMI predicts that demand flexibility could reduce New York City building emissions up to 10% by 2030 and up to 40% as the grid approaches full decarbonization. 


On the residential side, the proliferation of smart thermostats and other smart energy devices in households is equipping homeowners to be more active participants in reducing household carbon emissions. Lumin offers its homeowner customers the opportunity to automatically reduce the carbon intensity of their energy usage and help decrease stress on the grid.. “If we want to truly meet climate goals, making renewable energy and demand flexibility technology more accessible, affordable, and easy to use is critical,” said Campanelli, “And this is the driving force behind our Lumin Response program.”

For large commercial end customers, the decarbonization benefits of grid services can be the primary motivator to participate. Many large corporations - especially publicly-traded companies - are looking for new, low-cost strategies to meet ESG goals. Enrolling their onsite energy assets in grid services programs enables corporations to deliver on their sustainability commitments by capturing benefits from technologies they’re already deploying before looking externally to purchase carbon offsets or other high-expenditure ESG options.


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As residential and commercial buildings increasingly adopt grid-interactive technologies, they become powerful tools for driving new economic, environmental and social value through participation in grid services. At Leap, we make it simple for our smart building technology partners to drive their business forward by capturing the full decarbonization, resiliency and revenue benefits of demand flexibility solutions. 


Join me next time to explore how Leap’s partners in the electric vehicle (EV) sector are harnessing the power of grid services integration to strengthen their triple bottom line.