November 2014

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Ifty HasanEMAIL INTERVIEWIfty Hasan and Ken Sinclair

Ifty Hasan is a co-founder of EnTouch Controls and serves as Chief Technology Officer as well as a contributing member to the OpenADR Alliance. A technologist with a focus on practical and simple solutions to complex problems, Ifty has held a broad range of technology leadership roles in the energy and telecommunications industry. Prior to co-founding EnTouch Controls, he held leadership roles at Valere Power, Lucent Technologies, Bell Laboratories, Emerson Energy, and Alcatel. He holds a BS and an MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Arkansas.

Demand Response Update

What’s emerging in the market are energy management as a service (EMaaS) offerings – that is active energy management by a live team of dedicated specialists that can facilitate DR policies at the direction of a business owner or facility team.

On October 14, EnTouch Controls announced its updated OpenADR certification and the launch of its EnTouch 360 DR service. Automated Buildings asked Ifty Hasan, the company’s chief technology officer, and a contributing member to the OpenADR Alliance and an industry evangelist for demand response for an update on the latest on DR technology and market opportunities.

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SinclairFor those who are new to DR, can you give us some background on DR, OpenADR and the technology supporting it?

Hasan:  Demand response or DR has been around for several decades as a tool for utilities to use to manage their peak demands.  Additionally, DR provides an opportunity for consumers to play a significant role in reducing or shifting their electricity usage during peak periods in response to time-based rates or other forms of financial incentives. Up until recently, DR has been manually administered and focused on large loads. In an effort to expand the market for DR and to make it easier to implement demand response for small and medium sized businesses and even residential customers Open Automated Demand Response (OpenADR) was developed.

The OpenADR Alliance was formed in 2010 by industry stakeholders to build on the foundation of technical activities to support the development, testing, and deployment of commercial OpenADR and facilitates its acceleration and widespread adoption. The current version of the standard, OpenADR 2.0, includes a complete and expanded set of communication protocols and has become the benchmark in the industry.

OpenADR works by letting utilities and independent operators signal a demand response event through a demand response automation server, which relays the request to equipment that is managed by an energy management system (EMS) in each of the affected sites.  Site administrators can analyze the request against their own business needs at the time and either accept the request to shed or reduce some of their energy usage or reject it.  If they accept the request, then the energy management system automatically initiates a shut down of the required system, for example an HVAC system or lighting.
OpenADR has been widely accepted in the industry and is also part of many of the smart grid initiatives managed by the Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Framework, and Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) among others.

Sinclair What’s been the response from utilities and ratepayers?

Hasan:  OpenADR is being steadily adopted by utilities across the globe as a way to help manage peak demand.  According to the OpenADR Alliance, more than 100 system operators and utilities are offering some kind of program.

It’s most prevalent in California, where several laws on the books require or promote the use of the technology.  Most recently, amendments to Title 24 were passed by the legislature that require new demand responsive controls to be installed in buildings larger than 10,000 square feet to help manage lighting and other systems.

Sinclair What about the peak management opportunity?

Hasan:  We’re seeing a lot of interest in peak management from both utilities and businesses.  EnTouch leverages the peak energy reduction algorithm used to provide the DR program and apply it to manage energy when rates are the highest. The demand charge, which reflects the peak demand from a facility, can be 50 percent or more of the total cost of electricity paid by the commercial customer.  Customers can use the demand response functionality within an energy management system to develop this kind of a program without any involvement from the utility.

From the utility’s perspective, managing peak rate can also be important, especially for providers that have flat-rate contracts, but variable rate sources of energy.  By shedding just a little of the energy when rates are highest, the utility can see a dramatic reduction in their cost of energy sold.  These programs operate similarly to peak demand reduction programs in that the utility will offer a rate incentive and then send out a demand reduction request to its customers.  All of this now is facilitated electronically through the energy management system.

Sinclair How are companies managing their DR programs?

Hasan:  As the adoption rate for demand response offerings increases to a wider range of businesses there is a greater need for an efficient way for these companies to manage the demand response events.  With facility staffs stretched thin, a demand response event request may have to be responded to by a non-trained management personnel that may not know the best way to react.

What’s emerging in the market are energy management as a service (EMaaS) offerings – that is active energy management by a live team of dedicated specialists that can facilitate DR policies at the direction of a business owner or facility team.

Let me give you an example of how it works based on our tool: EnTouch DR professionals utilize a cloud-based configuration tool to help businesses to target the peak or load curtailment with minimum impact to the business operations.  Once they develop and adjust the DR strategies, then they are pushed to the targeted groups and subgroups of equipment. These strategies become native property of the facility and autonomously work in response to a DR event.

Most peak demand DR programs have - on average - 8-9 events per month, and the customer has an option to participate or not.  An average business could have 5-10 pieces of equipment or “assets” that might be turned off or turned down to shed energy. Multi-site businesses, like restaurants, could have hundreds of assets, so the complexity around DR is often compounded. EMaaS is designed to both help make the DR decision, but then also to report and track the participation level across all assets. Since most utilities offer a discount for DR participants, this analysis can help to demonstrate participation if that is challenged.

The complexity of the peak management service is even greater because there could be daily events as power rates fluctuate.  EMaaS offerings are ideal to analyze peak management services and respond to events in a way that balances cost and operations.

SinclairThank you for the update.

Hasan:  You are welcome.


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