18th PLMA Award Winners Presented in 2021

PLMA Recognizes Leading Energy Industry Load Management Initiatives

PLMA Annual Award Winners

PLMA proudly announces the winners of its 18th PLMA Awards. Those recognized by their peers for outstanding load management programs, initiatives, and achievements in calendar year 2020 are:

Program Pacesetters

  • Eversource Energy's ConnectedSolutions Program
  • Western Power's 100 MW Challenge (Australia)
  • Consumers Energy, Uplight, and Google Nest

Technology Pioneer

  • Enel X North America

Thought Leader 

  • The GridSavvy Community by Sonoma Clean Power

 


Each winning initiative will be featured in a PLMA Load Management Dialogue webcast/podcast:

18th Awards - Summer Webinar Series

  • July 15, 2021: Pacesetter: Consumers Energy, Uplight, and Google Nest
  • July 20, 2021: Tech Pioneer: Enel X North America
  • Aug 12, 2021: Thought Leader: The GridSavvy Community, Sonoma Clean Power
  • Aug 24, 2021: Pacesetter: Eversource ConnectedSolutions 
  • Sept 9, 2021: Pacesetter: Western Power's 100 MW Challenge
Click Here to Register!

 


About the PLMA Awards Program
The annual PLMA Awards program recognizes industry leaders who, in the previous calendar year, created innovative ideas, methods, programs, and technologies to manage end-use loads, meet peak load demand, and support the successful grid integration of distributed energy resources. Over the past 17 years, PLMA has presented over 85 awards to recipients who have included utilities, product/service providers, end-users, and individuals responsible for demand response efforts targeted to the residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural customer markets.


About the 18th PLMA Award Winners

Program Pacesetter:
Eversource Energy's ConnectedSolutions Program

Since launching in 2019, the Eversource ConnectedSolutions program has rapidly scaled up, surpassing enrollment goals and setting the bar high for demand management programs in the Northeast. Eversource ConnectedSolutions enrollment in 2020 surpassed goals by more than 60 MW, reaching 170 MW approved for targeted dispatch, plus 6.3 MW of storage capacity approved for daily peak shaving. Eversource continues to drive enrollments and plans to add several hundred more MW to its portfolio of DERs over the next few years. Eversource ConnectedSolutions is significant not only for the large demand reductions that can be achieved, but also for the diversity of customers and assets enrolled – including more than 600 C&I customers using a range of curtailment strategies and more than 33,000 residential devices including WiFi thermostats, EV chargers, residential battery storage and WiFi-connected A/C units. Eversource continues to explore other partners and devices to add to the program, as well as additional use cases for DERs beyond peak demand response to maximize customer and grid benefits. Eversource’s innovative take on demand response has surpassed high expectations and is a model for what is possible for demand management programs.

Program Pacesetter:
Western Power's 100 MW Challenge (Australia)
Western Power partnered with commercial and industrial businesses in Western Australia to build flexibility services into customer solutions as a way to create a more sustainable, reliable and innovative network for the future. With Western Power’s customers now not only consuming energy but also supplying energy, they needed to change the way the network is managed to enable this two-way flow of energy. At critical times of low loads, this means curtailing solar generation and increasing loads like charging batteries or scheduling processes such as pumping water.

Through this program, Western Australian businesses can determine the best way to manage their distributed energy resources in a way that meets their needs and provides network support, in return for compensation by Western Power.

The program was implemented in a very short time frame. Western Power selected Schneider Electric to provide the platform in April of 2020, with implementation, customer recruitment all happening before September 2020. The first of two control seasons concluded in November. 

This innovative program is one of the ways this forward-thinking utility is smoothing out their ‘duck curve’ into a ‘platypus’ and enabling a future where more renewables can be connected to the grid.

Program Pacesetter:
Consumers Energy, Uplight, and Google Nest
Consumers Energy launched an ambitious Clean Energy Plan, which will eliminate coal and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. Consumers Energy’s Clean Energy Plan is focused on increasing flexibility to the grid and the utility executed multiple key initiatives in 2020.

Consumers Energy developed and delivered a program in the spring of 2020 to give away Google Nest thermostats to Michigan households during the COVID-19 pandemic to help them save energy and money. Electric customers who received smart thermostats were also pre-enrolled in the Smart Thermostat Program, which shifts energy usage to off-peak hours — while also keeping households comfortable – on a few days each year. Consumers Energy placed more than 50,000 Google Nest thermostats in homes and enrolled 91.6% of eligible customers in the Smart Thermostat Program. Launched in only six weeks, Consumers Energy went above and beyond to help their customers during a pandemic lower their energy bills in a no-cost manner while also furthering its goals of a more flexible grid.

The program also served as an important starting point for its winter demand response program focused on natural gas customers -- both residential and businesses -- which launched in the fall of 2020.


Thought Leader: 
The GridSavvy Community by Sonoma Clean Power
The GridSavvy Community was created by Sonoma Clean Power (SCP), the community choice aggregator in California's Sonoma and Mendocino counties.  This innovative program moves away from traditional siloed approaches that segregate participation by customer classes and/or technology and instead offers a range of customer options to increase DER technology adoption.

GridSavvy Community customers receive attractive incentives for purchasing and enrolling smart devices such as thermostats, EV chargers, and heat pump water heaters.  The program focuses on engaging low-income and equity customers, offering these customers higher incentives and financing to ease first-cost barriers to DER technology adoption.

Together with its partner Olivine, SCP aggregates these devices and dispatches to help shape and shift Sonoma Clean Power's customer load, reducing the utilities' need to buy pricier and dirtier power during periods of peak load.  Because of of its focus on varied DER resources, the program is able to take advantage of multiple load modifying strategies, from event-based (with the EV chargers) to a daily load shift (with the water heaters).   In the summer of 2020--when the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) called rolling black outs--the GridSavvy Community responded, keeping the lights on for customers and providing a source of local resilience.


Technology Pioneer
Enel X North America

Electric vehicles and smart charging infrastructure are poised to play a major role in providing critical energy services to the grid. Smart EV charging can provide intelligent real-time grid balancing and advanced grid support during times of high demand and limited energy supply. It has demonstrated success by operating EVs as “storage on wheels” during the 12 to 15+ hours per day that vehicles typically sit unused.

In 2020, California faced the worst fire season in its history and a record heatwave. Enel X's demand response, energy storage, and smart EV charging customers pitched in as part of a statewide effort among commercial and residential energy users to reduce strain on the grid.

With the increasing frequency of extreme weather conditions such as the 2020 California heatwave and 2021's winter storms which brought sub-freezing temperatures and power outages to millions across Texas and the U.S., there is an urgent need to expand demand-side distributed energy resources. Enel X enables industrial, commercial, and residential customers to earn cash flows and enhance resilience by supporting grid reliability through mechanisms such as vehicle-grid integration (VGI), automated load management (ALM), participation in dynamic rates, and V2G for backup-power and resiliency in the future.