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Unlocking Customer Engagement and Grid Resiliency Solutions

Posted to Guidehouse in the Energy Efficiency Group
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Pritil Gunjan's picture
Senior Research Analyst Guidehouse Insights

Pritil Gunjan is a senior research analyst with Guidehouse Insights leading the DER Database solution and supporting the Connected DER, Building Stock Database, Global Wind Database, Energy...

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  • Aug 2, 2021 4:45 pm GMT
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The energy transformation will continue to drive decentralization across the entire energy value chain. Linear value chains supporting one-way power flow from centralized generation to end customers will likely give way to a more sustainable, highly digitized, and dynamic energy system. Moving toward the Energy Cloud or a multidirectional network and from a linear hub-and-spoke model, this system will support two-way energy flows where customer choices, digitization, and resiliency are critical. In a customer-centric framework, the power system is anticipated to establish itself as an end-to-end integrated ecosystem that spans customer-sited distributed energy resources and includes transmission and distribution. Customer-driven applications will be a critical input while defining power system resilience across scale, frequency, and duration.

The Residential Sector Is Ripe for Demand Side Management Opportunity

The residential sector witnessed an acute shift in energy consumption during the pandemic. As the energy industry fuels society’s ability to navigate, the industry is also being pushed to address new pain points and better serve customers. For over 2 months, global utilities have been working to keep the lights on while assuring their customers that reliable, affordable energy is here to stay during trying times.

Copper Labs, a wireless real-time energy management provider, partnered with Xcel Energy to launch a solution where customers can ask their smart speaker if it is a good time to use appliances that draw on large amounts of energy. This solution allows for customers to set their own energy management goals and compare their usage to peers, which will help motivate the continuous low touch engagement necessary to achieve long-term grid integration plans. The key to engaging resources is demonstrating to customers that their participation in demand side management (DSM) programs will earn rewards, will not cause discomfort, or better yet, will not go unnoticed entirely.

DSM and targeted customer engagement can help achieve this stability as energy loads shift from commercial and industrial sites to the residential segment. This has created an urgency across stakeholders to understand that remote customer engagement (RCE) is possible through virtual interaction and digitization. According to Guidehouse Insights’ report, Remote Engagement Strategies to Enroll Customer-Sited DER, opportunities for RCE primarily target residential customers and include revamped home energy reports, remote audits, and thermal mapping. These solutions are matched by developments such as augmented reality, which are designed to remotely engage commercial and industrial customers.

For more insight on this topic, register for Guidehouse Insights' webinar on August 5. The webinar will feature panelists from Copper Labs, Xcel Energy, and Sterling Ranch Community Authority Board, and will discuss how Xcel Energy is working with Copper Labs to utilize real-time energy data in the area of targeted behavioral demand response (BDR) at the Sterling Ranch smart community southwest of Denver. Moderator Pritil Gunjan, principal research analyst at Guidehouse Insights, will discuss with the panelists the importance of understanding when and where energy is used as available renewables and distributed energy resources (DER) continue to rise. Register here.

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Aug 3, 2021

What a cool program-- so many smart home / smart speaker applications appear aren't actually useful, it seems the tech is too far ahead of the implementations. This sounds like a really useful approach though that I could actually imagine using. 

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