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The existential threat to demand response

Reports of demand response markets’ death have been greatly exaggerated

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, demand response, policy and regulation
Demand response (DR) markets will continue to thrive, despite the fallout from the recent U.S. Court of Appeals ruling on FERC Order 745. That order determined that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had overstepped its jurisdiction by dictating the compensation that providers of DR resources must receive.

Economic DR, which is what this ruling affected, plays a relatively minor role in DR markets nationwide—a percent or two of most DR providers’ revenues. In itself, the decision has a relatively minor impact. What is disconcerting is that it could serve as a precedent that impedes the ability of the FERC to effectively regulate DR markets more broadly.

Currently, there’s huge potential to expand capacity markets – a far more significant resource nationwide than economic DR. As more renewables are connected to the grid, and commercial buildings upgrade efficiency technology, new markets are opening up for the “negawatts” that demand response can provide. Introducing uncertainty into the marketplace has the potential to slow progress.

A closer look at the decision

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, demand response, policy and regulation
Let’s take a closer look at the majority decision. Previously, under FERC Order 745, grid operators (ISOs & RTOs) needed to reimburse customers who curtailed consumption while enrolled in DR the locational marginal price or full market price. Order 745 was an efficient way to keep supply and demand in balance because it’s usually the dirtiest, most expensive power plants that are turned on during peak loads.

The majority arguing for repeal didn’t dispute the rule’s efficacy. Rather, the 2-1 majority found that demand response in energy markets is a retail product rather than a wholesale product—and given that states are responsible for regulating retail markets, the FERC had overreached its jurisdiction with Order 745.

The court’s decision will have a relatively minor effect on the economics of demand response markets. While guaranteed energy payments from 745 were certainly good for the DR industry, they are relatively minor revenue stream for most DR providers—rarely more than a percent or two of gross revenue. The real economic value of demand response lies in transmission: the capacity and reserves market.

The threat to demand response

What could really threaten the DR market is if this precedent extends to the capacity and reserves market. In FERC Order 719, demand can respond to wholesale market need. Order 719 outlines that reserve market DR can be used as a resource and for system emergencies. More generally, DR allows wholesale and qualifying large retail buyers to bid the day-ahead into DR, real-time energy markets and certain ancillary service markets.

What we need to consider now is two-fold. First, how will this decision on 745 – which directly affects only the energy market – impact FERC’s development of market structures that encourage efficient use of our energy resources? Second, how will vacating these policies affect resources and peak loads? An unpredictable policy environment risks stalling progress in energy efficiency and demand response. FERC lawsuits cause significant market uncertainty — and to end users, the importance of this decision might seem obscure, but resultant uncertainty will impact them at the most basic level: electricity pricing.

More here.

Wattics Releases Sentinel, a Self-Learning Engine to Assist Companies to Achieve Long-Promised Energy Savings

Dublin, Ireland – June 16, 2014 – Wattics Limited (http://www.wattics.com), a leading provider of software intelligence for energy management, announced today the release of Sentinel, a much-anticipated self-learning analytics engine enabling automatic discovery of energy anomalies and energy-saving opportunities from meter readings. Targeting commercial and industrial customers, Wattics innovate within the energy management market by assisting end-users in detecting energy inefficiency, as it occurs, and by converting complex meter readings into clear notifications with recommendations. Customers are notified by email, online dashboard and through a mobile app, allowing them to achieve immediate savings. Wattics Sentinel offers an easy and inexpensive way to add expert data analysis to a variety of commercial, industrial and consumer monitoring applications, and is designed to work with any conventional meter.

“At Wattics we will never stop innovating! We want our customers to have the most innovative energy management solution in the market. That’s why we are pioneering Sentinel. Sentinel addresses common problems for our customers which include having limited time to investigate energy graphs and having difficulty to identify saving opportunities. Sentinel constantly learns about the operation of appliances and areas, identifying correlation between their use and characterising good and bad use over week days, week-ends and bank holidays. After a couple of weeks, Sentinel starts notifying area managers and operators about important energy issues, allowing them to focus on the actual implementation of the actions with greater results. With Sentinel, our customers will never miss an opportunity to save money, and all the saving actions are recorded so that each manager can demonstrate how much money the company has made through his or her actions. Sentinel boosts user engagement and brings fun to the energy management sector. Talented employees have an instrument to demonstrate how the company has improved the bottom line and are incentivised to do so, perhaps leading to a reward such as a promotion or a salary increase. “ said Antonio Ruzzelli, CEO Wattics.

Wattics Sentinel is the new addition to Wattics energy hardware, disaggregation and dashboard solutions, and can be licensed for integration within partner’s solutions.

For more information visit http://www.wattics.com.

About Wattics Ltd.

Wattics is a truly innovative online energy management platform that uses advanced software algorithms to uncover equipment activity reports, anomalies and all valuable insights contained within raw energy measurements, enabling innovative real-time notifications and recommendations to end-users for immediate savings. Wattics demonstrated savings greater than 20% for clients in commercial/industrial buildings, and was acknowledged “2012 Best Emerging Company in Ireland”.

Remote Conference Program Covers the Future of SCADA, Remote Networks, Security and Onsite Power for Critical Infrastructure

Greenwood Village, Colo. – Webcom Communications Corp. is proud to announce that its annual Remote Monitoring and Control Conference will be returning Las Vegas in 2014. Being held Nov. 5-7, 2014 at the Green Valley Ranch Resort & Spas, this event covers the latest advancements for monitoring and managing distributed equipment and facilities via recent developments in SCADA, remote networks (wireless & wired), security (cyber & physical), automation, onsite power, M2M and all other manner of technology that allows for the management of remote assets.

For 2014 conference is welcoming back the SCADA Technology Summit and several in-depth conference workshops. The SCADA Technology Summit is a day long program exclusively covering SCADA technology.

The event also hosts a highly targeted exhibit hall filled with companies showcasing the latest technologies in these rapidly evolving markets.

The international conference serves multiple markets and industries including utilities/T&D, infrastructure, power, oil & gas, telecom, industrial, water & wastewater, remote networks and facilities management. End-users in these industries often have equipment, facilities and staff distributed over large areas and require automated processes and systems to control these assets.

“With continued advancements in SCADA, networking and security technology, it paramount that managers of infrastructure projects and remote assets stay up to date on the latest technology for their remote assets,” said Nick Depperschmidt, conference chairman, Remote Monitoring and Control 2014. “Upgrading, maintaining and specifying these systems is a daunting task. That’s why we’ve assembled a program filled of the brightest minds in the industry. If you work in automation, SCADA, M2M, industrial networking, cyber and physical security, onsite power and data acquisition, this is your last must attend event in 2013.”

Remote Monitoring and Control 2013 will once again be co-located with the Antenna Systems confernece.  This event will cover the latest advancements in the applications, technology and economic development in the antennas market. The co-location provides attendees the opportunity to network with possible clients and partners in fields with synergistic needs and Remote Attendees are welcome to attend any Antenna Systems Conference they’d like.

NXP joins ZigBee board of directors

NXP Semiconductors has become the newest member of the ZigBee Alliance board of directors.

This move increases NXP’s existing membership to ‘promoter’ level. The company has long supplied microcontrollers and transceivers for smart homes, connected lighting and energy efficiency applications based on ZigBee standards.

“NXP is an established member of the Alliance,” said Pieter Hooijmans, who leads R&D in security and connectivity at NXP. “This new role is a logical next step in our relationship.”

The ZigBee Alliance was established in 2002. It is a non-profit association of members, made up of businesses, universities and government agencies from around the globe. The Alliance works towards developing standards that deliver greater freedom and flexibility when it comes to smart tech.

“This development further supports our strategy to enable secure connections for a smarter world,” added Hans Rijns, senior vice president and chief technical officer at NXP, on the company’s new role.

More here.

“M2M+ Industry Summit” ended with great success two days of intense M2M/IoT experience

Outstanding speakers, presentations with brilliant insights and many networking moments to share ideas and projects: M2M+ Industry Summit, organized by Innovability – company specialized in creating cutting-edge B2B events – offered two days of real immersion in the M2M/IoT world for the top players of the community, with great appreciation by all the participants.

100 international professionals from all over the world – from Germany to India, passing through Sweden, Turkey and Israel -  took part to the reserved meeting M2M+ and over 1200 people coming from 19 countries visited the expo area and attended the conferences of the co-located tradeshow “M2M FORUM” on 20th May. www.m2mforum.com

The exclusive conference provided the attendees with an interesting overview on the new horizons of M2M/IoT sector, dealing with market enterprise opportunities and threats, service providers perspectives, disruptive technolgies and the application of M2M/IoT in our everyday “smart life”.

Presenting companies: Alessandro Bassi Consulting, Beecham Research, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Eurotech, Infosys, Inmarsat, Libelium, Machina Research, M2M Alliance, M2M Insights, m2ocity, Nuvia Smart Energy Technologies, OIES Consulting, Oracle, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, SAP, SIMalliance, Swiss1mobile, Tele2, Telefónica Digital, Thingworx, Underwriters Laboratories, Wearable Technologies, Weightless, WBIRD, Zoho Corp.

Thanks to the unique Pitchfire Event, start ups had the chance to present their projects to a panel of venture capitalists, who showed strong interest for new ideas in the field.  A key component of M2M+ Industry Summit was networking with fellow attendees and M2M/IoT leaders. The brokerage event “M2MATCH”, specifically designed at this aim, saw almost 200 bunisness meetings organized with the cooperation of EEN-Innovhub. M2M+ Industry Summit offered a unique occasion to M2M/IoT top players for gathering together and provided them with great business opportunities fostering powerful
connections growth.

Greatly appreciated the co location with the 13th edition of “M2M FORUM” that confirmed itself as the leading machine-to-machine conference&expo in Europe.  1200 visitors from 19 countries and 78 partners, 45% coming from abroad, strenghtened the international profile of the event, sponsored by: Eurotech, Oracle, SAP, Telecom Italia Digital Solutions, Telit, Vodafone, Abodata, Cambium Networks, Digitel, Endian, Energy@Home, Ericsson, Gemalto, Gestioni Elettroniche, Kerlink , Oberthur, Semtech, Siemens, Stmicroeletronics,
Thingworx, Tiesse.

Not only business meetings for M2M+ attendees: the Networking Dinner, held on Monday in a cool restaurant in downtown Milan, represented a perfect moment to boost new partnerships too and it was welcomed with enthusiasm by all the participants.

Now waiting for 2015 “MILAN M2M WORLD CAPITAL CITY”

In 2015 Milan will host the World Expo and Innovability is already working on the next special edition. The main goal is to make the event even more rich in terms of contents and format, widening the horizon to the consumer industry and setting alongside the reserved business meeting, points of interest for consumers in the city: showroom and shops where to present innovative solutions directly to the public, for a real M2M experience.

Photo gallery HERE.

How can I successfully manage hotel energy use?

Daniel Tuohy, Wattics Chief Energy Analyst

Even the most simple tasks will take some sort of planning and when discussing your plans with somebody else you will often hear quoted to you that “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. This is indeed very true, but unfortunately this wisdom sometimes comes to us far too late and we only learn where we went wrong with hindsight.

If you are new to energy management, deciding where to start can be a daunting task but you should try to forget about “preparing to fail” and try to start out with a positive mindset, after all, there are many helpful guidelines available and numerous companies that can offer expert advice in this area. Careful planning will lead to good energy management and “By succeeding to prepare, you are preparing to succeed”.

If you are a SME or hotel, a best practice action plan that you could follow is Energy MAP, the Energy Management Action Plan from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). This plan has helped many businesses in Ireland be successful in effectively managing their energy use and reducing operating costs. The plan is divided into five key steps or pillars of energy management: Commit, Identify, Plan, Take Action and Review.


Perhaps the biggest hurdle to overcome when following any energy management plan is gaining staff commitment but once people are on board it becomes much easier to implement energy conservation measures, many of which require very little investment. You will find below some guidelines into how the five pillars of energy management can be applied in your hotel.

Commit -
Energy management is not just for maintenance managers or facility managers and requires wider adoption in order to be successful. Savings of up to 20% have been reported by some hotels by simply changing energy behaviour and this must come from all hotel staff, most of which are responsible for operating or controlling energy using appliances. The hotel management must also be on board, lead by example and encourage staff to become involved in energy management.

Appoint an Energy Champion to become a figurehead for energy saving activities and to motivate other staff. Establish an Energy Team to assist the Energy Champion and look for volunteers from different hotel areas such as reception, bar & restaurant, kitchen, leisure centre, accommodation, night porter and maintenance. Consider rewards for good implementation of energy saving actions and encourage regular meetings to brainstorm ideas.

Identify -
It is important to become familiar with your energy bills and to develop a knowledge of where your energy is being consumed. Most people will just look at the bottom page of the their energy bill to check what is the total charge or ‘what is the damage?’, but energy bills can also tell you a lot more about energy use in your hotel such as the energy consumed during the day, the energy consumed during the night, weekend use vs weekday energy use and much much more. If you are lucky enough to have an energy management solution installed at your hotel then you may also be able to find out what particular areas are consuming in comparison to others. Area level information can also help focus your energy saving efforts towards significant energy consumers. You should also try to identify energy saving opportunities and staff should always be consulted first for ideas as they probably have the best knowledge of the hotel and possible areas where energy is being wasted.

Plan -
You should now be ready to start planning some energy saving actions or initiatives. If you have already consulted with your staff for ideas then you will probably have the makings of a list of energy saving opportunities. You should next try to set out some objectives and targets, communicating them to everyone involved. Try to set challenging goals without been unrealistic, for example, there is no point setting out to try and reduce energy use in the Leisure Centre by 40% if you have not first identified significant wastage or you have no budget to make changes to the heating or air conditioning plant. Perhaps you should consider starting small by planning to implement two to three ‘low cost’ energy saving actions per hotel area in the first two months of your energy management action plan.

Take Action -
You should try to remember that not everyone working in the hotel will be highly motivated to save energy for the environments sake and many of the staff will have other work priorities such as meeting staff needs or requests. Making energy management more fun and engaging is one way to help all staff remain motivated to carry out energy saving actions. Some hotels have had success by creating an Energy Game, whereby, staff receive recognition for hard work and often rewards for particularly good initiatives. The Energy Champion will be a central figure for organising such games and it helps if he/she is a charismatic person who is capable of creating a friendly & competitive atmosphere.

Review -
It is difficult to know if your plan has successfully delivered energy savings or increased energy awareness without some sort of review. Measuring and monitoring energy use or performance from the start makes it easier to assess if energy saving actions have worked or not. It is essential that the people carrying out the review have the necessary knowledge or received the required training in order to be able to successfully establish if energy use or performance has improved as a result of energy saving actions. For larger sites, it might be worth considering energy sub-metering systems or an energy monitoring system in order to obtain the required data to make the review process possible. If you are thinking about investing in an energy monitoring system for the first time then it is very important that you find out what kind of service is provided with the system. Will it be difficult to extract energy data for analysis? Will advice be provided for measuring and verifying energy saving actions?

Finally, staff will be encouraged to continue with energy management if their success is communicated to everyone and if their hard work is celebrated/rewarded. Some staff might even respond to gentle reminders or notices to try harder if they are falling behind their energy saving targets. In the serious business of energy management most people forget to try and have a bit of fun, afterall, it is the people who work in the hotel who have probably the most influence over whether the energy performance of the hotel goes up or down, and these same people will not be motivated unless they are sufficiently engaged.

More information on Energy Map can be found on the SEAI website at:-

About Wattics
Wattics provide low-cost solutions that help businesses and their staff to engage with energy management and achieve results. We provide innovative energy monitoring solutions complete with a unique energy service level agreement that provides ongoing customer support and expert advice. Many of our clients have changed the way in which they manage their energy and some have achieved energy savings of more than 20%.

If you would like to know more about Wattics and our solutions, please get in touch.

EnerNOC Receives 2014 Smart Grid Product of the Year

EnerNOC, Inc. (Nasdaq:ENOC), a leading provider of energy intelligence software (EIS), today announced that it has received a 2014 Smart Grid Product of the Year award from Smart-Grid.TMCnet.com. EnerNOC’s software was recognized as an example of outstanding innovation in smart grid technology.

“Enterprises use software to deliver visibility and support decision making for every major operational cost center, but to date, managing energy has largely been ignored or relegated to spreadsheets. We’ve proven that energy intelligence software is a game changer for enterprise energy management. It delivers a clear bottom-line impact by applying the power of information technology to energy,” said Gregg Dixon, SVP of Marketing and Sales at EnerNOC. “EnerNOC’s software gives customers a cloud-based platform to capture and analyze real-time energy and energy-related data to buy energy better, reduce waste, and optimize when energy is used. We’re honored to that our application received this recognition.”

EnerNOC has invested almost $200 million in its technology platform to date and its software is now deployed at tens of thousands of enterprise sites globally. EnerNOC’s platform streams real-time energy data into customers’ EIS applications so they can view and analyze their real-time energy consumption, prioritize activities and investments, take action toward meeting objectives, and report on progress toward goals.

“The solutions that have been selected for the 2014 Smart Grid Product of the Year Award reflect the diverse range of innovation driving this market. Congratulations to EnerNOC which exemplified the best of smart grid technologies in the past year,” said Carl Ford, CEO and Community Developer, Crossfire Media.

“It is my pleasure to recognize EnerNOC with a Smart Grid Product of the Year Award for its contribution to the advancement of smart grid technologies,” said Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. “I look forward to seeing more innovation from EnerNOC in the coming year.”

More here.

Google is harnessing machine learning to cut data center energy

Leave it to Google to have an engineer so brainy he hacks out machine learning models in his 20 percent time. Google says that recently it’s been using machine learning — developed by data center engineer Jim Gao (his Googler nickname is “Boy Genius”) — to predict the energy efficiency of their global data centers down to 99.6 percent accuracy, and then to optimize the data centers in incremental ways if they become less efficient for whatever reason.

Part of Gao’s day-to-day job at Google is to track its data centers’ power usage efficiency, or PUE, which demonstrates how efficiently data center computing equipment is using energy. Traditionally many data center operators were seeing about half of their energy consumed by cooling equipment, but in recent years data center leaders like Google, Facebook and others have focused on tools like using the outside air for cooling, or running the server rooms at warmer temperatures, to dramatically cut energy use.

Google has been calculating its data centers’ PUE every five minutes for over five years, which means Gao had a whole lot of data to work with. The PUE data includes 19 different variables, like cooling tower speed, processing water temperature, pump speed, outside air temperature, humidity, etc. The result is that Google had hundreds of millions of data points to analyze and to put to use to make data center energy operations better.

That size of data is best analyzed by computers. So Gao took an online class about machine learning and started building a model to populate all of this PUE data. Google started testing it and quickly found out it was extremely accurate when it came to predicting the PUE of any of its data centers across the world at any time.

More here.

Johnson Controls, Cisco building portable Internet data centers

When people think of all their photos, passwords and business data stored in the “cloud,” they may think of something invisible, or at least virtual.

But data centers — physical structures that house powerful computers and data storage devices — are the bricks and mortar of the cloud. And an expanding partnership between Silicon Valley powerhouse Cisco and Glendale-based Johnson Controls is working to create portable prefabricated data centers, roughly the size of a semi trailer, to help businesses move their data and analytical tools to the cloud in a cost-effective way.

It could be a lucrative market for the company’s Milwaukee-based building efficiency business, which posted sales of $14.6 billion last year.

Cisco and Johnson Controls have been partners for more than six years, and Cisco two months ago announced plans to invest $1 billion in the coming years on what it’s calling the InterCloud, or the world’s largest cloud network. The network will support the increasing connectedness of people and businesses as well as the soaring use of data analytics spawned by that connectedness.

It’s all part of what’s called the Internet of Things, the concept that all sorts of objects — thermostats, car keys, parking meters, refrigerators, TVs, lake-level meters, even public garbage cans that can say when they’re full — will be connected to one another via the Internet.

And it’s a natural fit for Johnson Controls’ building efficiency business, which was created when Warren Johnson invented the room thermostat in the 1880s. It has since broadened into a sprawling organization that supplies building controls and equipment that can manage energy savings for “smart buildings” remotely for customers worldwide.

Cisco has identified the Internet of Things, which is sometimes called the Internet of Everything, as a $19 trillion economic opportunity over the coming decade.

“Our hopes are that it’s very big,” said Kevin Self, Johnson Controls vice president of strategy for the building efficiency business. “We’re working with Cisco to see how quickly this builds.”

More here.

Monnit Releases Wireless Sensors’ Control Device

Salt Lake City, UT – May 20, 2014 – Monnit Corporation (www.monnit.com), a leading provider of wireless monitoring and sensing solutions for commercial and industrial clients announced today the release of a much anticipated wireless control device. Perfect for retrofit applications, the Monnit Control device offers an easy and inexpensive way to add wireless control to a variety of commercial, industrial and consumer self-monitoring applications.

“The release of wireless control to our best-of-breed, self monitoring solutions is the first in a line of new products which round out the Monnit offering to address the gamut of needs for commercial and industrial monitoring. Monitoring is critical to business today and control is the obvious follow on to a need determined by a reliable, low cost monitoring solution.” said Brad Walters, CEO Monnit. “Intelligent control helps manage business processes, conserve energy and optimize operational efficiencies.”

The Monnit wireless control device provides two separate 10-amp or 30-amp relays (controls) that can be toggled on/off, at will, by either; a paired wireless sensor on the same network or directly by the user through the iMonnit.com web portal.

Each of the units two relays can be paired with any Monnit wireless sensor (currently over 40 types) to automatically activate the relay when the sensor detects user defined conditions. The user can set the default state of each relay to “on” or “off”, then set conditions that will cause the relay to switch. The control device will listen for messages from either the software or directly from the paired sensor (if in range) and check against the set conditions. If a sensor reading meets the set conditions, the control relay will automatically switch to the non-default state. When the sensor reports a reading that falls back outside the set conditions, the relay switches back to it’s default state. For example, if a water sensor detects water at a certain level in a sump pit, the relay will switch ON, activating the pump. When water is no longer detected, the relay will switch OFF, deactivating the pump motor.

In addition, the relays can also be directly switched on or off through the iMonnit software which is accessible from any web enabled device such as smart phones. These changes can also be defined as temporary, based on a set duration (example: turn the relay on for 10 minutes then switch off).

The new wireless control device is available from Monnit at www.monnit.com as well as available in a completely brandable version available through www.oemsensors.com. For more information visit http://www.monnit.com/Products/Accessories/Commercial-Control/.

About Monnit Corp.
Monnit is a leader in the design and manufacturing of turnkey, self-installing, low cost wireless sensor solutions targeted at the commercial, industrial and consumer markets. Monnit’s sensing solutions are designed to be easily installed and used by anyone wanting to remotely monitor information and activities around a variety of variables (i.e. temperature, motion, humidity, vibration, etc.) and receive alerts based on user defined conditions.

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