Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Homer adds demand response to grid modelling software

Steve Rogerson
August 6, 2019



Colorado-based Homer Energy has updated its Grid software for modelling the economic and engineering feasibility of grid-tied hybrid renewable energy systems to include the capability to model the economic benefits of participation in demand response contracts.
 
This feature lets facility managers and owners more fully understand the economic potential of distributed energy at their facility. Project developers and demand service providers can communicate and capture how participation in demand response contracts can work in concert with peak shaving and other incentive programmes to benefit their customers and investors. 
 
Demand response programmes are a contract between the utility and customer where the customer voluntarily curtails their load in response to a signal from the utility. The customer is credited for doing this. These programmes allow utilities to incentivise commercial and industrial customers to curtail their demand voluntarily during certain peak periods.
 
This allows the utility to meet overall demand without building expensive peaker plants that are used only in times of particularly high demand. The rapidly decreasing costs of energy storage are prompting more utilities to create demand response programmes that both improve overall load management and keep costs reasonable for everyone.
 
The Smart Electric Power Alliance (Sepa), a trade group that helps utilities with the clean energy transition, reports that there were 155 demand response programmes across the country in 2017. That number is growing as utilities search for less expensive alternatives to investments in new infrastructure and new ways to protect the stability of the grid during the transition to greater amounts of distributed energy.
 
Homer Grid models financial savings from energy storage and load shifting, distributed generation systems that limit power consumption to critical loads when necessary, and the ability of self-generation generally to reduce electricity costs.
 
The demand response feature allows users to model demand response events explicitly in their behind-the-meter renewable and storage systems, and determine the interplay between the costs of adding more storage and the credits available through the demand response programme. Users can either specify how much they are willing to reduce their electric load, which may be set by their own internal needs, or they can let Homer Grid determine what their best bid would be.
 
Homer Energy modelling software can analyse solar-plus-storage microgrid and other distributed energy projects. Its flagship product Homer  Pro simulates the engineering and economic feasibility of complex off-grid and grid-tied distributed energy systems that combine conventional and renewable power, storage and load management.
 
Homer Grid, aimed at the solar-plus-storage market, helps commercial and industrial users design hybrid renewable energy systems that save on electricity bills and lower carbon footprints.
 
Based in Boulder, Colorado, Homer Energy was founded in 2009 by Peter Lilienthal and Marilyn Walker, and now has more than 200,000 users in more than 190 countries.