Today in Cleantech

Last week’s heat wave spiked power demand across the East Coast, as millions of air conditioners went on full blast. How did the demand response industry handle the event? Pretty well, according to initial reports from the likes of the North American Electric Reliability Corp. and big power market entities like mid-Atlantic grid operator PJM. Demand response heavyweights EnerNOC and Comverge reported heavy demand for their services, with EnerNOC dispatching 1,250 megawatts across 12 states, a personal record. But it’s interesting to note that EnerNOC has about 6,600 megawatts under management right now, which means a record DR call only adds up to about one-sixth of its total capacity. That makes sense — EnerNOC operates in multiple markets and regions, and not all are going to have power emergencies at once. At the same time, EnerNOC’s market-leading share amongst private DR providers is far outweighed by the amount of demand response handles directly by utilities. Tools to help them manage their own demand response are all the rage, and several startups in the space have been bought up recently — UISOL by Alstom, EnergyConnect by Johnson Controls, Akuacom by Honeywell, among them. I’d say the big DR providers are going to be competing against those big buyers someday, and they’ll have to prove the classic demand response service model works in this new market.