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Xcel Energy is Helping Drive the Future of DSM

Xcel Energy is a leader in the utility industry, continually executing innovative programs to ensure they are living their mission to become “even more customer focused, forward thinking, and productive...” This summer alone they’ve announced major projects such as a smart city research project in partnership with NREL, an extensive wind energy project spanning seven states (currently the nation’s largest) and now a state-of-the-art energy efficiency (EE) program with Tendril.

Our continuous demand management (CDM) solution, Tendril Orchestrated Energy, will help Xcel Energy customers in Colorado and Minnesota achieve significant energy savings by optimizing their smart thermostats with tailored, automated cooling schedules during the heat of summer.

We’re proud to join Xcel Energy in their continued shift toward customer-centric, forward thinking energy management. I recently asked Tamara Sinensky, Xcel Energy’s project manager here at Tendril, to respond to a few questions about this new partnership:

Q: Why do you think Xcel chose Orchestrated Energy?
A: Xcel Energy is one of the most innovative utilities in the nation. Exemplified by their impressive renewable energy initiatives and cutting-edge smart city research, they are looking beyond the energy needs of the next few years and considering how demand side management (DSM) could and will work in the future. At Tendril, we share their vision of a more customer-focused, cleaner, and smarter energy grid.

Orchestrated Energy is a future-ready platform that will create a clear path for Xcel Energy to scale to its demand management goals, leveraging sophisticated algorithms and Tendril’s TrueHome simulation model to optimize smart controllable devices. By piloting Orchestrated Energy, Xcel Energy will enhance customer satisfaction and engagement initiatives while achieving energy and peak load savings. Orchestrated Energy drives efficiency and peak load reduction while putting the customer at the center of the experience.

Q: What additional benefits will Orchestrated Energy bring to Xcel Energy that differ from traditional EE solutions like Home Energy Report (HER), smart thermostat and lighting programs?
A: While HERs and efficient lighting are staples for many successful EE programs, and smart thermostat initiatives are growing in popularity, Orchestrated Energy offers a new way of garnering savings that will complement existing solutions. For instance, Orchestrated Energy will provide Xcel Energy more savings than smart thermostats alone. In trials with some of the largest utilities in North America, Orchestrated Energy is achieving at least 15% energy savings from cooling during the summer season. This is more than double what smart thermostats typically achieve on their own.

Since it is an automated system, Orchestrated Energy allows customers to passively save energy each day, offering a ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ convenience that doesn’t come with HERs or lighting programs. A daily, customized cooling schedule is developed for each individual’s home that optimizes HVAC systems all day long while placing the least demand on the electrical grid. This is especially useful for customers navigating Xcel Energy’s newly introduced Time of Use (TOU) rates. Customers will be able to save money with TOU rates if they are able to move consumption to cheaper periods, but many people don’t have the time nor inclination to learn and remember whether or not it’s a good time to use energy. Orchestrated Energy can help customers optimize for on-peak and off-peak rates, alleviating the potential hassle.

Q: What does the adoption of CDM in EE programs mean for the DSM space?
A: The construct of DSM has historically been siloed within utilities, with EE having one budget and set of goals, DR having another, and renewables yet another. Over the past few years, however, progressive utilities have begun moving towards a more holistic approach, referred to as integrated demand side management (IDSM). To give you an idea of its popularity, Navigant Research expects global IDSM spending to grow from $39.8 million in 2016 to $1.2 billion in 2025. As IDSM continues to proliferate, the goals and expectations will likely remain separate between programs, but the benefits of integrating these areas include maintaining a more unified, consistent experience for the customer, and finding mutually beneficial solutions that can drive results for EE, DR and renewables alike.

Adding CDM to EE portfolios is a great move for utilities that are looking to drive IDSM initiatives. By doing so, utilities are able to simultaneously achieve savings for EE, shave peak load for DR, and better manage and optimize the integration of renewables onto the grid. With a CDM solution such as Orchestrated Energy, customers are kept at the center of the experience via Tendril MyHome, a native mobile application. Users can specify their desired temperature band to ensure comfort at all times, override automated HVAC set points as needed, and report out on how Orchestrated Energy has helped save them money. CDM helps drive IDSM by satisfying each department’s unique needs while maintaining a unified experience for the customer.

We look forward to sharing more Orchestrated Energy results and learnings as we continue our work with Xcel and our other utility partners. To learn more about Orchestrated Energy, check out the following hand-picked related content:

 

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  • Continuous Demand Management
  • Customer Ops & CSAT
  • DERs
  • DSM
  • Data Analytics
  • Demand Response
  • Disruption
  • Energy Efficiency
  • HERs
  • High Bill Alerts
  • Privacy & Security
  • Real Estate
  • Smart Home
  • Solar

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