SOURCE: AutoGrid Systems

October 29, 2012 07:00 ET

AutoGrid Systems Introduces the Energy Data Platform and DROMS to Bring Big Data Analytics and Scalable Demand Response to Electricity and Energy Sector

DROMS Cuts Costs of Offering Demand Side Management Programs by 90% and Allows Utilities and Service Providers to Optimally Manage Demand Flexibility Across Their Industrial, Commercial and Residential Customers

PALO ALTO, CA--(Marketwire - Oct 29, 2012) - AutoGrid Systems, a leader in Big Data analytics and software services for empowering utilities and end-users to control power consumption and costs, today publicly unveiled its Energy Data Platform (EDP), a highly-scalable and secure software platform for mining the wealth of smart grid data, as well as its Demand Response Optimization and Management Systems (DROMS), a cloud-based demand management service that expands the market and versatility of dynamic pricing and power management services.

Requiring no additional hardware, DROMS cuts the cost of demand response systems by 90 percent while increasing the "yield" of power from demand response events by 30 percent. DROMS has already been deployed and used in demand response programs for City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) and Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD).

The company also announced $9 million in venture funding from Foundation Capital, Voyager Capital and Stanford University. (See related announcement.)

AutoGrid applies Big Data technologies, real-time predictive algorithms to help utilities, grid operators, and end-users harness the tsunami of data being generated by the smart meters, grid sensors and other devices. Pike Research estimates that $34 billion will be invested worldwide in smart grid analytics between 2012 and 2020.

The core of AutoGrid's platform is a dynamic, physics-based optimization engine that reflects the complex interrelationships between generation, transmission, distribution and consumption of power in a region, or within a facility. Similar to e-commerce recommendation engines or algorithms for predicting weather, EDP uses petabytes of structured and unstructured data to create forecasts of future consumption and grid conditions by examining ongoing trends and relationships between millions of variables. With EDP, utilities can unearth usage patterns within its customer base or understand the impact of pricing signals, weather patterns and other variables on the behavior of its customers to anticipate grid stress. Industrial customers can dissect its processes to trim peak loads and craft an energy strategy to significantly reduce overall energy costs. The system learns continuously and becomes more accurate as more data becomes available, and can optimize the system better as it is used more and more. 

"Utilities, grid operators and end-users all want to achieve a greater visibility into their power consumption and costs. A large portion of the electricity generated worldwide is simply wasted because it can't be dynamically monitored or controlled," said Dr. Amit Narayan, founder and CEO. "Big Data analytics and software-based controls will help balance supply with demand and ultimately turn software into the cheapest, cleanest source of power."

The company's executive team brings together deep domain experience and a successful execution track record in diverse areas such as complex engineering system design and optimization, large-scale transaction systems, behavior-driven software application, communications, Internet advertising, revenue management and electric utilities business.

Dynamic Demand Response

Based on open protocols such as OpenADR, the industry-wide standard for automated demand response, DROMS is an economical cloud-based service for implementing and managing a wide range of power management programs such as direct load control, critical peak pricing, peak-time rebates and demand bidding. It does not require additional hardware and is highly scalable and secure.

"A growing body of evidence indicates that consumers will curb their power consumption if given timely information about power pricing or the ability to participate in programs that automatically adjust their thermostats a few degrees," said Karen Herter, founder and director of Herter Energy Research Solutions, which is collaborating with SMUD on its demand response programs. "AutoGrid's technology helps create an infrastructure that makes it easier for utilities and their customers to work together in this manner."

DROMS also allows execution of demand response events within seconds instead of days, allowing power management to be used as spinning reserves or for grid balancing services in near real-time.

CPAU has been using DROMS in a program to help large, industrial customers shed power. The system has allowed CPAU to shed an average of 1.2 megawatts of peak demand, saving 3.5 megawatt hours of electricity, per event.

"With the use of AutoGrid's DROMS, we can quickly determine how much power we shed during a demand response event and which customers participated," said Karla Dailey, Senior Resource Planner at CPAU. "Demand response programs are potentially one of the most economical and efficient ways to curb peak power. DROMS is a user-friendly platform that allows us to automate demand management, critical for administering a full-scale program."

DROMS additionally provides:

  • A Unified View of All Available Resources Across All Programs. The service allows utilities to view available capacity across all customer segments, load types, geographic locations, and programs from a single dashboard.
  • Real-Time load Forecasting and Event Monitoring. Advanced machine learning techniques generate highly accurate real-time predictions of individual loads as well as the response to load shed requests or price signals. 
  • Modeling of Grid Physics for Optimal Event Dispatch. DROMS can anticipate the impact of a demand response request before it occurs and create event strategies in real time.
  • Accessible through Public or Private Clouds. Customers also gain the benefits of enhanced security, reliability and privacy that can come with cloud-based architectures.
  • Powerful Measurement, Verification, Analytics and Reporting. DROMS provides a large library of reports for analyzing and comparing event and program performance. Users can slice and dice results to gain insight into different customer segments.

About AutoGrid

Founded in 2011, AutoGrid is dedicated to bringing the power of Big Data, predictive analytics and Internet scale computational techniques to the production and consumption of electricity. Serving utilities of all sizes, grid operators, electricity retailers, ESCO services companies, and end-users, AutoGrid develops and markets services that both help lower costs and improve reliability of the electricity supply chain. For more, please see our website or contact us

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