A 2010 Buildy Award to Berkeley Lab and Pacific Gas & Electric

August 6, 2010

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Pacific Gas & Electric Company were awarded Connectivity Week's Buildy Award earlier this year in Santa Clara, California.

According to Connectivity Week, an annual industry trade conference addressing Smart Grid technologies that was held this year in Silicon Valley, the Buildy Awards are presented to "a company or organization that has shown or used new and innovative ideas and technologies related to connectivity of smart grid."

Connectivity Week recognized Berkeley Lab and PG&E for their joint effort to expand automated demand response, an approach to reducing, or shifting the time of electricity use that improves electric grid reliability, as non-spinning reserves in the ancillary services market.

The research was led by Berkeley Lab's Demand Response Research Center and PG&E; others participating in this project include Akuacom, ITRON, Metrum Technologies, and Bow Networks.

In this project, three industrial and commercial facilities participating in a demand response program allowed PG&E to bid the facilities' reduction in energy use at specific intervals of time into the California Independent System Operator's electric wholesale market. A reduction in peak electricity use during a specified set of hours is equivalent on the electricity grid to providing electricity generation during that time interval. The market is called an ancillary services market.

The research concluded that the demand response resources from the three commercial and industrial facilities were of sufficient quality to bid and compete directly with other supply side resources in the CAISO ancillary services markets.

The buildings' heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems met the stringent ramp time and duration requirements of the ancillary services market without back-up generation or further effort by facility managers. OpenADR, the communications specification developed by Berkeley Lab researchers and their partners, was the foundation of the test's approach.

In this pilot test, the CAISO Automated Dispatch Signal was sent directly to customers' energy management and control systems using the OpenADR communication protocol. Servers using OpenADR accurately dispatched demand response resources within the required ten minute response window.

—Janie Page