Demand Energy Member Spotlight

Demand Energy, based in Liberty Lake, Washington, develops and markets a comprehensive platform that manages energy storage, inverters, software, big data analytics and, at times, solar power.  The company’s Joule.System™ is designed to maximize the value of distributed energy storage by providing the cloud-based intelligence and analytics needed to optimize how and when to utilize energy storage resources in conjunction with other energy assets to lower the electric bills for their commercial and industrial customers.

Joule.System is a turn-key solution that centralizes and tightly integrates all of the functions needed to aggregate and manage distributed energy resources independent of their location, capacity or ownership.  The system goes well beyond the basic requirements of managing AC/DC and DC/AC power conversion system and rechargeable batteries by integrating support for building management systems, energy markets, metering systems, and other energy assets using Demand Energy’s Grid.DNA Distributed Network Architecture (software).   It applies sophisticated analytics and automated decision-making in real time to a large-scale data store that continuously tracks energy demand, system status and market information.  This enables the system to minimize costs without compromising power quality or reliability.

The Joule.System continuously reacts to energy market rate structures, storing energy when time-of-use rates are low, and generating electricity during peak periods to offset costly demand charges and/or reduce load during a demand response event.  The system also makes it easier to integrate both large- and small-scale renewable energy generation in the context of a micro-grid or as a virtual power plant, and provides a dependable source of backup power during grid outages.

This cloud-based, battery agnostic system has been deployed in energy storage systems that are producing economic value on two continents and are demonstrating a transformed model for how energy is acquired and utilized in commercial and industrial buildings.  These systems have been used to validate the Joule.System platform on both the customer side and the utility side of the meter.

Glenwood Management, an owner of high-end luxury apartments across New York City, has been working with Demand Energy for four years, exploring the value of intelligent energy storage.  In August 2012 they installed one of the earliest and largest behind-the-meter (BRM) energy storage systems in the country at the 58-story BarclayTower in Tribeca.  The Joule.System manages the operation of 2 megawatt-hours of storage by downloading day-ahead pricing information from the NYISO and uses the data to make decisions about the next day’s operations.  The system is capable of a variety of load reduction strategies including ones that are eligible for incentives provided by Con Edison, NYSERDA and NYISO.

During the week of July 15, 2013, when the city was experiencing a heat wave and NYISO and Con Ed were calling for significant load reductions, Demand Energy’s system in the Barclay Tower went into demand response mode, delivering a 100 kW reduction of the building’s 500 kW peak load and maintaining this level of reduction for a period of four hours as required in order to participate in the NYISO load reduction program. The system was able to use energy that was purchased off-peak at 6 to 8 cents per kWh overnight to reduce building load when prices had increased to 28 to 31 cents per kWh in the heat of the day. The building owner saved money, was able to keep 100 kW of load operational since it was supplemented by the stored energy, and the utility experienced lower demand at a critical time.   Based on the continued success of the BarclayTower installation, Demand Energy will install an additional 10 battery systems capable of storing 1 megawatt of power for use in other luxury apartments in New York City managed by Glenwood.  These $500,000 systems will be installed in nine buildings.

As the business model for utilities evolves – particularly in New York State under the REV initiative – distributed energy resources such as PV+battery installations – will become increasingly commonplace and increasingly compelling from an economic perspective.   In the absence of redefined business models, grid defection could become prevalent.  With the future as envisioned under REV, there will be integrated grid in which pricing structures, business models, and regulatory environments appropriately value distributed energy resources such as solar PV and batteries.But for such distributed energy storage to deliver fully on its potential, it must be intelligent.

Doug Staker, co-founder and VP Global Sales for Demand Energy notes "Demand Energy has been part of the NY-BEST focused effort to bring transformation to the current grid operating model and provide the flexibility that storage brings to grid operations. The successful adoption of energy storage into the New York grid helps transform a ‘just-in-time’ operating model into an intelligent managed supply system that supports sustainability and reliability going forward. We are proud to be part of this pioneering effort.”

Demand Energy was founded in 2008 and is led by a team of seasoned entrepreneurs from the telecom, utility and renewable energy industries. Demand Management’s Joule.System is leading the way showing how DERs can be managed for the benefits of both customers and utilities.