Verizon Wireless is providing the wireless infrastructure two trials in Texas conducted by load management tech firm, Consert Inc, and two utilities, Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative and Pedernales Electric Cooperative.
The two electricity cooperatives, in partnership with the Lower Colorado River Authority, is testing a system where data from Consert’s platform of Home Area Network and energy management software is sent back to the utilities so they can better manage peak loads.
Consert’s platform establishes a smart HAN on a consumer’s property by attaching intelligent load measurement and control hardware to major energy consuming devices, such as heating and air conditioning systems, water heaters, and pool pumps, and utilizing programmable thermostats that communicate with a gateway module residing inside the electric meter.
Through Consert’s proprietary software, pilot participants set daily energy use profiles, monitor their energy consumption, and authorize their electric cooperative to cycle their devices off for brief periods during peak energy consumption events. The data is then sent over Verizon’s network back to Consert’s data centre and provided to utilities.
“The utilities sector is a leader in implementing advanced wireless technologies by leveraging smart energy grid tools such as the Consert VPP Solution and the Verizon Wireless network,” said Anna Bailey, director, sales, utilities and industrial, Verizon Wireless. “The real-time communications advantage that Verizon Wireless provides is a significant point of differentiation between Consert and its competitors’ capabilities.”
Consert’s load management system proved effective in tests during the severe winter weather Texas faced in February which resulted in record demands on the electric grid. Bluebonnet utilized the Consert VPP Solution to adjust pilot participants’ device settings within the limits set by their personal energy profiles to run control events to reduce load.
During these control event tests which spanned eight hours, Bluebonnet was able to reduce load demand by approximately five kilowatts per pilot participant, with little or no noticeable impact to comfort levels. In addition, early results show that the Consert VPP Solution has measured and verified a reduction in energy consumption of up to 17 percent in some participating households.