Utility National Grid is to use demand response company EnerNOC’s technology and services platform to manage natural gas consumption at about 4,000 commercial, institutional and industrial customer sites in Brooklyn and Queens, N.Y.
EnerNOC will provide the utility with wireless hardware that automates fuel switching at the utility’s enrolled customer sites. When on-site sensors detect that outdoor temperatures have dropped below a predefined level, EnerNOC’s devices will automatically shift fuel consumption from natural gas to oil for the duration of the peak use period, optimizing the use of fuel sources based on weather and availability.
In contrast to electricity demand response events that are typically the preserve of summer heat waves, the National Grid contract is aimed at helping the company manage its gas supply portfolio and system capacity during peak demand periods in the winter heating season. The initiative should also help the company take advantage of record-low natural gas prices. The contract will run until March 2017.
Natural gas demand management is relatively new territory for EnerNOC, a company long known as a leader in the electricity demand response industry, according to Greentech Media. Earlier contracts with the State of Connecticut and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts also cover natural gas, but the National Grid contract is the first to offer natural gas management with this level of automation, the news service reports.
During last summer’s heatwave that swept North America, EnerNOC’s DemandSmart demand response network was dispatched at record levels. On July 22, 2011 DemandSmart provided around 1,230 MW of demand response resources across 12 U.S. states and Ontario, using more than a third of the sites in the EnerNOC demand response network, according to the company. On that day the mid-Atlantic grid operator PJM Interconnection recorded its highest ever demand at 158,450 MW of power.
In March this year, EnerNOC was named as one of 10 enterprise smart grid vendors with a bright future in a report by Groom Energy. The company, along with C3, CA Technologies, ecova, EnergyCAP, Lucid, Phoenix Energy Technologies, Schneider Electric, SCIenergy and Siemens, was deemed a firm to watch due to its innovation, customer proof points, market momentum, product development and increased emphasis on enterprise-wide and multiple-site implementations, the report said.