Smart Energy Voices - Episode 11

Smart Energy Voices- Episode 11

The Future of the Grid is Distributed with Doug Sansom

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Why is the future of the grid distributed? Customers want control over the cost of energy. They also want reliability and choice. Additionally, access to cost-efficient energy is a business necessity. These reasons combined with new lower-cost technology are the driving force behind capital spending for Distributed Energy Resources ( DERs). According to a Wood Mackenzie report, DER capacity will reach 387 gigawatts by 2025, propelled by $110 billion in investments such as battery storage, electric vehicle infrastructure, and grid-interactive appliance sales. It's shaping up to be a pretty big trend in the future, says Doug Sansom, Director of DER Sales for NRG.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • Why the future of the grid is distributed [2:52]
  • What is driving the need for DERs? [4:00]
  • A day in the life of a customer dispatching DERs [6:38]
  • 5 questions customers seeking answers should ask [8:55]
  • A la carte purchasing of energy and services vs hiring a management company [12:02]
  • What NRG is doing to bring bundled integration solutions to the market [14:09]
  • What type of customer would a bundled approach work for? [15:53]
  • What we’ll be talking about 5 years from now [19:42]

5 questions to ask when you’re looking for a supply partner

Doug explains that there are five questions a customer who is seeking answers about partnering with a sophisticated load manager should ask themselves: 

  1. How large is the cost of energy relative to the rest of the business’s cost structure?
  2. Is the business flexible enough to reduce energy during peak demand periods?
  3. What's the cost of the business if a power outage happens during operations? 
  4. Does the business have resources dedicated to responding to the energy market in managing sustainable resources of supply? 
  5. What's the real cost of managing multiple energy providers versus working with a single sophisticated provider?

Listen to this episode for more in-depth coverage of these questions and how they may pertain to you and your business.

What is driving the need for Distributed Energy Resources?

It’s a combination of different needs. To arrange for the growth and expansion of new technologies, the grid is going to have to become more distributed. What customer needs and pain points are creating the demand for this distributed grid and increase in DER deployment?

We know from experience that customers are focused on their operational needs more so than just energy itself. They see energy as a means to an end and they want DERs to help them overcome several challenges such as managing the cost of energy in the face of dynamic rate determinants, time of use, demand charges, coincident peak demand charges, et cetera. Customers also want DERs to help them achieve sustainability goals while assuring that their power will always be there when they need it. All of this translates to the freedom to access energy on their terms at a cost-efficient rate when they need it.

Looking into the future… what will we be talking about in 5 years?

Looking at how far the market has come in the last 36 months shows a dramatic transformation. This is what Doug’s had to say about what’s to come from his perspective and experience related to this concept.

“Energy is on a product life cycle and I personally believe that technology will continue to drive the product life cycle of energy. The race to develop more responsive energy solutions will be fueled by data, decentralization of the grid and de-carbonization. Those three have really been driving this macro trend in our energy industry now for some time. But I think we'll see a lot more evidence of that as it continues to expand through the market. Success in the future looks like delivering energy from a resource the customer wants when they want It with the assurance that the energy will be there anytime they want it.”

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Doug Sansom

Hugh Douglas Sansom, Director, DER Sales for NRG

‘Doug’ currently serves as Director, DER Sales for NRG. Doug customizes Demand Response solutions for North American Utilities, Commercial & Industrial customers. For the past 17 years Doug has served in executive positions with smart grid and demand response companies like Comcast, BPL Global, Compath Technologies and Comverge. He has managed residential demand response projects in the US and abroad for utilities like Visayan Electric Company, Pepco Holdings, and Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative. He has also deployed smart grid projects in Cebu City, Bangkok, Curitiba, Kuwait City and Le Mans.
Doug has designed and operated all phases of a Demand Response project. His specialty is successfully deploying programs while managing a positive customer service experience.
Doug graduated from the United States Military Academy with a concentration in math and civil engineering and from the Wharton School with a M.B.A.

Connect With Smart Energy Decisions

If you're interested in participating in the next edition of the SED Renewable Energy Sourcing Forum taking place on December 7-11, visit our website or email our Event Operations Director, Lisa Carroll at [email protected]

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