Smart Energy Voices- Episode 52

Smart Energy Voices- Episode 52

DER's Role in Your Total Energy Management Strategy, with Doug Sansom

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In this episode of Smart Energy Voices, host John Failla talks with Doug Sansom, Managing Director – Distributed Energy Resources at NRG Energy, at Smart Energy Decisions’ recent Distributed Energy Forum. They discuss the tools that customers need in order to take control of their total energy management strategy. Listen in for insightful energy management strategies.

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

  • 2021 Distributed Energy Resources Survey [03:40]
  • Optimizing energy management [05:49]
  • Tools that provide more control [08:19]
  • Proven strategies for energy optimization [12:01]
  • What does overall success look like? [16:29]
  • Sustainability is about good substitution [21:40]

Simplifying energy management

Energy management is not just about providing energy for the facility - operators must also consider sustainability objectives. Reliability and economic objectives play a part as well through participation in local programs and monetizing some behind-the-meter assets. These strategies need to be cohesive, otherwise facilities’ efforts will be split and confusing.

A company often has as many as five or more vendors involved in energy management. Each vendor may have local advantages in that they have a local team to see things through for the facility in question. However, these vendors may also have different objectives. A local generator/distributor, for example, would have a very different objective than the power provider/supplier for the facility. The total energy management concept is all about bringing everything together under one vendor to coordinate common objectives and alignment to achieve the company’s goals.

Combining supply and curtailment planning

Facilities and companies need to consider combining the supply side and the curtailment side of their business. In this way, they can begin to understand how to dispatch in such a way that makes the most sense to the business operation and, at the same time, impacts the cost of supply at that location.

It’s possible to lose money by going with the lowest cost vendors at every stage because the objectives are conflicting. Simplification is an essential part of energy management. Understanding factors such as the impacts of operation on energy cost, where it makes sense, the cost-benefit of operating versus not operating, and when to operate is vital to successfully optimizing a company’s energy structure through a total energy management plan. Yes, this will require a lot of work upfront, but over the long term, it has proven to be the most effective approach.

Approaching optimization

Optimization is a journey that can’t be executed in a day. There are a lot of factors to understand, and it’s unlikely that that’s going to happen in one short session of analysis. This prospect can seem overwhelming to most companies, but they don’t have to try to do it alone. They can bring in outside groups to help them understand and build a total energy structure and plan. In this way, companies will know what’s necessary for the journey, when they’re going to get there, and their overall cost savings. They can measure and verify as they move through the process. Flexibility is critical as energy prices, peak hours, and availability change. Being flexible and adaptable is how a company can manage those changes to achieve its overall plan successfully.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Doug Sansom

Doug Sansom currently serves as Managing Director of Distributed Energy Resources for NRG. He customizes Demand Response and Distributed Energy Resource solutions for North American utilities. 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 and large commercial & industrial 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.

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