Autogrid: Building Scalable, Economical And Profitable Demand Response Systems In The Energy Sector

We are dealing with an unprecedented amount of data today. A single smart meter accounts for a few kilobytes of data for a single message sent, but smart meters send a continual stream of information and one can imagine the growing data deluge with 50 million smart meter installations that have already been implemented. So far this information has been difficult to capture and has not been utilized properly, resulting in improper optimization of energy production and operations making the whole process all the more expensive.

Redwood City based AutoGrid, founded in 2011 with its innovative technology has developed a software platform that uses predictive analysis to curb this massive amount of structured and unstructured energy grid data and help analyze data in real time. AutoGrid with the help of its analytical tools then analyzes this data generated by smart meters, voltage regulators and other equipment with a prospective usage pattern to help consumers and suppliers monitor their power consumptions in real time in a secure and quick manner.

The unsteady growth of renewable sources, the approval time taken for new plants to come up and the exhaustion and decommissioning of old plants have all been adding to the curtailments in terms of capacity and there is a greater need to manage things in a more efficient way. All of these have contributed for an agile and responsive system to quickly make way and fill this daunting need to manage energy systems in an efficient and economical manner. Demand Response systems (DRS) have come a long way to aid utilities in managing all of their aspects through a single, integrated system. The DRS acts as a single system which cuts down on building new power plants, new capacity reserves and many
systems in parallel to these. DRS also increasingly favor those firms whose utilities look to extract additional value from smart meter investments. But implementing a Demand Response program was an uphill task for most of the companies, as it would require a massive amount of capital to be invested and typically only large power consumers of 100 KW and above would participate.

DROMS-The Best of the Demand Response Programs
AutoGrid's energy data platform boasts of having the most advanced demand
management system presently in the world.The firm's main selling app is the Demand Response Optimization and Management System (DROMS) which provides a low cost, low risk solution that expands both the user base for Demand Response and the frequency of DR implementations. DROMS' agile and robust nature ups the implementation process to have it executed in weeks, as opposed to other traditional solutions which usually take years. The fact that this comes a pure cloud based solution which nurses for both public and private access without any user discretion as a single-function network, makes it all the more valuable for extensive deployments.

Additionally, DROMS events can be scheduled and implemented within minutes and employed to control power through a wide variety of appliances in facilities ranging in size from industrial plants to single-family home too. According to the CEO of AutoGrid, Dr. Amit Narayan, DROMS has been the first app which has been getting a lot of market traction and with the help of some of its strategic partners like Silver Spring Networks, Schneider Electric and NTT Data the firm has had help in establishing a stable market quickly. "With DROMS predictive algorithms, utilities can maintain reliability and increase customer satisfaction at the same time", adds Dr. Narayan.

DROMS enables several different flavors of Demand Response and provides a unified platform through which utilities can manage all of their programs. Program types include: Behavioral DR, where customers are notified of a peak event and asked to voluntarily participate; Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT), in which utilities can upgrade legacy

technology while simultaneously allowing customers to purchase and self-install subsidized devices to add to the program; and TurnKey DR, a pre-integrated solution for DR from start to finish.

Differentiating Factors- An Ecosystem Model and Predictive Analytics
The two major areas in which AutoGrid differentiates itself from others are through its model of ecosystem and predictive analysis. The firm has a completely open and expansible eco system unlike other players who have proprietary protocols or who are trying to lock utilities into a specific desk. AutoGrid sports an open protocol, open standard system also enabling utility to user legacy technology in order to have better communication over existing proprietary protocols and also to add new technologies as they emerge. For instance, a utility running on legacy technology like an old thermostat wants to add in an electric vehicle charging program, AutoGrid's expandable and open platform allows the utility to incorporate new technologies like adding TV chargers, grid scale battery and many more.

Most analytics companies cater historical data, process it and tell you what you did in the past, but with AutoGrid's predictive analytics, one can actually forecast the future. Implementing real time actions based on information flowing from various sources, be it customer behavior, device performances, voltage radiations,one can intake realtime information.

The Internet of Energy
AutoGrid has a partnership with Silver Spring Networks who are currently reselling the firm's software as Demand Optimizer within their UtilityIQ suite. And with Oklahoma Gas & Electric, one of AutoGrid's customers already signing up 60,000 residential customers as a part of the residential demand response program in the big data platform, this has set a bench mark in the industry and is one of the programs of its kind. The firm's end goal is to build The Internet of Energy, which in itself comes as a revolutionary phenomenon which according to the CEO, will impact the power sources and would going forward make energy cleaner, cheaper, more available, more reliable and contributing for a massive impact over the next 100 years.