The Clean Peak Standard & Renewable Energy

Hailed as the first Clean Peak Standard in the nation, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources just filed regulations expected to take effect in June that will create credits for clean, renewable energy delivered during peak hours. Turning to renewable energy is an integral step in meeting global Net-Zero 2050 initiatives, while also offering practical program design alternatives to help better engage customers eager for options. Let’s look at what the Clean Peak Standard is and what it means.

What is the Clean Peak Standard?

With price as the “carrot,” Massachusetts utilities will be rewarded for shifting clean power to the times of day when it’s most valuable to the ISO-NE grid. And because renewable energy sources lack on-demand production capabilities, utilities are likely to dramatically increase focus—now, and throughout the integrated resource planning (IRP) process—on ramping up energy storage technologies like residential batteries that store electricity for use during peak loads.

Why the Clean Peak Standard Matters

As Josh Castonguay, the VP of Innovation at Green Mountain Power (GMP), made clear at the Virtual Peaker Innovation Forum last fall, there’s been a lot of disruption in the utility space. But, at the same time, we haven’t changed the way we deliver energy for the last 100 years. Regulations like the Clean Peak Standard make it possible to evolve the way the grid functions.

Since its inception, Virtual Peaker has partnered with GMP on its Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program that leverages residential battery storage to save money, cut carbon, and improve reliability. The system works. During a heat spike last summer, GMP’s network of residential batteries (10 MW capacity) saved almost $900,000 in a single hour. And amid a scary and destructive Halloween 2019 storm that hit GMP’s Vermont service area, 1,100 homes stayed online thanks to the stored energy capacity.

Last summer we expanded our portfolio of advanced control programs and partnered with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) to create PowerMinder, a residential customer-centric response to—and optimization of—time-of-day efficiencies for water heaters at the smart-device level without giving up comfort.

The Clean Peak Standard & Renewable Energy Conclusion

Utilities need to implement new retail pricing strategies to decouple the cost of infrastructure from the cost of energy With the right distributed energy resource management system (DERMS), utilities can benefit from real-time smart device arbitrage and device control, ideal for their distributed energy resource (DER) initiatives or demand response programs. Remember that in the efforts to meet global decarbonization efforts, Massachusetts is just the first of many states to use legislative powers to promote renewable energy generation and storage that can save energy and the environment. With the dual pressures of tech disruption and climate change legislation, utilities that fail to adopt emerging tech solutions may be left behind, especially as more and more consumers turn to alternative means of power generation.

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About The Author
Shadea Mitchell blog author

Shadea Mitchell is the Director of Client Marketing for Virtual Peaker. She drives client outreach and engagement efforts to delight users of Virtual Peaker’s software and collaborates across teams to highlight strategic product innovations. As an early member of the company, she’s served in many different functions – from client training and program implementation to partner management and business development. She lives in Louisville, KY with her husband and two young children.

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