Software helps manage utility demand response programs

Minneapolis—Honeywell (NYSE: HON) has announced updates to the Akuacom Demand Response Automation Server (DRAS), smart grid software that helps utilities manage demand response programs, resources and events, and dynamic pricing structures. The new version of the software — which includes enhanced reporting and participant management, as well as load aggregation, demand limiting and test events — will provide improved insight and control so utilities can better manage demand and maintain grid stability, and program participants can optimize their energy savings.

“Demand response is the cheapest, cleanest and most effective way to balance supply and demand, but these benefits don’t come without the right tools and technology,” said Clay Collier, co-founder and chief executive officer of Akuacom, a Honeywell subsidiary. “The Akuacom DRAS software, combined with Honeywell building controls and expertise, has proven effective. These tools and services are currently helping facilitate some of the most complex demand response portfolios in the world, and these enhancements will bring additional value.”

Part of Honeywell’s portfolio of automated demand response (Auto DR) technologies, the Akuacom DRAS is based on OpenADR communication standards. As a result, it provides utilities and independent systems operators (ISOs) with an open, secure path to send price and reliability signals over the Internet, and communicate with building management systems during a demand response event. These signals automatically trigger custom load-shedding measures at each participating facility, such as cycling air conditioners on and off, and turning off banks of lights.

The Akuacom DRAS, which features browser-based interfaces for utility operators and each of the connecting facilities, can interact with virtually any building or control system, enabling reliable machine-to-machine communication and rapid load reduction.

Enhancements to the Akuacom DRAS software include:
•    Advanced Reporting Suite enables utilities to track and analyze the performance of demand response events, providing an event scorecard, among other reports, that details load reduction, participant opt out, system communication status per event or facility, and other metrics. This granular level of detail improves the precision of demand response programs, identifying patterns and issues so utilities can better collaborate with program participants and remedy technical issues. Participating facilities can also generate reports detailing event results to help refine shed strategies and quantify the benefits of program participation.
•    Load Aggregation allows utilities to more easily group demand response resources — sorting customers by industry, facility type, location, potential kilowatt (kW) reduction or other common attributes. For campus and multi-site customers, utilities can create family structures as well to match customer reporting structures, mapping out a “parent” site with corresponding “children” to mirror the headquarters-and-chain structure of retail stores, for example. Facilities can also leverage this feature to view the performance of a portfolio of buildings or drill down to see specific sites.
•    Intelligent Filtering improves the accuracy of a demand response event by giving utilities the ability to search and sort participants. For example, utilities can search by customer name or by average load shed to quickly meet desired kW reductions. This is especially critical as utilities shift from providing day-ahead notice to notifying customers only minutes before a demand response event.  
•    Automated Demand Limiting helps facility managers control energy expenditures by initiating shed strategies to avoid peak demand charges — even when their utility hasn’t called an event. Organizations can custom configure their demand charge threshold and establish a series of trigger points to automatically implement load reduction changes. Notifications also alert the facility team as demand hits prescribed levels, providing the opportunity to make manual adjustments if all automated strategies are enabled and demand continues to near the threshold.
•    Test Events simulate demand response events to ensure controls work properly, and systems are ready and fully operational when an actual event occurs. These test capabilities also allow facilities to experiment with various load-shedding strategies to view the impact on regular operations and evaluate potential energy savings.

For more information about Honeywell or other demand response software, click here to go to Utility Products' Buyers Guide.



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