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National Grid’s Pioneering Residential BYO-Battery Demand Response Program

Sam Bleiberg

December 9, 2019

National Grid’s ConnectedSolutions DER program has received the Energy Storage North America (ESNA) Innovation Award in the behind-the-meter category. National Grid partnered with EnergyHub to execute the Bring Your Own Battery program along with Pika Energy, Solar Edge, Sonnen, Sunrun, and Tesla. ConnectedSolutions is the nation’s first performance-based residential Bring Your Own Battery program.

Through the program, National Grid allows battery owners across Massachusetts and Rhode Island to enroll their devices to be managed by the utility in exchange for a financial incentive. National Grid can then manage customer-owned batteries to provide grid services – embracing customer choice while creating flexibility for the grid.

This program was launched on the heels of order 17-146-A issued by The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, that allows behind-the-meter solar plus storage deployments to export excess electricity to the grid. With the goal of enrolling at least 800 residential customers by 2022, the program is on track to provide a substantial resource for grid flexibility. The initiative has been recognized by ESNA for its contribution to managing both summer and winter peaks and the potential for decarbonization.

A customer-centric approach to DER management

EnergyHub provides National Grid a turn-key, customer-centric Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program while putting the customer first.

Through ConnectedSolutions, customers can receive a compelling incentive while benefiting from the choice of their preferred device. App-based notifications and easy enrollment similarly contribute to the customer experience with a frictionless customer journey.

Batteries provide unique benefits as grid edge resources for utilities. They are highly flexible; a battery can shed significant load during frequent demand response event, and events do not impact the customers’ comfort like traditional thermostat-based programs. This allows National Grid to manage customer batteries often for both summer and winter peaks.  

“Batteries really provide a unique benefit in a demand response program. Typically in a thermostat program, we’re calling on those customers roughly 15 times a year. With a battery solution, we may call on that battery 50-60 times a year. There’s less interruption on the customer side.”

-Dave Moreira, Director of Customer Solutions, New England

Evolution to a multi-DER portfolio

National Grid’s DER management program has evolved over time, from a small thermostat pilot to its current state as a robust DER portfolio with multiple device types. The scope of the program is expected to expand to support more batteries.

EnergyHub’s Mercury DERMS provides National Grid with an end-to-end suite of solutions to manage all aspects of their residential ConnectedSolutions program through a single interface, including device enrollment, device monitoring, data management, and demand response dispatch for all connected thermostats and battery energy storage systems enrolled in the program.

Previously, National Grid contracted and integrated with individual thermostat manufacturers. By switching to EnergyHub’s Mercury DERMS, the utility streamlined the process to one contract and one technical integration. The scalability of EnergyHub’s platform offers National Grid the opportunity to expand their programs to encompass new device types in the future including electric vehicles, pool pumps and other smart devices.

ConnectedSolutions is the first behind-the-meter battery program that truly demonstrates the value of a scalable, customer-centric approach to grid and flexibility management.

“The ConnectedSolutions program through EnergyHub really is foundational. It gives us that platform we needed to evolve to the next set of solutions. We’ve been a leader in energy efficiency for nine years now. This is the next best thing.”

-Dave Moreira, Director of Customer Solutions, New England

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