With 5,000-plus installations, eMotorWerks (eMW) is successfully selling its electric vehicle charging stations to both consumers and utilities. This week, California announced the winners of its Demand Response Auction Mechanism (DRAM) bidding process. eMW was the only EV-related winner, amongst nine smart grid players that want to revolutionize the home energy market.
Electricity touches the lives of every inhabitant of a developed economy, and within the next few decades, it will become an integral part of the lives of every human on this planet. Smart grids are a means of more efficiently using this technological lifeblood, and efficiency gains are to be applauded – for both the benefit to the shareholders, as well as for its environmental credentials.
So systems like eMotorWerks’ JuiceBox WiFi-connected charging stations are very exciting opportunities for smart grid advocates – and the IoT technology that powers these systems. With eMW announcing a plan to add some 1,000 new charging stations in California for San Diego Gas & Electric and Pacific Gas & Electirc, which will take part in the state’s real-time energy market – which pays the providers of demand-response capacity for the energy requirements they can offset.
Other winners in the DRAM auction were EnerNOC, Johnson Controls’ EnergyConnect, and IPKeys’ Power Partners, which leaned more to the industrial side of things. Green Charge Networks and Stem won out in behind the meter (essentially on-premises) aggregation installations, and in the residential sector, eMW was joined by Alarm.com’s EnergyHub platform, and two app-based startups called Ohmconnect and Chai Energy.
As PEV penetration increases, (projected to hit 10 million by 2025) utilities will have to respond to the growing demand for electricity as commuters return home and plug-in to recharge for the next day. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is to have control over the charging cycle itself – an approach that is called demand-response.
In exchange for a cheaper tariff, a smart meter equipped customer can agree to allow the utility to control the energy usage of their home. The most commonly cited examples are scheduling PEV recharging, and turning down the HVAC controls – using data collected from the home to ensure that such actions don’t inconvenience the customer.
Doing so allows a utility to manage its baseline grid load, and potentially avoid spooling up fossil fuel power plants to meet the spikes in demand. Fossil fuels like coal and gas are well suited to meeting the anticipated peaks in demand, as well as unexpected spikes, but if utilities are able to avoid building new fossil fuel capacity to meet the growing energy demands of nations, there’s a lot of capex to be saved in the next two decades.
Future models will see residential solar panels and storage provide distributed generation assets that the utilities can use to offset the spike by feeding spare electricity into the grid or simply relying solely on the batteries during times of high grid-load, but in the meantime, demand-response techniques like those provided by eMW are a stepping stone.
Back in October, eMW secured a deal with ClipperCreek, to power its charging stations with the eMW JuiceNet cloud platform, which allows ClipperCreek to sell connected charging stations to its customers, instead of regular stations. Using JuiceNet in the HCS-40 and HCS-40P units, ClipperCreek is able to provide telemetry and control to utilities or businesses looking to install the vehicle chargers.
At the time, eMW founder Valery Miftakhov said “we are very excited to integrate our groundbreaking platform into the product line of Clipper Creek, one of the most recognized and established brands in our industry. Bringing advanced smart grid capabilities to their flagship product line further validates our vision for JuiceNet as a universal platform for managing large, shiftable loads. eMW will deliver a top-notch consumer experience, while helping utilities and grid operators save money and make our electric grids more reliable and resilient.”
A few months previous, eMW announced that it had incorporated OSIsoft’s PI system into JuiceNet, to combine the data generated from sensors at the grid edge with the data pulled from utilities and Independent Service Operators (ISOs), in order to present a consolidated operational picture to the utility in a cloud dashboard.