550-MW digital energy plant may assist California’s 5-GWh shortfall throughout blackouts

550-MW virtual power plant could support California's 5-GWh shortfall during blackouts

Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners (SIP) today announced a $ 100 million transaction for its new advanced power grid platform, Resilia, which focuses on making electrical systems bi-directional, transactive and distributed. The transaction includes a $ 20 million investment in OhmConnect and a $ 80 million commitment to fund North America’s largest distributed clean power plant, Resi-Station.

The 550 MW Resi Station project is funded by SIP and developed in collaboration with OhmConnect. It will include hundreds of thousands of actively engaged customers with a fleet of intelligent in-home devices that enable targeted energy savings controlled by predictive and motivated technologies and coordinate energy consumption in residential areas. The financing of the project commitment is subject to the usual regulatory approvals. In full, the Resi station will likely be the largest virtual residential power plant in the world.

The need for future-proof power grids was revealed this year, starting with California: the state experienced severe heat waves and a series of power outages as public utilities worked to keep up with the surge in demand. With almost 21 cents per kWh, California residents pay below the highest household electricity prices in the country, compared to an average of 13 cents nationwide. At the highest load on the power grid between August 13 and 20, 2020, OhmConnect commissioned its customers to reduce total energy consumption by almost 1 GWh, which would take more than 600,000 households off the grid for one hour. OhmConnect switched its customers’ smart devices and appliances off and on again 739,000 times to save energy and free up the grid, pay out $ 1 million to users and avoid additional blackouts.

The commitment of SIP’s capital will greatly enhance OhmConnect’s ability to conserve energy by turning off the air conditioning or unplugging the power cord during peak stress, OhmConnect’s California residents’ ability to save energy, avoid power outages and reduce consumer costs. The Resi-Station could save 5 GWh of energy on the order of magnitude, five times as much as OhmConnect last August, which corresponds to the complete lack of energy in this year’s power outages.

Since energy consumption can be shaped by distributed resources such as solar energy on the roof, smart devices and batteries for electric vehicles, connected homes can use the Internet of Things to scale electricity consumption up or down and stabilize the power grid. This constellation of technology and tools enables improved energy efficiency and the construction of a power grid that meets the needs of the 21st century.

In addition to its $ 80 million commitment to Resi-Station, SIP led OhmConnect’s Series C capital increase and invested $ 20 million in OhmConnect. The investment in Series C and the commitment to Resi-Station are the first major transaction of the SIP Resilia platform. The Resilia platform will develop and scale technology and infrastructure innovations as global energy grids move from centralized energy to distributed, sustainable solutions. The funding will help advance OhmConnect’s interactive energy-efficient technology and improve the resilience of power grids by bringing more customers to the platform. This will improve the ability to allocate demand response resources for the grid and further advance the mission of achieving a clean energy future.

To grow Resi-Station and save California residents, SIP and OhmConnect are working with manufacturers of connected and secure home devices and plan to offer free smart thermostats to hundreds of thousands of subscribers in the OhmConnect software program that enables Resi-Station.

“SIP believes energy networks need to be modernized to orchestrate distributed energy resources,” said Jonathan Winer, Co-CEO of Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners. “With this decentralized clean power plant, Resi-Station, we are rethinking the structure of modern power grids and enabling them to function more like a symphony than a solo – a series of energy-consuming and energy-donating systems that communicate and work with each other, to deliver electricity safely, cheaply and efficiently. “

OhmConnect provides a technically advanced user experience on behalf of Resi-Station that encourages customers to reduce their power consumption through real-time communication prompts. For example, a customer can receive a text asking them to set their thermostat for a few hours in order to receive a premium payment that benefits the customer, the electricity grid itself and the environment. Through Resi-Station, SIP and OhmConnect plan to scale this approach to reach thousands of California households. Customers are rewarded for their energy savings.

“OhmConnect has shown that by combining the savings of many individual consumers, we can reduce network stress and prevent power outages,” said Cisco DeVries, CEO of OhmConnect. “With this investment from SIP, we can bring the benefits of energy savings to hundreds of thousands of additional Californians – while building the smart energy platform of the future.”

The introduction of Resi-Station is an example of SIP’s mission to identify, fund, and scale the technologies that will determine the future of infrastructure. SIP plans to launch similar projects using distributed energy resources in innovative ways across the country using Resi-Station as a template. The company recently launched Cavnue to build the roads of the future for connected autonomous vehicles.


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