AutoGrid and Willdan team up to roll out heat pumps

Collaboration between AutoGrid and Willdan will leverage AutoGrid's Virtual Power Plant platform to add significant levels of flexible grid capacity

AutoGrid and Willdan are teaming up to accelerate adoption of heat pump water heaters to decarbonise buildings by replacing emissions-intensive, gas-fired water heaters.

This collaboration will leverage AutoGrid's Virtual Power Plant (VPP) platform to add significant levels of flexible grid capacity, starting in the CAISO energy market.

The flexible capacity, when combined with other resources managed by AutoGrid's VPP platform, strengthens the grid and helps reduce the probability of blackouts during periods of peak energy demand.

"One of our core goals at AutoGrid is to find companies that align with our values, integrate naturally into our offerings, and help support advances in the industry," said Farshid Arman, Senior Director of Grid Services Partnerships. "This synergy will help consumers make smart choices and enroll their connected heat pump water heaters easily into DER programs."

Willdan provides comprehensive consulting, technical expertise, financing options, and energy-efficient upgrades for utilities, government agencies, and private industry. It is currently the program implementer for several energy efficiency programs on behalf of the largest utilities in California.

The tie up serves the needs of the California grid as the state is ramping up ever-more flexible energy resources to be better prepared for a potential capacity shortfall.

State utility Puget Sound Energy (PSE) recently awarded Willdan contracts for two programs, totaling $1.7mn, that expand Willdan’s services in the Washington area.

VPPs are at the forefront of the flexibility landscape, according to McKinsey.

"These are a response to energy-imbalance issues in European markets — e.g., Germany and the United Kingdom — with high renewables penetration. Independent market actors are able to submit aggregated energy schedules and balancing services from a set of aggregated resources under their control," it notes.

Energy Toolbase, a software provider of tools for project modeling, energy storage controls, and asset monitoring products for solar and storage projects is deploying its Acumen EMS controls software on a portfolio of standalone energy storage projects being developed and deployed by Ventura Energy, an owner and developer of renewable energy and energy storage projects.

The five-site portfolio of standalone energy storage projects, deployed at critical water facilities, will participate in the wholesale energy markets and provide critical support to California's grid through a program facilitated by Leap, a leading provider of energy market access for distributed energy resources. 

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