PNM taps Comverge to manage 60 MW smart thermostat demand response program

Dive Brief:

  • PNM has selected Comverge to manage a 60 MW demand response program focused on commercial and residential customers. Pending regulatory approval, the program could be running next year.
  • The program will offer both direct install Wi-Fi thermostats and a bring-your-own-thermostat approach, with Comverge's demand response platform allowing PNM to communicate with and control the devices.
  • PNM last month announced it was considering retiring the last two units at the San Juan Generating Station in northwestern New Mexico, saying the move would allow the utility the chance to increase renewable energy production "and add operational flexibility to its system."

Dive Insight:

As PNM looks to fully mothball the San Juan coal plant (two units are already scheduled for retirement this year), the utility is also considering ways to make its system more flexible. The demand response contract with Comverge would allow it to manage some peak demand and could lead to a cleaner generation mix.

The agreement between PNM and Comverge, scheduled to begin in 2018, is a pay-for-performance contract under which Comverge only profits if "specific results" are achieved, the company said in a statement.

Comverge's IntelliSOURCE-Customer app will give customers tools to manage their energy use and save on energy bills through remote thermostat management and advice on how to reduce consumption

Three weeks ago, PNM said a "preliminary analysis" revealed that retiring the remaining two units at the San Juan Generating Station in 2022 "could provide long-term benefits to customers." The utility is currently working to create an Integrated Resource Plan, due to regulators this summer.

This year's IRP will be slightly different from previous versions, which examine a 20-year planning timeline. As part of a settlement, PNM is examining two resource scenarios — one where it continues to operate units 1 and 4 until at least 2022, and one where the units retire that year.

"I want to stress that this is only a preliminary finding regarding our San Juan Generating Station, " PNM Resources President and CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn said in a statement. "No decisions have been made. We have a lot of work to do and will be having discussions with the other owners and considering public input before the IRP is finalized and ready to submit."

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Filed Under: Efficiency & Demand Response Corporate News
Top image credit: Nest