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Energy news: June 28th, 2019

In this week’s News Roundup, we’re taking a slight detour from our usual theme of solar energy. Instead, we decided to focus on two recent stories in the energy industry that have wide-ranging implications for not just solar, but the way we use energy as a whole.

Rocky Mountain Power saves 41 GWh of energy after a year of AI-driven home energy reporting

Rocky Mountain Power’s new energy program, which uses AI-driven reporting tools for home energy usage, has resulted in 41 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of energy savings in less than a year. Bidgely, a software provider for utilities, uses AI to deliver customized and actionable home energy use reports, which helps encourage specific actions at each household to save energy.

“We were searching for the next wave of customer engagement and a way to drive customers toward a digital, two-way dialogue with us,” said Clay Monroe, Director of Customer Relations for Rocky Mountain Power. Personalized reporting technologies like the tool Rocky Mountain Power introduced can help increase customer satisfaction and engagement, and have potential further applications around grid planning, rates, and unique utility programs.

In addition to home energy savings, Rocky Mountain Power saw a nearly 25 percent reduction in their own program costs after moving customer reporting to web dashboards.

Peaker plant in Oakland will be replaced with battery storage

This week, Libby Schaff, the mayor of Oakland, signed a contract to replace a jet fuel-burning peaker plant in the city with a 20-megawatt (MW) lithium-ion battery system. Vistra Energy, an independent power producer based in Texas, will build the system, with 2022 being the expected year for going online.

The system was contracted by East Bay Community Energy (EBCE), a community choice aggregator (CCA) that aims to buy clean while keeping prices low and supporting job creation. CCAs like EBCE are increasingly turning to battery storage solutions to provide reliable power to customers. CCAs will often sign deals to build renewable energy facilities such as solar farms alongside battery storage systems that can store solar energy and dispatch it at times of high demand.


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