The Hawaiian Electric Companies (HECO) is looking for information on private companies that can join in promoting demand response, programs for businesses and individuals to collaborate with utilities to manage their electricity demand.
HECO is inviting interested companies to respond to a request for information (RFI) to provide data on their level of interest, expertise and experience in executing a variety of demand response programs. The RFI is a key step in expanding and enhancing the companies' existing demand response programs.
Customer-sited solar and other renewables are a growing part of generation capacity on each island, HECO says. Managing demand in response to utility requests is important for continued penetration of renewable energy on the islands' electric grids, which has been a serious issue for HECO and Hawaii's solar sector.
‘With demand response, customers get financial rewards that lower their monthly bills,’ says Shelee Kimura, HECO's vice president for corporate planning and business development. ‘We reduce use of more expensive, oil-fired generators to meet electricity needs and have greater ability to support renewable energy. Demand response programs are beneficial for our customers and the environment.’
In July, HECO sent the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission its Integrated Demand Response Portfolio Plan proposing ‘a portfolio of demand response programs that appeals to a wide variety of residential and commercial customers, reduces the cost of electricity, and enables a higher level of renewable energy without compromising service reliability.’
The plan envisions diverse programs that benefit all customers, including those who do not directly participate in demand response. These benefits include reduced overall energy costs and reduced waste of less expensive renewable energy output.
HECO says it has sent its RFI to companies that have expressed an interest in its demand response plan, but is open to all qualified parties. The deadline to respond is Dec. 15, 2014.
The additional information, including the text of the RFI, is available here.