Quick Energy Efficiency News…Making Money on Home Demand Response…Fuel Cell Deals…Opower’s Latest Update

Aug. 4, 2015
Quick Energy Efficiency News…PJM opens new market to home demand response…Fuel cell companies strike deals…Opower releases program update

A tariff change at the PJM Interconnection will create a new way for residential demand response to earn revenue in the wholesale market, effective this week.

The change means that residential demand response resources can now participate in PJM’s synchronized reserve market.

Demand response company Comverge helped win the change by providing data to PJM that demonstrated how the resources could meet the 10-minute response time requirement. The company proved the point using a sample of residential customers enrolled in its direct load control demand response program.

Comverge found that it was possible to achieve accurate accounting of the resources that were delivered.

Now all demand response resources, including homes, can make offers into the PJM Synchronized Reserve Market the day before the resource is available. PJM compensates the resource if the offer is accepted. The resources respond within 10 minutes to help quickly repair imbalances in supply and demand when called upon by the grid operator.


The German affiliate of Connecticut-based FuelCell Energy has reached an agreement with E.ON Connecting Energies to offer decentralized combined heat and power solutions to its customers through a power purchase agreement financing or leasing structure.

The agreement will begin with the sale of a 1.4 MW plant in Europe at the German headquarters and production facility of FRIATEC AG in Mannheim.  FRIATEC will host the plant; E.ON will own it and FuelCell Energy Solutions will install, operate and maintain it under a long-term service agreement.

The 1.4 MW installation at FRIATEC will meet about 60 percent of the power needs of the manufacturing operations.  The high quality heat from the power plant will be supplied to the existing on-site heating grid to be used at multiple production areas within the facility.


Another North American fuel cell company, Plug Power has entered into a definitive agreement with Axane, a subsidiary of Air Liquide, to acquire the remaining 80 percent that it doesn’t own of HyPulsion, its European joint venture.

The $11.47 million deal is expected to close this month.

Plug Power and Air Liquide founded HyPulsion in 2012 to jump-start the hydrogen and fuel cell market in Europe. Plug Power was supposed to ultimately assume control of HyPulsion, though this was accelerated because of Plug Power’s success in the North American market, according to a company news release.

Air Liquide will support HyPulsion as a hydrogen supplier to Plug Power’s material handling customers. Additionally, Air Liquide will retain its seat on Plug Power’s board of directors, a position it has held since 2012.


Opower, the king company of behavioral energy efficiency, keeps refining its wares. The company recently released what it describes as a major upgrade to its digital program.

Called NextWeb, the platform is designed to engage utility customers with targeted web and mobile experiences.

The platform helps utilities target customers with personalized and relevant content – such as bill analysis, energy use patterns and home energy audits – anywhere on their website in a highly customized fashion, according to Opower.

Specifically, NextWeb helps utilities increase the number of customer digital interactions, improve rates of self-service, and reduce the overall cost to serve each customer. NextWeb can also help utilities boost revenue through the adoption of new products and services and increased customer participation in programs like points and rewards.

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About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded RealEnergyWriters.com, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

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