Utilities of any size, including smaller munis and coops, can have enormous impact on climate change through the implementation of concepts including grid-interactive efficient buildings—GEBs, for short.
The exciting ideas surrounding GEBs come from our friends at the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships—NEEP, for short.
According to NEEP, a GEB is “a building with a holistic and well-optimized blend of energy efficiency, energy storage, renewable energy, and load flexibility technologies enabled through smart controls.” The framing may be new, but the supporting structures have been used by utilities for years.
These three key findings come from NEEP’s preliminary analysis of its proprietary GEB research:
Utilities often are siloed. For buildings to optimize energy use, they need to link distributed energy generation and energy efficiency programs. In addition, participants—utilities, regulators, legislators, service providers, and customers—all must have a clear understanding of their singular and shared pathways.
Technologies can solve specific problems, but to transform systems they must be integrated. NEEP points to the need for off-the-shelf technologies (e.g., Virtual Peaker’s many cloud-based applications) that can communicate and leverage real-time data
With new data-driven technologies, data vulnerability can be an issue. At Virtual Peaker, we agree that robust infrastructure must be in place both in front of and behind the meter.
NEEP expects to publish its final report later this year, hopefully providing a roadmap for how utilities in the Northeast can realize their electrification and decarbonization goals in part by scaling up GEB-related technologies. Stay tuned.