Concept: American virtual power plant (VPP) provider AutoGrid Systems (AutoGrid) has partnered with Canadian thermostat manufacturing startup Mysa to scale and launch VPP projects. The pilot VPP project with American energy company Puget Sound Energy (PSE) aims to support a focused demand-side program to delay the construction of a new substation in the Pacific Northwest.
Nature of Disruption: AutoGrid VPP combines distributed generation, customer-owned flexible storage, and demand-side resources to monetize in various energy markets and turn them into revenue generators. It offers asset optimization and forecasting capabilities that enable utilities and aggregators to expand flexible capacity and maximize the value of flexible resources in profitable global markets. Its SaaS-based architecture helps energy providers combine and manage hundreds of assets as a single VPP and implement it easily. Mysa’s smart thermostats can be controlled by a mobile app and help customers lower their impact on the environment and monthly electricity expenses. AutoGrid leverages its AI-powered VPP platform in combination with Mysa’s smart thermostat technology for electric heating and cooling to provide a comprehensive and scalable dispatch solution for both of these technologies. It also includes other IoT solutions from various thermostats and water heater control platforms. With the help of an extensive Demand Response program, PSE can postpone expensive infrastructure expansions through transmission and distribution projects. This can save ratepayers a sizable sum of money while responsibly updating their infrastructure over the following years without incurring significant upfront costs.
Outlook: Customers and utility companies use smart thermostats for electric heating and cooling systems for home energy management capabilities. The partnership intends to offer complete smart control of high-voltage electric heating and cooling systems. This can help them to launch utility-scale virtual power plants using smart thermostat technology for grid modernization. The VPP platform and smart thermostat technology enable customers to access demand-response programs across the US and help utilities with flexibility in their grid systems. In October 2021, AutoGrid raised $85 million in Series D2 funding led by SE Ventures. It intends to utilize these funds to accelerate the deployment of VPPs and make them accessible to everyone in the transition to sustainable energy. Part of the funding will be utilized for general corporate objectives to promote the implementation of the technology roadmap, worldwide brand expansion, and buy back some existing shareholders’ equity, as mentioned.