Sacramento utility SMUD contracts Swell Energy to manage Solar-Storage aggregation
Electric utility Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) has signed energy firm Swell Energy as the aggregator for its new virtual power plant initiative called My Energy Optimizer Partner+.
The program is aimed at aggregating residential solar and battery storage systems in a centralized manner to cut carbon emissions and make the electric grid more reliable, renewable and resilient.
As aggregator, Swell will initially deliver 10 MW and 20 MWh of renewable capacity to the utility. The capacity could be scaled to 27 MW and 54 MWh over time.
The program will allow SMUD’s customers to operate their own systems to aggregate and dispatch renewable energy sources to benefit their communities. Those participating in the program will be eligible to get both upfront and ongoing compensation, depending on the capacity of their solar and energy storage systems.
“We’re honored to work with SMUD towards the achievement of their 2030 Zero Carbon Plan through the deployment of a multifaceted virtual power plant across SMUD service area and the overall CAISO grid,” said Suleman Khan, CEO of Swell Energy. “Our collaborative virtual power plant will provide real-time energy management and synchronized battery dispatch across SMUD’s customer base, enabling large-scale renewable deployment and minimizing the need for conventional power plants in the region.”
Enrollments for the program will launch in the first quarter of 2023, with operations expected to start in April 2023. Contractual capability under the program is based on a two-hour delivery capacity, with day-ahead notification for up to 240 events annually.
Currently, there are about 600 customer-sited energy storage systems in SMUD’s service area, with a further 400 in the interconnection process and thousands expected over the next several years.
“As more SMUD customers add solar panel systems paired with battery storage solutions, they’ll be better able to manage their own energy needs while making meaningful contributions toward reducing their community’s carbon footprint,” said Lora Anguay, Chief Zero Carbon Officer of SMUD.
The utility has committed to funding batteries for low-income consumers in the service area through local non-profit organizations such as Grid Alternatives.