Columbia University | United States
Camilo Muñoz | Srujan Routhu
BTM Solutions stands for Behind The Meter Solutions. We are a business that aspires to unlock automated demand response by using real time electricity price signals and interacting with the Internet of Things. While demand response is a multi-billion dollar business by itself, our solution will also pave the road for new AI, chatbot and IoT applications. We believe that automated demand response is at the crossroads of the power sector and these major digital markets. Guided by adequate electricity price signals, our behind the meter approach intends to start unveiling this mostly unexplored and potentially structurally disruptive market. As clean energy policy successfully starts reshaping the supply side of electric grids around the world, an increasing amount of intermittent renewable energy sources are being deployed. However, because of their non-dispatchable nature, questions have been arising regarding their impact on grid structure and operation. Additionally, phenomena such as the “duck curve” in California have led some system operators to question the amount of renewable sources that a grid can support. As a consequence, the search for solutions to these problems has even become one of the focus areas of the International Energy Agency (VRE division - https://www.iea.org/topics/renewables/systemintegration/). However, while most solutions are aimed at making power supply more flexible, an increasing number of reports are pointing towards the importance of developing innovative demand side solutions. In this grid transitioning context, we present an innovative demand side solution that can be divided in twofold. On one side, our solutions’ purpose is to collect real time wholesale electricity prices from a large basket of electric markets that are scattered around the globe. On the other side, it will use this unified and easy to access database to communicate with electrical and electronic devices through the IoT’s. Once communication is established, our service will use AI to hedge against high peak hour electricity prices whenever possible. This happens by suggesting to any equipment that holds some kind of storage capacity to either anticipate or postpone energy consumption for a while when prices are high. In addition, chatbots will be used to collect additional information from users of mobile devices. As mobile devices can be unplugged at any moment, chatbots will interact with users in search of information about battery needs for the near future. For example, a chatbot may ask a plug-in car owner who has just parked and plugged his vehicle if he intends to leave soon or if he/she plans on staying parked for the night. This is a practical example of how AI and chatbots can be used in automated demand response applications that can significantly contribute to reduce daily peak loads. By doing so, BTM Solutions expects to generate system benefits for utilities and grid operators. We also expect to reduce electricity bills for end customer and potentially create new business opportunities for our partners. As a business that is being started by two policymakers with strong engineering backgrounds, BTM Solutions, hopes to create new technological applications that lead to groundbreaking energy sector innovations.