Colorado’s Fort Collins deploys energy savings programme with Itron

In the US state of Colorado, Fort Collins Utilities has partnered with Itron to deploy a demand response programme to ensure energy savings for residential consumers.

The project includes the deployment of grid-interactive water heaters to help consumers to reduce energy costs during times when the grid is stressed as well as maximise reductions in energy costs.

Electric resistive and heat-pump water heaters receive signals from Itron and the utility to connect and pre-heat water tanks during times when renewable energy generation is high on the grid for use during times when demand is high on the main network and generation low.

The need to include hot water heaters follows the appliance being identified as the second highest electricity-consuming devices used by residential customers. Air conditioners consume the most electricity in residential households. The ability to pre-heat water prior to peak electric-use periods can help customers to achieve an increase in energy savings during peak times by between 15% and 20% by shifting it to non-peak times.

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Within the programme, Itron is responsible for full implementation including providing services such as its distributed energy resources management software, project marketing, call centre services, data analytics support and field services. In previous projects aimed at improving consumer energy usage and grid reliability, Itron and Fort Collins connected load control switches, smart thermostats and in-home displays.

Through the programme, Fort Collins will be equipped to expand its current demand response capabilities of shedding water heating load, storing energy and initiating events to consume excess electricity. With this new program, Utilities is demonstrating the use of the existing Itron IntelliSOURCE platform using OpenADR integration and CTA-2045-compliant components to solve modern grid challenges. CTA-2045 is a communication protocol that expands interface options and, in conjunction with an OpenADR-based demand response system, provides more flexible control and a more predictable resource when needed.

Pablo Bauleo, Sr. Energy Services Engineer, said: “At Fort Collins Utilities, we are committed to providing highly reliable and affordable electric and water services to our customers. This programme is another way in which we are taking advantage of Itron’s DERM solutions to improve grid management and energy efficiency. The programme has demonstrated the efficiency and flexibility of grid-interactive water heaters, which will help Utilities better manage the grid and equip our customers to save money and reduce their carbon footprint.

“The programme targeted low-to-moderate income residents by partnering with Neighbor to Neighbor, a local nonprofit that focuses on affordable housing, making this effort not just about technology, but community and equity.”