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Leap and Google Nest pen deal for California demand response exchange

Image: Google Nest.

Image: Google Nest.

Google Nest thermostats are being incorporated into a domestic demand-side response programme in the US state of California.

US-based distributed energy exchange operator Leap has sealed a partnership with Google Nest which will enable installed smart thermostats to be used to bring their inherent demand response capacity onto Leap’s exchange.

Nest smart thermostats allow a home’s hot water and heating to be controlled remotely, while the device’s programme promises to essentially learn consumer behaviours and produce energy saving reports.

The agreement will see Leap’s platform become integrated within Google Nest’s Rush Hour Rewards programme, allowing customers in Northern California and the Bay Area to provide flexible demand capacity to the state’s independent system operator, CAISO.

Those enrolled will also be able to connect Google Assistant-connected devices to the service, bolstering their flexible capacity.

More than 2,500 customers have already enrolled in the trial, and thousands more are expected to follow suit.

Last summer Leap was awarded a portion of demand side response capacity within California’s Demand Response Auction Mechanism, which is used by the state to procure flexible capacity to help meet electricity demand in real-time.

Leap also counts other partners and devices, including battery storage projects, EV charging platforms and agricultural and commercial customers.

Thomas Folker, chief executive at Leap, said Google Nest was an “excellent partner to have” and its participation in the exchange was a “wonderful example” of using modern appliances to benefit the grid.

“Together with Nest, we are enabling a grid that utilises all of its assets, large and small, to meet demand in a dynamic and more efficient manner. This is a capability that proves especially important as we enter the months of peak summer demand, and carries benefits throughout the year,” he said.

While the programme remains limited to California for the time being, Google is increasingly casting its eye towards global power markets and the energy transition in general. Earlier this year EV charging location functionality was added to its Maps application, while it is also working with E.On to help promote domestic solar installations across Europe.

There is also an increasing interest in the UK in using domestic appliances and other devices for demand response purposes, perhaps best evidenced by Northern Powergrid’s pilot programme with GenGame which used gamification techniques to incentivise and stimulate energy-saving behaviours in consumers.

Current± caught up with GenGame CEO Stephane Lee-Favier this week to discuss his company’s plans for evolving domestic demand response.


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