How Energy Efficiency and Demand Response are Creating Energy Resilient Communities 

Power grid stress related to extreme weather events has become a regular feature in headline news. North Carolina declared a weather-related federal disaster in four out of the past five years, and its residents faced a series of power interruptions or forced outages. More than 4 million people were part of rolling blackouts in California in August 2020, when a major heatwave caused excess demand on the grid.  And perhaps most famously, well over 4 million people in Texas lost power during a deep freeze storm in February 2021. Regarding the Texas crisis, Neil Chatterjee, a member of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, stated in The Washington Post:

“I’ve been following energy markets and grid issues for a while, and I cannot recall an extreme weather event that impacted such a large swath of the nation in this manner — the situation is critical.”

What’s more, predictive energy use models based on past data are becoming less and less reliable, as climate change is impacting the frequency, duration, and severity of weather events in ways that historical models haven’t captured.


Related: How Texas Companies Can Earn Revenue While Supporting the Grid


Energy Resilience

The good news is that there are solutions to create energy resilient communities and demand response, even in the face of extreme weather and with less reliance on data from the past. Energy efficiency supports grid stabilization in multiple ways. Commercial buildings that improve their levels of energy efficiency consume less electricity, reducing demand on the grid. When multiple buildings in the area follow suit and become more energy-efficient, it creates a ripple effect that benefits the community as a whole. In turn, energy providers are then better able to respond to surges in electricity demand. Energy resilience means communities consume less energy in the first place and are better positioned to anticipate and adjust to demand spikes. A single commercial enterprise that becomes more energy-efficient can lead a “benefit chain” that extends beyond its individual locations, by supporting grid stabilization in the community at large.


Related: Is the Grid Ready for the Electric Vehicle Revolution


Collaborative Approach

Energy resilience is not something that happens in silos. Collaboration between utilities, government agencies, and businesses is key to developing energy resilient communities and effective demand response in an unpredictable future. Productive collaborations include:

  • Knowledge exchanges - training, best practices, and case studies that provide frameworks for successfully implemented projects
  • Shared goals - when energy-efficient targets are in place, businesses, utilities, and agencies can identify how to collectively meet these goals
  • Modernization - new approaches to energy efficiency and access to new technologies become increasingly critical as the grid ages

To build upon this foundation, it’s important to examine the forces that may prevent or slow an otherwise successful collaboration:

  • Access to financing - traditional financial models may not always fit with new approaches to energy resilience - options like incentives and rebates are helping some communities move forward
  • Awareness – education and engagement through awareness programs and community events can ensure that stakeholders in each community are fully informed
  • Labor force –strategies to attract, train, and retain skilled workers help move energy resilience efforts from idea to implementation

Making Strides

Modernizing the grid and preparing for extreme weather events can seem daunting. However, communities can take immediate and actionable steps to create their resilience. Commercial buildings with energy-efficient upgrades see immediate cost savings and reduce strain on the grid. As communities become collectively more energy-efficient, they are then less likely to face emergency situations due to extreme weather. And as collaborations from across public and private sectors, communities benefit from a forward-looking approach to energy efficiency, a more efficient demand response system, and a better-stabilized grid.


Sparkfund and GridPoint Partner with Shell on Subscription-based Bundled Energy Solution

Shell Energy Inside shaping the future of commercial energy with new offering

November 15, 2018 — Reston, VA & Washington — Sparkfund and GridPoint announce today that they have partnered with Shell in the launch of a new offering, Shell Energy Inside. Shell Energy Inside is part of Shell New Energies, Shell’s division that provides low carbon solutions to meet the world’s evolving energy needs. The offering is a subscription approach to smart buildings and pairs technologies such as HVAC, lighting, energy storage, electric vehicle charging, and building controls together with retail power supply and demand response.

“We are very excited to be launching Shell Energy Inside in North America with GridPoint and Sparkfund as founding partners,” said Brian Davis, Vice President of Energy Solutions at Shell. “This offering enables us to help businesses meet their cost, sustainability, and resiliency goals. Today’s announcement is in line with our strategy to partner with leading companies to deliver more and cleaner energy solutions to new and existing customers.”

The bundled solution is powered by Sparkfund’s subscription engine, SparkOS, along with GridPoint Energy Manager, GridPoint’s controls and analytics platform. The offering is available to all commercial, industrial and municipal customers in North America. Shell’s experience, paired with these key partnerships, uniquely positions Shell Energy Inside to redefine how commercial energy solutions are delivered.

“This is a historic moment, with one of the largest energy entities in the world working to reimagine the future of energy and energy services,” said Sparkfund CEO Pier LaFarge. “We’re excited to support this offering with our subscription engine, SparkOS.”

“Shell is breaking down the walls between once-siloed energy solutions to create one, converged offering that results in a more powerful product and customer relationship,” said Mark Danzenbaker, CEO of GridPoint. “We are thrilled to be part of this ground-breaking team.”

About Sparkfund

Sparkfund is an energy technology subscription company based in Washington, D.C. We give customers access to essential building energy functions — like cold air, light and resilience to storms — without the constraints of ownership, so they can do more energy projects, faster, and with fewer resources. Sparkfund’s mission is to create positive change for the world by deploying solutions that make good business sense and are good for the planet. We partner with major energy providers to deliver the Sparkfund Technology Subscription™ on our subscription engine, SparkOS. Learn more at sparkfund.com.

About GridPoint

GridPoint is a smart buildings technology leader that makes site optimization simple. GridPoint’s platform provides visibility into facility operations to help customers automate and control sites, lower energy spend and proactively manage day-to-day operations. GridPoint’s customers include 4 of the top 10 retailers by total sales, 3 of the top 10 casual dining restaurants, 5 of the top 20 quick serve restaurants, leading commercial and industrial enterprises, and major government and educational institutions. Powered by the best data, GridPoint is validated in a variety of industries across North America. To learn more, visit www.GridPoint.com.

About Shell New Energies

Shell established its New Energies division in 2016 and plans to invest on average $1 – 2 billion a year until 2020 in commercial investments that build on the company’s strengths in new and fast-growing segments of the energy industry. Shell New Energies focuses on two main areas: new fuels for transport, such as advanced biofuels and hydrogen; and power, being involved at almost every stage of the process, from generating electricity, to buying and selling it, to supplying it directly to customers. For more information, go to https://www.shell.com/energy-and-innovation/new-energies.html.