OhmConnect and Schneider Electric announced a new partnership to build an intelligent network of Schneider's Wiser Air smart, Wi-Fi connected thermostats in California in response to the PUC's June announcement of funding for new projects. The commission approved $56.3 million in spending for energy solutions to help alleviate grid strain in Southern California Edison's (SCE) territory and $8.7 million to mitigate the effects of energy shortfalls caused by the closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility in Southern California, the two firms said.
The thermostats respond dynamically to changing grid conditions and OhmConnect will pay Southern California residents weekly to save energy. California's electricity grid and utilities will view the collective real-time energy savings of OhmConnect users as if it were energy generated from local power plants, they added.
OhmConnect receives payments for this "virtual power" and distributes to its user base.
"OhmConnect and Schneider Electric's partnership is the first step in intersecting the smart home and energy markets," said Matt Duesterberg, CEO of OhmConnect, in prepared remarks. "By connecting smart thermostats and plugs, our users directly offset the need to build new power plants and curb our reliance on the Aliso Canyon storage facility."
The crisis began in October of 2015, when a natural gas well in the Aliso Canyon storage facility ruptured, causing one of the worst environmental disasters in US history. The Environmental Defense Fund estimated the leaked methane resulted in the equivalent GHG emissions of 917,000,000 gallons of gasoline being burned, the firms said.
The leak was fixed in February but the storage facility remains closed and will not supply gas to power plants in Southern California this year. This power shortfall has put regions in Southern California at risk for the remainder of the year, they added.
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