EnerNOC powers up BPM to automate a core business process

Bonitasoft business process management tool reduces errors, ensures process scalability

energy usage

Companies that want to get a better handle on energy usage turn to EnerNOC, a Boston-based firm that developed what it calls energy intelligence software. While EnerNOC sells EIS for corporate internal use, it also uses the software to drive a service called demand response which enables companies to curtail usage for rewards from energy suppliers. Network World Editor in Chief John Dix recently visited Chief Architect Per Gyllstrom to 1) find out more about EnerNOC's energry management tools, and 2) learn how it is using business process management (BPM) to orchestrate its complex demand response business.

EnerNoc Per Gyllstrom

EnerNOC Chief Architect Per Gyllstrom

How about we start with an explanation of how your demand response business works.

With demand response, utilities are our customers. So on a hot summer day when everybody is going to crank their air conditioners, utilities will expect high energy use and contact us and say, “At 11:00 AM we want you to start giving us back a gigawatt of savings and keep doing that until 4:00 PM.”

So we turn to companies we have relationships with [more than 6,000] that you can think of as “providers”, say a grocery store or a big sawmill. We have meters on their buildings and have created a baseline of their energy usage, so we can ask them to curtail usage compared to those baselines. Curtailing might mean shutting off every other light or adjusting the temperature in a store up or down. There are lots of techniques you can use.

We can invoke thousands of providers to help us curtail usage and we aggregate all of the savings to get to the gigawatt.   If we’re successful with this, the utility pays us money for the gigawatt and we turn around and pay the providers. The company was founded around the idea of demand response here in New England, but we’re doing it everywhere in the world now.

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