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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions
What is ENBALA’s GOFlex™ Platform?

ENBALA’s GOFlex platform is a technology that manages a network of commercial and industrial electricity consumers and their energy-consuming assets to deliver grid balancing flexibility to electricity system operators and utilities. ENBALA’s innovative platform captures and intelligently aggregates the inherent storage within process loads operated by commercial and industrial facilities. This network of aggregated process loads responds to the real-time needs of the power system, increasing its reliability, efficiency and reducing greenhouse gases.

What is the Grid Balance® program?

Grid Balance, also known as Regulation Service, is an ancillary service that Independent System Operators (ISOs) and Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) require to maintain the frequency of the grid at 60 Hz, keeping a continuous balance between market demand and generation supply. ENBALA’s Grid Balance program continuously connects commercial and industrial customers through the GOFlex platform, which leverages their existing energy-consuming assets – and the inherent process storage they offer – to deliver flexibility the power system. This operational flexibility is utilized by grid operators and utilities to improve system reliability and efficiency. ENBALA currently offers participation in the Grid Balance program to commercial and industrial facilities located in the PJM Interconnection market (covering 13 states and the District of Columbia) and the IESO (Ontario, Canada) region.

Participating in Grid Balance creates a significant new revenue stream for connected commercial and industrial electricity customers.

What are the benefits of participating in Grid Balance?

The Grid Balance program offers a variety of benefits for commercial and industrial electricity customers. Participants have the opportunity to participate in a green initiative that supports the environment and their community, by helping to reduce greenhouse gases and contributing to a reliable electricity supply.

Can my facility do Grid Balance on its own?

A single commercial or industrial facility generally cannot provide Grid Balance on its own, directly to an ISO or RTO.

A process load within a commercial or industrial facility is generally too small to help ISOs/RTOs maintain the frequency of the grid at 60 Hz, but when many commercial and industrial loads are aggregated together in a continuously connected network, the aggregate response makes a substantial impact. Both the diversity of loads and the intelligence of ENBALA’s technology enable the GOFlex platform to maintain maximum uptime and revenue generation for Grid Balance participants. It is the network effect of coordinating many loads in real-time that enables the demand side to participate in Grid Balance.

ENBALA’s platform has a sophisticated Network Operations Center that continuously tracks connected customer sites and the signal from the ISO/RTO, while monitoring hourly bidding, network performance and compliance with the grid operator – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Is Grid Balance the same as Demand Response (DR)?

No. Demand Response curtails electricity usage by shutting down facility processes at specific times when electricity demand is high. These events may last a few hours, and typically, only occur 4-6 times a year. Participants are often penalized if they decline a request. Traditional demand response is a manual program, notifications often arrive through phone/email and the actual response to an event involves manually shutting down equipment.

Grid Balance, however, is automated – participation occurs in real time and offers continuous opportunities for commercial and industrial facilities to participate; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Grid Balance does not affect or shut down day-to-day operational processes within participating facilities; it simply shifts how much power a process load uses, maintaining energy neutrality. There is no penalty for denying requests, and Grid Balance is seamlessly worked into the existing day-to-day operations of commercial and industrial facilities.

If my facility is involved in a Demand Response program, can we participate in Grid Balance?

Yes. Grid Balance is complementary with many other energy programs including Demand Response.

How is Grid Balance measured and verified?

ENBALA installs revenue-grade metering equipment (if required) to measure energy consumption, demand and the amount of flexibility each commercial and industrial facility can provide. These meters are networked with local communications panels and store comprehensive data. Information is made available to facilities, providing an additional benefit to Grid Balance participants.

Is ENBALA’s GOFlex platform safe and secure to connect to?

ENBALA’s platform has been designed from the ground up with security as a central component, taking the responsibility to fully protect the process loads and information of all connected commercial and industrial electricity customers very seriously.

ENBALA follows the strictest standards and practices to secure communication channels between the operating center and customer facilities, as well as to the electricity system operator. Secure communications are enabled by use of a Local Communication Panel. All power modulation requests are automated in real time, and are transparent to operating processes.

ENBALA’s secure servers have successfully undergone intrusion testing in order to provide a platform that meets or exceeds the security standards of participating commercial and industrial facilities and grid operators. ENBALA uses firewalls at every point of access to its equipment and recommends all parties communicating with ENBALA have their own firewall for protective measures. The GOFlex platform communicates across an encrypted and armored connection with the control system of connected customer facilities.

What level of participation is required from connected process loads?

The level of participation for individual process loads varies based on pre-established operating parameters. Participating commercial and industrial facilities work with ENBALA to define the parameters of their process loads that are a part of ENBALA’s network. ENBALA’s platform will intelligently call upon process loads based on their availability and flexibility, as defined by these pre-established operating parameters and without affecting long-term energy usage.

Since participating facilities have set these operating parameters, they decide what level of participation is required from their process loads. This allows standard processes to continue operating at their normal quality and production requirements.

Additionally, facilities have the option to disconnect from the ENBALA GOFlex platform at any time, without facing any penalties – unlike traditional demand response programs.

What steps are involved in connecting to ENBALA’s GOFlex platform?

There are five steps to ENBALA’s implementation process, and participating facilities’ contribution simply involves providing required information on processes and operating parameters, as well as reviewing and approving ENBALA’s implementation design.

  • Preliminary Assessment and Proposal – ENBALA presents the opportunity to monetize the facility’s ability to participate by understanding their equipment, load information and process details.
  • Engineering and Compliance – Onsite visit to identify loads (compressors, HVAC, etc.) and spend time with a facility’s operations team to fully understand their operational processes, parameters, security, and IT protocols. A formal opportunity is presented based on these findings.
  • Procurement and Installation – The implementation plan is put together, covering expected revenue and payment cycle, implementation schedule, training and expectations upon connecting to the grid.
  • Commissioning – Test the connections and communications paths by sending requests to the process loads within the commercial and industrial facilities.
  • Get Paid – The facility is connected in real-time to ENBALA’s GOFlex platform and quarterly payments begin.

Does the facility retain control of its processes?

ENBALA’s technology never takes control of any process at a commercial or industrial facility. In fact, ENBALA gives the facility the ability to stay in control of their process while participating in the Grid Balance program.

Participating facilities grant ENBALA access to a specific set of real-time process and operating parameters. ENBALA resides as the middle man between the electricity system operator and participating facilities, automating and intelligently aggregating load response to power system needs. Facilities can continue their day-to-day operations with only slight changes in power use that stay within their established operating parameters.

Can a facility participate part-time?

Yes. Large commercial and industrial electricity customers can receive value from part-time participation. Facilities can participate seasonally and choose when it is best for them to participate.

What impact does Grid Balance have on my equipment?

Operating characteristics (cycles, frequency, duration, etc.) do not change from normal operations. Utilizing the operational flexibility inherent in process loads, Grid Balance slightly adjusts when they use power, without any effect on overall, long-term energy usage.

How much revenue can be earned from Grid Balance?

Each commercial and industrial facility’s value is dependent on their individual process loads’ flexibility, availability and range of power. Corresponding demand on the power system is also a factor. The dollar amount for your facility will be determined during the qualification process described below.

How is the value of Grid Balance determined?

Each commercial and industrial facility that is connected to ENBALA’s GOFlex platform will have its own unique revenue potential. There are four factors that determine the value of Grid Balance revenue:

  • Regional Pricing - The value of Grid Balance varies by region. Regions are associated by grid operators (ISOs/RTOs).
  • Load Availability – Each process load’s programmed operating parameters will determine its availability to generate revenue from Grid Balance.
  • Load Range – Each process load’s flexibility in when they use power will determine the capacity or volume of Grid Balance it can supply.
  • Speed of Response - Facilities that can respond quickly may be given priority and may be called upon more often for Grid Balance.

Will my facility be penalized for denying a Grid Balance request?

There are no penalties for commercial and industrial facilities that are unable to participate at any given time. The Grid Balance program is a year-round program. It is structured in such a way that each facility responds to requests only when it is willing and available to participate.

Who is responsible for the local communications panel?

ENBALA is responsible for the local communications panel and will manage all related costs of procurement and installation of the equipment.

In certain cases, new communications panels may be added to the existing systems to provide accurate feedback, which provides an additional benefit to participating commercial and industrial electricity customers by providing increased and detailed information about their operations and energy usage.

How will my facility’s process loads be monitored for Grid Balance?

ENBALA’s GOFlex platform provides real-time monitoring of key operating parameters of all process loads connected to the network at a two-second interval, optimizing their participation. The Local Communication Panel interfaces with the facility’s equipment by communicating with existing automation platforms such as PLCs and SCADA systems using standardized, industrial communications protocols to transmit target operating parameters and continually monitor the facility’s energy usage and operational parameters.

Information obtained from real-time monitoring provides ENBALA’s operators with an optimal bidding strategy that will generate the maximum revenue for participating commercial and industrial facilities. ENBALA continually ensures that facilities’ primary process functions maintaining day-to-day operations are always met first.