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How Texas Saves $1 Billion in Energy Costs a Year: Optimal Load Shaping

How Texas Saves $1 Billion in Energy Costs a Year: Optimal Load Shaping

At the Smart Energy Summit 2022 in Frisco Texas hosted by Parks Associates, Robert Cruickshank from GRIDIoT gave an insightful presentation of how optimal load shaping (OLS) is the fastest way Texas can decarbonize the ERCOT grid and produce energy at the lowest cost. During the presentation, he noted Texas can quickly and efficiently decarbonize the grid (reducing carbon emissions by nearly 20 billion lbs. per year) and save $1 billion annually (around a 20% reduction in cost for the state) through broadcasting OLS signals and providing OLS devices that receive the OLS broadcasted signals to Texas households.  

The simplest way to explain how OLS works is that OLS devices detect the load on the grid, and then send information of the current load through OLS signals to OLS devices in households. The OLS devices then use the information from the OLS broadcasted signals to temporarily reduce or increase the energy consumption of household devices and appliances depending on the grid’s load. These OLS devices would reduce energy consumption when the grid load is high, and increase energy consumption when the grid load is low, saving the consumer and the state significant costs.

Figure 1 provides a detailed graph from Robert Cruickshank’s presentation at the Smart Energy Summit 2022 demonstrating ERCOTS actual energy generation on a week in late August in Texas with no OLS in the top graph. The graphs show high spikes causing a parabolic pattern of energy generation during the midday, which increases energy costs for the state and consumers. The bottom graph displays the proposed optimum energy generation for Texas with the use of OLS signals and devices. These signals and devices would significantly flatten the spikes in energy by decreasing the overall load on the grid, in turn, decreasing energy costs for the state and consumers.


Figure 1. Robert Cruickshanks graphs’ presented at the Smart Energy Summit 2022 of ERCOT’s actual energy generation and optimum generation

During the presentation, barriers to adoption with current demand response programs were noted For example, the current demand response programs of the more than 3,800 U.S. utility services are based on proprietary non-standard approaches which require the consumer to sign-up or opt-in. Also, many demand response programs require two-way communication and share personally identifiable information which can also be unattractive to consumers. These impediments are supported by Parks Associates’ recent research (see figure 2) which found demand response programs have a low enrollment across the U.S.

Figure 2. Parks Associates graphic showing low enrollment of demand response programs in U.S. households.

Robert Cruickshank noted his OLS signals and devices GRIDIoT can completely bypass the current obstacles presented by utility service providers and that GRIDIoT’s OLS signal could be deployed quickly across Texas, and is already available for ERCOT’s hubs and load zones. Their load shaping signals can be broadcasted on NPR Radio across Texas and then received by their standards-based Lego-like OLS devices.

This presentation at the Smart Energy Summit was one of the most informative of ERCOT grid’s current and potential future problems, and his proposed OLS signals and devices are an appealing and innovative solution for Texas to quickly meet increasing energy demands while substantially decreasing costs of generating energy for the state, and consuming energy for state residents. A statement from Senior Analyst Chris White of Parks Associates during a panel discussion summed up the theme of the Smart Energy Summit workshop best: “Flattening the curve is not only important to the sector of public health but is also critical in our energy use if we are to meet our future energy demands”.



Robert Cruickshank from GRIDIoT taking questions from the audience after his Optimal Load Shaping presentation at the Smart Energy Summit 2022 conference in Frisco Texas.

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