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RCA launches nationwide OLS API for smart energy management

October 21, 2021

Robert Cruickshank Associates (RCA), innovators at the intersection of broadband and power networks, have announced a breakthrough that creates energy opportunities for cable broadband operators: the first nationwide availability of standards-based Optimum Load Shaping (OLS) signals that enable operators to reduce electrical expenses and to take leading roles in boosting the efficiency of electric grids and microgrids, all while accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources.

RCA’s GRIDIoT OLS signals modulate and time-shift electric load on the power grid by working directly with the Internet of Things (IoT) such as electric vehicles, batteries, and thermostats. Broadband providers can use GRIDIoT products to gain more control over their own powering requirements, as well as to create new business opportunities by helping utilities, businesses and smart cities ensure power availability and reduced carbon emissions.

GRIDIoT OLS signals ensure that the lowest-cost and cleanest electricity is used in broadband operations and connected communities. OLS signals enable broadband operators to reduce operational costs up to 20% and more as technology improves. Equally important, GRIDIoT OLS signals project the future availability of grid resources for maximum efficiency and sustainability as time-shifting electrical demand becomes an integral part of grid modernization and customer-side transactive energy management.

Broadband operators can use GRIDIoT OLS signals to help energy suppliers avoid capital investment and increase operational efficiency by reducing grid congestion and raising the utilization of the generation-to-load infrastructure. GRIDIoT OLS signals are compliant with the ANSI SCTE 267 2021 U.S. National Standard.

“Optimum Load Shaping of electrical demand is the fulcrum for grid modernization,” said Dr. Robert Cruickshank, CTO for RCA. “The GRIDIoT OLS API enables electric vehicle and battery charging, rooftop solar, thermal storage and more to play a crucial role in balancing supply and demand. Furthermore, the proximity and ubiquitous reach of broadband networks will enable cable operators to provide monitoring and management that will reduce power costs, maximize availability and meet sustainability goals.”

Instead of today’s fragmented retail electricity pricing schemes, GRIDIoT OLS signals abstract thousands of utilities’ pricing schemas and demand-side energy management programs in a single, searchable database. OLS signals combine forecasts of electric load, renewable energy sources, wholesale prices, grid congestion, and other factors to create wide area and hyper-local load shapes that jointly optimize the generation, transmission, distribution, storage, and use of electricity. “Technologies such as OLS can put cable at the center of every discussion on energy cost, availability and sustainability,” said David M. Fellows, Chair of the SCTE Engineering Committee.

The GRIDIoT OLS signals are available online via an interactive, web-based viewer and application programming interface (API). Any device or energy management system can programmatically query the GRIDIoT API for an OLS signal, then autonomously decide whether to time-shift some or all of its demand for electricity to lower-cost periods. The system is designed to improve pricing, optimize effectiveness and minimize power outages.

OLS technology provides meaningful benefits for utilities, transmission and distribution system operators, and third-party electricity providers. GRIDIoT OLS propels optimal load shaping into the energy management marketplace. Manufacturers of energy storage systems and controls can easily integrate the OLS technology and signals to benefit their organizations and customers.

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