Clean energy innovator Comverge announced on June 19 that it has partnered with both TXU Energy and Digi International to introduce a demand response program in Texas. The program will allow Texas energy consumers to manage their power consumption remotely over the Internet by using a special thermostat from Comverge. Digi International is providing the gateway equipment that will allow Internet connections.
Comverge has emerged as an innovative leader providing clean energy solutions that improve power grid dependability and efficiency over conventional power transmission methods. Comverge’s solutions reduce the load on a power grid by helping energy consumers conserve energy.
Customers participating in the program will receive a Comverge-manufactured thermostat called the TXU Energy iThermostat, which is embedded with ZigBee wireless technology that is fully compliant with the Home Area Network (HAN) standard. Once installed, the thermostat allows for temperatures to be adjusted remotely over the Internet. The iThermostat also grants TXU Energy the ability to cycle customers’ air conditioning units on and off during critical periods of energy demand in order to reduce strain on the power grid.
“The iThermostat is great for customers who want to manage their energy usage, save money and lessen the impact on our environment without giving up comfort or convenience,” said TXU Energy CEO Jim Burke. “The TXU Energy iThermostat helps Texas efficiently manage its energy resources while providing customers greater control over their own energy usage. It is initiatives like these that will have a big impact now and into the future.”
Participation in the program is free for residential energy customers. By allowing customers to install the equipment themselves, installation charges are non-existent.
TXU Energy provides electrical service to more than 2.1 million customers in Texas. TXU Energy customers have a choice from a variety of innovative products that can fit their individual power needs. Development of the iThermostat, in conjunction with Comverge, gives TXU Energy customers another product choice.
“This program provides the mechanism to deliver true two-way demand response programs over high-speed Internet connections,” added Comverge CEO Robert M. Chiste. “Many utilities are beginning to deploy AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) systems which can take years to install. This technology allows them to deploy ZigBee-enabled demand response devices now, which can ultimately integrate with those systems.”
“Our Smart Grid Solutions Group is pleased to work with TXU Energy to provide them with what we believe is the most cost effective, innovative clean energy technology available on the market today, and we are very proud to help launch one of the nation’s first IP gateway Home Area Networks,” said Chiste.
“We are seeing numerous applications where ZigBee and other wireless technologies are being used to network devices and utilize the wealth of information they contain,” commented Joe Dunsmore, CEO of Digi International. “We are pleased to be working closely with Comverge and TXU Energy. Our wireless gateways connect the TXU Energy iThermostat to the Internet, allowing customers to enjoy the cost savings and reduced environmental footprint TXU Energy’s unique demand response program provides.”
Digi International specializes in developing networking devices for business and has adapted its products to serve the needs of the power industry. Digi International’s gateways serve as the backbone to the AMI smart grid network.
Bob Heile, chairman of the ZigBee Alliance, said” “ZigBee is widely recognized as an excellent solution for energy companies implementing AMI programs. ZigBee Alliance member companies TXU Energy, Comverge and Digi have an innovative solution using ZigBee and the Internet to give their customers an easy and rapid way to improve energy efficiency and help the environment.”
The ZigBee Alliance is a consortium of over 260 member companies that promote the ZigBee platform standard for wireless communications between different devices that need to work together. Embedded ZigBee technology creates smart appliances by granting devices the ability to transfer information over the Internet.
120 Eagle Rock Road, Suite 190
East Hanover, NJ 07936
1601 Bryan Street
Dallas, TX 75201
11001 Bren Road East
Minnetonka, MN 55343