CalFlexHub 2024: Amplifying Our Impact

As we enter 2024, CalFlexHub is excited to continue supporting California’s shift towards a sustainable energy system by focusing on innovative technologies to reduce energy costs and enhance decarbonization and reliability. This year, we’re expanding our research and field demonstrations, including exploring dynamic pricing to manage electric loads more effectively and extending our partnerships across more building types to assess electric load shape changes and their responsiveness to electric pricing by season. These efforts aim to provide insights for integrating responsive technologies, supported by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and California Energy Commission (CEC).

CalFlexHub is committed to ensuring that our technological advancements are accessible and beneficial to all, particularly low-income and disadvantaged communities, to promote an equitable energy transition. Following the success of the 2023 CalFlexHub Symposium, we’re looking forward to further engagement through our events and invite the community to connect with us to share insights on transforming California’s energy usage. We appreciate the continued support from our community and are eager to share our progress and collaborate on innovative solutions for a sustainable energy future.

CalFlexHub at the Stanford-CEC Energy Innovation Summit

The Stanford-CEC Energy Innovation Summit, held on January 29, 2024, marked a significant milestone in the collaborative efforts towards sustainable energy solutions. Bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders, the summit provided a dynamic platform for discussing the latest advancements and challenges in the energy sector. Key themes of the summit included the acceleration of clean energy technologies, integration of renewable energy sources into the grid, and the role of policy and innovation in addressing climate change.

Mary Ann Piette, Associate Lab Director, ETA at Berkeley Lab and CalFlexHub Principal Investigator participated in a breakout panel dedicated to buildings and highlighted the role demand flexibility can play in meeting state energy goals. Recognizing the challenges of decarbonization, she shared how CalFlexHub’s research contributes to advancing a solution: grid-interactive efficient buildings with key technologies that enable automated price response. Joined by Ram Narayanamurthy, Deputy Director of Building Technologies Office at the U.S. Department of Energy, Jacques de Chalendar, Adjunct Faculty at Stanford University, and Teddy Kisch, Senior Fellow at Energy Solutions, the panel was moderated by Merrian Borgeson, Director of California Policy, Climate and Clean Energy at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Partner Spotlight: Harvest Thermal – Optimizing Home Heating and Hot Water with Dynamic Price Response

The 2024 National Institute Online event, hosted by the Building Efficiency for a Sustainable Tomorrow (BEST) Center featured a comprehensive agenda dedicated to advancing the knowledge and practices in the field of building efficiency and sustainability education. The event equipped attendees with the insights and tools needed to drive forward the transition. CalFlexHub concepts were prominently featured with three sessions by our principal investigator, Mary Anne Piette, our program manager Jingjing Liu, and Peter Grant, one of our portfolio researchers focused on water technologies. You can still register to watch the replays here.

Four Pillars of De-carbonization, Mary Ann Piette
This session outlined national strategies for decarbonizing the building sector, emphasizing energy efficiency, electrification, the integration of building loads with the electric grid, and the optimization of distributed energy resources. Her talk highlighted the urgent need for a mobilized workforce to expand retrofit programs to meet ambitious emissions reduction goals.

Building Demand Flexibility — From DR Events to Continuous Dynamic Load Shaping, Jingjing Liu
This session presented the potential of Building Demand Flexibility as a grid resource, sharing insights from Berkeley Lab’s research and the CalFlexHub program’s demonstrations on automating flexible loads in response to dynamic pricing and greenhouse gas signals.

Hot Water, Cool Planet: Heat Pump Water Heater Developments that Minimize Carbon Emissions, Peter Grant
Peter Grant discussed the critical role of decarbonizing domestic water heating through the adoption of heat pump water heaters, highlighting recent advances in technology and financial incentives that make this transition more feasible and beneficial for the planet.