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EnergyHub Accelerates Virtual Power Plant Insights for a Clean, Distributed Energy Future

EnergyHub turned to Snowflake for a scalable data environment that bolsters self-service reporting and ad hoc analysis, helping electric utilities unlock the full value of virtual power plants.



Enrolled devices sending data to Snowflake


Faster time to insight for utility clients

Woman in a yellow hard hat and blue work uniform using a tablet in an industrial setting.
EnergyHub logo
Manufacturing, Technology
Brooklyn, New York

Solving tomorrow’s energy challenges today, one device at a time

Turning on the AC or charging an electric vehicle seems straightforward — just switch on or plug in, and electricity starts flowing. But behind every charge is a complex electricity supply chain that must be kept in delicate balance. A key challenge is to ensure that there is always enough electricity supply to meet demand. To do this, utility companies can build more power generation or turn to “demand flexibility” initiatives — shifting electricity consumption away from moments of peak demand without negatively influencing customer experience.

The aggregation of demand flexibility across thousands of electricity-consuming devices is referred to as a virtual power plant (VPP). VPPs are unlocking new opportunities for balancing supply and demand on the electrical grid. Unlike traditional power plants that require significant time and capital to construct, VPPs allow utilities to rapidly leverage a network of smart thermostats and water heaters, electric vehicles and charging equipment, rooftop solar installations with battery storage, and other distributed energy resources (DERs).

EnergyHub’s proprietary software platform sits between utilities and customer-owned DERs, making it easier to harness VPPs and, ultimately, achieve a clean, distributed energy future. Utilities rely on EnergyHub to manage electricity consumption across more than 1.2 million devices, delivering more than 1.9 gigawatts of flexible capacity. To help provide an exceptional client experience, EnergyHub turns to Snowflake to power the analytic workloads necessary for delivering near real-time, self-service VPP insights for utilities.

Story Highlights
  • Virtual power plant insights for utilities: With Snowflake, EnergyHub’s self-service reporting interface delivers reliable VPP insights within moments of utilities requesting demand flexibility (known as “an event”).
  • VPP program launch and optimization support: Data in Snowflake fuels EnergyHub’s proprietary platform that helps clients forecast VPP capacity and operate effective virtual power plants.
  • Scalability to expand: Solving its data challenges with Snowflake allows EnergyHub to process three times more data while supporting more than 100 utility programs and more than 1.2 million devices.

Tapping into data from the industry’s largest network of DERs to optimize VPP performance

One virtual power plant often consists of tens of thousands of DERs, which presents unprecedented operational challenges compared to spinning up a “peaker” power plant, which grid operators call on when electricity demand spikes. EnergyHub’s platform simplifies the load management process for the utility, but variances in consumer participation, weather and wireless network availability can cause discrepancies between forecasted and actual demand flexibility. 

To ensure that delivered demand flexibility aligns with forecasts, utilities need immediate and ongoing insight into VPP performance — a feat that requires a lot of data. “If 100,000 devices send data every five minutes, that adds up to many gigabytes of data over the course of hours. Making sense of it all can be challenging, but it’s essential to delivering for our clients,” says Justin McCammon, Director of Infrastructure & Data Engineering at EnergyHub.

EnergyHub’s previous customer reporting solution was built using operational databases, so the team needed a scalable ecosystem to support additional utilities, devices, device manufacturers and data. EnergyHub implemented Snowflake to power its data lake and data warehouse workloads, including self-service customer reporting. Snowflake’s extensive network of connectors and programming languages was critical in helping EnergyHub’s data platform convert DER data into meaningful VPP insights. Snowflake’s Horizon data governance capabilities, as well as visualization features, comprehensive documentation and Snowflake support services, played important roles in reimagining EnergyHub’s data environment.

“Similar to how EnergyHub sits between electric utilities and their customers’ smart devices, Snowflake’s platform is a key tool within our data ecosystem. It’s allowed us to evolve our VPP insight expertise as fast as our industry is changing.”

Justin McCammon
Director of Infrastructure & Data Engineering, EnergyHub

Reliably surfacing VPP performance insights while processing 3x more data

Utility demand management teams use EnergyHub’s self-service platform to analyze VPP data within moments of initiating a demand flexibility event. DER data continually flows from devices into Snowflake and powers insights in EnergyHub’s platform, including near real-time monitoring of forecasted demand flexibility, estimated device performance, participant opt-outs and more. Utilities also rely on EnergyHub’s forecasting tools to understand how much a particular VPP could deliver to the grid on a given day, informing utility power supply decisions and helping them decide when to initiate demand response events.

With Snowflake, EnergyHub tripled the amount of data processed, expanded its reporting options and improved clients’ time to insight by up to 55%. “As we’ve adopted Snowflake, we’ve increased our ability to deliver insights while also scaling,” McCammon says. “In fact, people are getting information faster as we’re growing. That’s been a huge value from Snowflake.”

Optimizing VPP programs and driving internal efficiency with data

Streamlining EnergyHub’s data environment with Snowflake better positions the company to perform rapid ad hoc analysis in response to clients’ evolving data needs. For example, EnergyHub leverages historical data from thousands of demand flexibility events to help utilities understand how event duration, frequency and day of the week impact VPP performance. 

“With Snowflake, in just six months, we helped one client build a virtual power plant with over 100,000 participating homes that can deliver up to 100 megawatts’ of demand flexibility. You can’t build a physical plant in six months that could do that,” McCammon says. EnergyHub’s program growth teams then use data stored in Snowflake to identify best practices from successful VPP programs.

Snowflake also powers a variety of EnergyHub’s internal dashboards that support operational, technical and business teams. Snowflake’s Snowsight dashboards allow users from across the organization to quickly visualize data without requiring third-party BI tools.

“Snowflake has helped us accelerate program growth through enhancement of our data models, allowing us to understand the data better and access it more easily.”

Justin McCammon
Director of Infrastructure & Data Engineering, EnergyHub

Delivering data and insights at the speed of energy

According to McCammon, “The goal is to ensure that virtual power plant insights move as fast as the electricity itself.” To accomplish this goal, EnergyHub plans to experiment with Dynamic Tables, Snowpipe and Snowflake Secure Data Sharing. Snowflake’s Direct Share feature could also expedite collaboration between EnergyHub and utility clients. “Many large electric utilities we work with use Snowflake,” McCammon says. “Data sharing is a conversation we’re having more often so we can all securely share data and insights faster and more easily — without the need for custom API or SFTP integrations.”

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