Single Blog Title

This is a single blog caption

Power Insider – June 2019

June 2019 Articles:

Unlocking the Potential of Demand Response


Demand response is an economic signal to reduce power consumption of an electric utility customer to better match the available supply of electricity. Electric energy cannot be easily stored, so utilities have traditionally matched demand and supply by throttling the output of their power plants, taking generating units on or off line, or importing power from other utilities. There are limits to what can be achieved on the supply side, because some generating units can take a long time to come up to full power, some units may be very expensive to operate, and demand can at times be greater than the capacity of all the available power plants put together. Demand response seeks to reduce electricity demand on the utility when it is uneconomical or technically impossible to increase supply.

Utilities may signal demand response requests to their customers in a variety of ways, including time-of-use rate structures, in which power is cheaper at certain times of the day, and smart metering, in which explicit requests or changes in price can be communicated to customers.

The customer may adjust power demand by postponing some tasks that require large amounts of electric power, or may decide to pay a higher price for their electricity. Some customers may switch part of their consumption to alternate sources, such as on-site generators.

Program structures vary but the overall objective of the utility is to defer capital expense on electrical generation or distribution infrastructure by mitigating peak demand.


Demand response reduces demand on the utility supply by curtailing load at the customer’s location. In the simplest form, it can be implemented with remote controlled contactors on residential electric water heaters, air conditioning systems and pool pumps. Load reduction may be triggered through commercial and industrial building automation systems that act on lighting, HVAC and other mechanical loads, such as turning off the water fountain pump or reducing the number of elevator cars that can move up at any given time.

Installation of a standby generator is often driven by building and/or fire code requirements. They represent a significant capital investment by the building owner and often have low utilization over their life cycle. Participation in demand response programs can offset generator capital and operational expenses while providing the owner some return on what would otherwise be just an insurance policy. Use of a natural gas-fueled generator offers the following practical benefits for demand response:

  • The capital cost for a natural gas generator set that meets the more stringent exhaust emissions
  • limits for demand response is significantly lower than a comparably equipped diesel engine.
  • It has a lower fuel cost with natural gas compared to the same amount of power produced with a diesel engine. • There are no diesel fuel maintenance costs, i.e. fuel polishing.
  • Natural gas is a highly reliable fuel source, even in situations where the transportation of diesel fuel to a location may be at risk.
  • There is increasing acceptance of natural gas by authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs), even for emergency systems where an on-site fuel source (diesel) may have traditionally been used.


The call for demand response action is typically managed by the independent system operator (ISO) or regional electric utility companies. Increasingly, utilities are outsourcing the monitoring and dispatch of assets to a third party, especially for commercial and industrial customers with on-site generation.

An energy service company (ESCo) will deploy an energy management system (EMS) to a client’s location for the purpose of recording load, dispatching generation assets and managing load.

Working with an ESCo is often simpler for a commercial or industrial client. Financial incentives for enrolling standby generators into demand response programs vary. Understanding the variable incentives offered by the ISO and local utilities, the ESCo can help the client maximize the economic benefit from their generator assets.


  • Little involvement by the generator distributor. The contract for demand response is between the client and the ESCo.
  • Partnering with an ESCo can extend savings beyond the generator connected load. For example, an HVAC plant that is not on generator power could also be curtailed for additional savings using the same EMS hardware.
  • Helps the client maximize their revenue opportunity.


  • Engines require non-emergency emissions certification.
  • Closed transition transfer switch desirable, but not required.
  • Ability to remotely dispatch generator and force the automatic transfer switch (ATS) to switch is desirable, but not required. The EMS typically has the capability to facilitate automatic operation.
  • Ability to measure the demand reduction so customer can receive financial incentives; frequently installed as part of the EMS.

The Wolverine Power Systems team is available to help your business estimate the cost of ownership of a standby power system based on local utility rates and your businesses power usage requirements. By implementing onsite power generation capabilities, you can ensure your business is operational while reducing costs and maintaining more control over access to power. Contact us today to learn more. 

Preventative Maintenance: The Key to Generator Reliability

You’ve invest in a generator to ensure you have power in the event of an outage. Once the generator is installed, it’s easy to forget about it unless it doesn’t start when a power emergency happens.

Like all equipment that has an engine and parts that need regular attention. The number one reason generators fail to start is generally a lack of planned maintenance. Just like your vehicle, a generator needs preventative maintenance to run its best. Some common problem areas that need addressing include:

  • Batteries – batteries weaken and fail over time, terminals can corrode making connections weaker. We suggest replacement on a bi-annual basis
  • Belts and hoses – these also weaken and become brittle due to exposure to temperature swings and time. Belts and hoses should be inspected twice a year and replaced at the first signs of deterioration.
  • Oil & Fuel – oil and filter changes should be completed to manufacturer specifications. Fuel, especially diesel can degrade over time – make sure that clean diesel is available and fuel levels are sufficient for an extended outage. Load testing can often identify issues.
  • Coolant – regular replacement is vital to keeping your engine running. We also recommend checking the radiator, the radiator cap and coolant leaks.
  • Protection Systems – alarms and safety shutdowns should be tested to ensure they will work properly.
  • Electrical Connections – may loosen over time
  • Enclosures – insect and rodents may build a nest or damage wiring

Generators should be maintained and serviced regularly, at least twice a year. However, depending on the make, model, and purpose, maintenance may need to be performed more often than that.

Wolverine Power Systems offers affordable preventative maintenance plans to keep your generator in peak operating condition. With factory-trained, certified technicians all over the state of Michigan, we are ready and prepared for any generator issue. Email us for more information or call 800-485-8068

Generac Acquires Pika Energy, Enters Energy Storage Market

Generac Holdings Inc. (NYSE: GNRC) (“Generac” or the “Company”), a global leader in the design and manufacture of a wide range of residential, commercial and industrial power products, announced today the Company has acquired Pika Energy, Inc., a manufacturer of innovative battery storage technologies that capture and store solar or grid power for homeowners and businesses.

“Pika’s integrated battery storage solutions are a crucial component in developing a comprehensive system to store and consume clean energy,” said Aaron Jagdfeld, Generac president and CEO. “The visionary ideas and technology that Pika has developed give us a considerable edge as we expand into the rapidly developing market for energy storage.”

Pika is an expert in developing advanced power electronics, software and controls for smart energy storage and management, and their integrated energy storage systems allow users to easily capture, store and use solar energy to reduce energy costs and minimize grid disruptions. The company is located in Westbrook, Maine and was founded in 2010.

“Generac is dedicated to providing people with innovative and forward-thinking solutions to power their homes and businesses,” said Ben Polito, Pika Energy CEO and co-founder. “Pika energy storage technology, combined with Generac’s distribution strength and demand creation capabilities, will make this solution immediately available to more users. We are thrilled to be a part of the Generac team.”

“Pika, now together with Generac and Neurio, a leading energy management technology company recently acquired by Generac, share a vision to develop groundbreaking technologies that modernize the way electricity is generated, stored, and used in homes,” said Jagdfeld. “By combining Generac’s expertise in power products; Neurio’s unprecedented insight into home energy use; and Pika’s expertise in battery storage, we can bring to market the first truly intelligent home energy management system.”

The acquisition closed on April 26. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.