image discription

More About Us

Get Olivine Updates

Olivine wins Grid Edge Award

April 18th, 2016 by Stacey Hobart

Greentech Media named Olivine a top 20 company demonstrating potential to shape tomorrow’s distributed energy system.  Grid Edge Award winners include pioneers, established technology vendors, utilities, energy providers, and others who showcase innovative products, market-disrupting business models and an overall forward-looking vision.

These are the companies that are transforming the grid edge industry GE-awards-badge-2016-clients-400-332 (1)into a “new grid will require technologies and business models that can link utilities and customers to turn distributed energy resources (DERs) like rooftop solar and electric vehicles from grid disruptors into grid assets,” said Greentech Media.

The publication called out Olivine’s role in laying the groundwork for how California’s grid edge-enabled DERs can play a role in utility and grid operations through a series of pilot projects with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E):

We’ve covered how companies such as Stem, Ohmconnect and Green Charge Networks have taken advantage of these pilot programs. But the mastermind of these pilots is San Ramon, Calif.-based Olivine, the “scheduling coordinator” that manages the interaction of these third-party resources with programs run by the state’s grid operator, CAISO.

That puts Olivine in the position of arbitrating the state’s initial moves from traditional centrally controlled, siloed demand response, into a new paradigm based on market signals and broad-based participation by distributed energy owners and aggregators. The DRAM pilot is the next step, but CEO Beth Reid has also told us that we should stay tuned for PG&E’s Excess Supply Pilot (XSP), which will for the first time pay end users who can absorb excess solar and wind energy, as well as turn down energy to reduce peak loads.

See all the 2016 Grid Edge Award winners

PG&E’s Supply Side Pilot Named Finalist for DistribuTECH Award

February 8th, 2016 by Stacey Hobart

Congratulations to Pacific Gas and Electric Company! POWERGRID International Magazine has named PG&E’s Supply Side Pilot (SSP) a finalist for a 2016 DistribuTECH Award. Winners will be announced tonight at the DistribuTECH kick off event in Orlando.

PG&E’s innovative SSP project is working to develop a model for flexible, behind-the-meter supply services to address intermittency and facilitate widespread grid integration of renewables. The project implements a full, end-to-end demonstration of third-party capabilities to provide these resources and is developing documentation and

Jonathan Burrows of PG&E accepts DistribuTECH finalist award for the Supply Side Pilot.

Jonathan Burrows of PG&E accepts DistribuTECH finalist award for the Supply Side Pilot.

insights into the processes, procedures and systems required to create a sustainable model.

Using the Proxy Demand Resource (PDR) construct, distributed energy resources (DERs) such as battery storage have been dispatched economically consistent with other types of market-based resources. Participants that fulfill monthly pilot requirements are provided a monthly capacity payment from PG&E similar to what resources might receive when providing the utility with capacity to meet resource adequacy requirements. Ultimately, the 10-MW SSP will validate the requirements needed to provide these flexibility services and examine the cost and capabilities of third-parties to provide them.

Read more: 

Olivine wins Fierce Innovation Award!

November 6th, 2015 by Stacey Hobart

Olivine Inc. has been selected as a winner of this year’s Fierce Innovation Awards:  Energy Edition, a utility-FIA2015_Energy_Logo_LockUp_Winner_LoResreviewed awards program from the publishers of FierceEnergy and Smart Grid News.  The company won the End Use: Demand Response/Demand-Side Management category for its innovative, industry leading product, the Olivine DER System.

Read FierceMarkets’ Smart Grid News Press Release

Download the Fierce Innovation Awards 2015 Innovation Report

Olivine recognized by FierceEnergy and Smart Grid News for innovation

November 4th, 2015 by Stacey Hobart

Olivine Inc. announced today that is has been selected as a finalist in this year’s Fierce Innovation Awards:  Energy Edition, a utility-reviewed awards program from the publishers of FierceEnergy and Smart Grid News.  Olivine was recognized as a finalist in the End Use: Demand Response/Demand-Side
category and selected for its innovative, industry leading product, the Olivine DER System.

The Olivine DER system serves as the critical link for distributed energy resources (DERs) tFIA2015_Energy_Logo_LockUp_Finalist_LoReso participate in open energy markets. The technology platform offers a comprehensive distributed energy resource management system used by utilities, demand response and other service providers, and resource owners. The Olivine DER System acts as an interface between DER owners and markets/distribution programs, as well as complete systems for managing complex demand response programs. The highly configurable system enables wholesale market and retail participation as well as operational simulation running the gamut from long-term capacity procurements to real-time frequency regulation integration.

Finalists’ applications were reviewed by an exclusive panel of executives from major North American utilities including CenterPoint Energy, Duke Energy, Ameren Corporation, San Diego Gas & Electric, Iberdrola USA, Commonwealth Edison, and PECO. Full profiles of the judges can be found at

All applications were evaluated based on the following criteria: technology innovation, financial impact, market validation, compatibility with existing networks, end-user customer experience, and overall level of innovation.

“We are thrilled to be recognized by the Fierce Innovation Awards and to be named among such an accomplished group of finalists,” said Olivine CEO Beth Reid. “Olivine is dedicated to unlocking the full value of distributed energy resources through cost-effective integration and have invested in The Olivine DER System to enable participation of DERs in open energy markets.”

Olivine was the first third-party to integrate with the California Independent System Operator (ISO) market for demand-side resources and is currently the only third-party SC/DRP that has bid Proxy Demand Response (PDR). The company has been actively involved in stakeholder groups to define PDR and related processes, the new DRAM Pilot other important rules and initiatives. Leading the way to resolve important and complex issues, Olivine has supported critical initiatives such as utility pilots and independent studies.

See FierceEnergy and Smart Grid News release

Olivine CEO Beth Reid explains the DRAM

October 26th, 2015 by Stacey Hobart

Bids for California’s Demand Response Auction Mechanism (DRAM) are due today (10/26). Under this program, the state’s IOUs will acquire at least 22 MW of resource adequacy (RA) in 2016 giving participants access to the wholesale market. Olivine has been a leader in the DRAM working group and CEO Beth Reid talked with Greentech Media’s Jeff St. John about what to expect as this innovative pilot moves forward.  Read the article

Three phases of DRAM offer sellers wholesale market access.

Three phases of DRAM offer sellers wholesale market access.

SSP Refinements

October 9th, 2015 by Erich Huffaker

We are making some updates to the SSP! The following changes will be made effective Thursday, October 1, 2015, with all other aspects of the pilot to remain the same.

1) Remove the requirement to bid at the NBT
Qualifying bid blocks may now be at any price between the NBT and the price ceiling to count towards the capacity payment. There is no requirement to make half of the block bids at the NBT.

2) Increase capacity price to $10/kW-month
The current capacity price of $6/kW-month will be increased to $10/kW-month effective October 1st, 2015.

Please contact us if you have any questions:

DERP Proposal Takes Step to Ease Market Access Challenges

July 29th, 2015 by Olivine Team

When the CAISO Board of Governor’s approved the DER Provider Proposal earlier this month, it took a critical enabling step to support market access for aggregated Distributed Energy Resources (DERs).  Next, the CAISO will draft tariff language and other supporting materials for FERC approval which may be complete by the end of the year.

Throughout the development of the proposal, questions have been raised about the details of the proposal as well as expectations for impact once executed.  Having followed these efforts closely, Olivine’s subject matter experts provide answers to some key questions below.

Why is the DER Provider Proposal important?

The establishment of DER Providers (DERPs) addresses one of the challenges we have faced on DER aggregation and entry into the market, noting that currently the DER Provider is relevant only for aggregation of Non-Generator Resources (NGR) and not for individual NGR resources nor those that operate under the CAISO Proxy Demand Resource (PDR) resource type.

It does pave the way for the CAISO Energy Storage/DER (ESDER) Stakeholder Process and likely future CPUC involvement on critical topics for storage to provide multiple value streams – to truly deliver on the promise and value of distribution-sited energy storage.

What’s the history regarding its development?

This DERP proposal was part of the Expanding Metering and Telemetry Options stakeholder process at the CAISO that was started in fall of 2012.  Olivine has been involved with the process from the beginning due to its importance to facilitate third party market access, with CTO Robert Anderson leading the Business Scenarios Stakeholder Working Group from October 2012 through early 2013. One scenario that came out of that working group effort identified the need to enable metering and telemetry scenarios for aggregations that would allow a third party to provide data consolidation services for resource owners.

A critical element in this effort was the potential for parties to collect and submit metering data – with appropriate audit control – instead of the standard requirement that the CAISO collects all meter data.  This point becomes crucial for resources made up of many small sub-resources.  The standard requirement is expensive for a variety of reasons and would ultimately require the CAISO to manage meter data collection for a much larger set of assets than it does today.  In fact, enabling parties to collect and submit this data is a major part of the DERP Proposal, allowing aggregated Non-Generator Resources (NGRs) to avoid the high costs of CAISO metering under the current requirement.

What are the other important provisions in the DERP Proposal?

Two other items worthy of mention are included in the DERP Proposal but fall outside of the notion of metering and telemetry:

  1. CAISO requires resource owners to execute either a Participating Generator Agreement (PGA) or Participating Load Agreement (PLA). Bi-directional NGR resources would presumably need to execute both such agreements, but the DER Provider Agreement (DERPA) will replace the need for such agreements.
  1. Outside of the Proxy Demand Resource, the CAISO did not have clear rules in place defining what types of aggregation are acceptable for resource makeup. The DERP Proposal defined specific limits for aggregations depending on their area over which they are distributed as well as requirements for how they respond to dispatch instructions.  In general, the CAISO has been conservative on these limits with the intention to revisit them once there is operational experience.

If this paves the way for critical topics, what are they?

While that is a deep topic, it is helpful to look at a key objective: to maximize the grid value for energy storage. To do so, we need to enable aggregations of customer-sited (behind the meter) assets that can provide services for customer bill mitigation, utility distribution value, and wholesale ancillary services, with access to the full range of such ancillary services.  To do this, we need:

  • A CAISO resource type that can be installed behind the customer meter and provide frequency regulation service. This could be the so-called PDR/NGR Hybrid.
  • That resource type ought to be able to support wholesale market operations part time (e.g., to provide demand charge mitigation or distribution support during certain hours and wholesale energy and ancillary services – including resource adequacy – during other hours).
  • That resource type should be able to support wholesale market operations with part of the asset or allow for the assignment of part of the asset to the resource (e.g., allow excess capacity to be bid into the wholesale market).
  • In non-exporting situations, a resource deemed as demand response – even when “negative” and therefore not require a WDAT agreement with the utility.
  • In exporting situations, the CPUC and utilities need to work out a scenario where a WDAT agreement and all the issues around that can be navigated in a straightforward manner.
  • Finally, the metering requirement for this resource type would likely need to be a sub-meter. Utilities and the CPUC will need to weigh in on whether or not they have an interest in the requirements for that meter or, in fact, any responsibility for such metering at all.

Stay tuned as several of these issues are going to be taken up in the Energy Storage / DER Stakeholder Process in 2015 and 2016.

What is Olivine’s role?

Based in San Ramon, Calif., Olivine, Inc. is one of the businesses rising from the changes in the energy marketplace. The company provides Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) owners a variety of market access services, As a certified scheduling coordinator, Olivine is authorized to participate in the CAISO’s market and works with smaller aggregators acting as a ‘super aggregator’ of sorts where pooling distributed resources provides cost-effective market access.

DER Challenges and Barriers

January 28th, 2014 by Robert W. Anderson

We recently published a report, co-funded with the California ISO: Distributed Energy Resource Integration: Summarizing the Challenges and Barriers.

The California Independent System Operator (ISO) engaged Olivine, Inc. to provide a summary report of the challenges and barriers that exist for distributed energy resources (DERs) to provide grid services. These resources, located on the distribution system, include energy storage, plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) applications, demand response and combinations thereof that include photovoltaic solar or other distributed generation resources. With a growing list of new technologies, business models and changing regulations that include 12 active CPUC proceedings, the DER landscape is increasingly complex. This report addresses DERs that generate electricity and require interconnection to the ISO as well as those that alter consumption (such as demand response) and do not require interconnection. This report does not delve into the question of whether or not wholesale integration is appropriate or the best application of DERs to meet California’s electricity needs.

You can download the report from the CAISO Clean Green page (or by direct link).

What is Electric Rule 24?

October 1st, 2013 by Erich Huffaker

Electric Rule 24, currently being finalized by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), paves the way for the “direct participation” of demand response (DR) in the CAISO wholesale market.

One may contrast direct participation with the existing utility-administered DR programs that are not bid directly into the market. Demand Response is typically represented to the CAISO indirectly, as a reduction in load forecasts. As a result these resources are not able to be dispatched directly by the CAISO or to compete economically with supply-side resources. Rule 24 intends to change that and define the rules for Demand Response Providers (DRPs) to be able to bid Bundled Customers (those that receive electric service from a CA IOU) into the wholesale market.

State policy objectives have been encouraging direct participation for some time and the concept of Rule 24 and its development has been in process for several years as a result of the CPUC DR proceeding R.07-01-041. While on the surface the implementation of this rule may seem simple, it is actually quite complex and there are many non-trivial issues to be dealt with. While the implementation of Rule 24 in itself will not result in widespread direct participation, it is a critical step to achieve it. The high-profile closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) and the planned retirement of other key generating units have placed a new sense of urgency for the completion of Rule 24.

These challenges associated with the implementation of Rule 24 are significant. Resolution will require communication, coordination and the development of process changes from all of the entities subject to Rule 24 including LSEs, UDCs, DRPs, and MDMAs for Bundled Customers. Entities acting on behalf of Direct Access and CCA customers are not prohibited from bidding directly into the CAISO market. However, the reality of current participation levels in DR programs where both Bundled and Direct Access customers are marketed to indiscriminately, enrolled by third parties, and provided equivalent capacity payments, makes participation at this time highly unlikely. In addition:

  • DR programs were not designed to integrate directly as CAISO resources. Many rules, including timelines for notifications, will require adjustments for customers as well as likely changes in third-party aggregator portfolios. IOU tariffs will require updating before the programs can synchronize with ISO market requirements; customers who may have previously met the tariff requirements may not be able to meet the amended requirements for integration.
  • A host of communication issues including enrollment status and metering must be addressed as well. There is a broad consensus among stakeholders that Rule 24 will entail a new set of metering responsibilities for DR providers. ISO Settlement requires aggregated and processed metered data – referred to as “Settlement Quality Meter Data” – which providers have not had to deliver before. With these new responsibilities comes a variety of process changes, requirements for the various parties, consumer protection considerations and risk mitigation activities.

The finalization of Rule 24 is on-track for the latter part of 2013. Completion of the Rule, though, does not mean that all implementation issues will have been resolved, or that the resulting infrastructure and process changes can be dealt with quickly. Each IOU has produced widely differing timelines, and some may need as long as two or three years before they can support integration of their DR programs with the wholesale market.

As issues become known and challenges dealt with, the prospect of reducing this timeline becomes more of a possibility. Transition steps are being planned and some interesting projects are underway. The lessons learned from such projects will be instrumental to inform the larger shift to direct participation for the industry as a whole. We believe that understanding the issues and complexities are critical to reaching the goal of transition. To transform, information and perspective are key and we will continue to post more on these important topics!

Elephants, Camels, and Ducks

March 21st, 2013 by Spence Gerber

In late February, the CAISO and CPUC held a Long Term Resource Adequacy Summit. Resource Adequacy, or RA, is a critical part of ensuring reliability in California. Because it greatly impacts demand-response, I thought it might be helpful to share some thoughts from that meeting.

The CAISO and the CPUC effectively restarted the Long Term Resource Adequacy process with a gathering of their leadership, the CEC, industry luminaries and over 400 interested observers. Three separate panel discussions provided excellent insight into the challenges of a forward procurement construct in California, implementation in other regions and potential alternatives that might work within the California framework. There was significant coalescence around the gap between the current annual RA showing and 10 year Long Term Procurement Process and the need to find a way to close that gap with a 3 to 5 year construct that provides sufficient revenue to resources in a cost-effect manner.

The Elephant and the Camel

The Elephant (blue) and the Camel (red)

None of this is new to anyone who has followed the Long Term Procurement Proceeding (LTPP) and RA over the last decade, but the current discussion is now less about procurement of generic or “plain vanilla” capacity.  Now it is more about the need for resources with specific capabilities to meet the shifting needs driven by the infusion of renewables that are changing the net system requirement.

This new RA is being called Flexible Capacity by the CAISO and is well illustrated with some graphs, both of which come from the Flexible Resource Adequacy Criteria and Must Offer Obligation presentation made by the CAISO on December 20, 2012. Clicking on the graphs will expand the image to its full size.

Anyway, you can see the evolution of the net load requirements graph from an elephant to a camel (in the first figure) and finally to a duck (in the last figure). Procurement gets more complicated since the “duck” will require ramping capability at times and levels that were never needed when all we had to deal with was an “elephant.”

Further, as the belly of the “duck” gets fatter, there is the possibility of increased over-generation in the middle of the day.

The Duck

The Duck

So we have identified a problem that can be solved with fast ramping and energy consumption on demand no matter whether it is procured via a centralized capacity auction or some other method. The encouraging take away is that the discussion is partially focused on capability and the success story of how DR and Storage met that need in PJM without the need and lead time necessary to build new thermal generation. It is worth mentioning that the PJM starting point was an impending capacity shortage rather than what we have created in California with generic capacity resulting in a 40% over-procurement and overpayment for thermal resources. The discouraging take away is that we’re enamored and seemingly locked into a model in California that focuses on resource characteristics rather than capability. Hopefully as we work out the method by which we address the mid-range procurement needs, we can dismiss some of the barriers that currently prevent DR and emerging technologies from attaining the capacity revenue that will provide a sustainable business model for their participation.