GE & Tendril Sign Strategic Agreement

July 08, 2009 by Jeff Shepard

Tendril and GE Consumer & Industrial announced that they have signed a joint development agreement to further enhance the communication capabilities of GE’s demand response appliances. Tendril, the creator of Tendril Residential Energy Ecosysystem (TREE) and GE Consumer & Industrial will develop an integrated and interoperable system that will enhance GE’s demand responsive appliances capability to communicate over metering and broadband networks.

The partnership includes co-development of advanced load control strategies and energy management algorithms, enabling demand response appliances to be grid aware and respond seamlessly to utility-initiated signals. These applications are said to offer cost savings to consumers and help utilities better manage load and forecast demand. Additionally, as consumer preferences change and smart grid technology continues to evolve, Tendril and GE’s open industry standard protocols will enable future generations of GE’s demand response appliances.

"This is a great example of Tendril delivering on the power of an open energy management platform, and the start of a series of powerful in-home appliance partners for Tendril’s TREE. Partners like GE require an easy way to integrate devices to the utility network securely and reliably, and TREE offers the ability to deliver on this expanding need today." said Adrian Tuck, CEO, Tendril.

According to recent studies, appliances, lighting and water heating account for roughly 51% of household electric use, making it critical that smart appliances be integrated across meter and broadband networks, moving beyond reliance on HVAC systems as the primary method of load control in the home. With 37% of total US electric energy consumption associated with residences, and as utilities implement tiered pricing structures across the U.S., demand response appliances will enable consumers to save hundreds of millions of dollars annually and positively impact load reduction on the grid by better managing the electric power we generate.

In the near future, many utility companies will implement tiered, or time of use (TOU) pricing during the highest energy consumption times (typically between 3:00 – 8:00 p.m.) in an effort to change consumer’s energy use behavior, eliminating the need for more power generation during peak times. Tendril’s TREE technology, working with GE’s demand response appliances, which include appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, washers, dryers, microwaves, ranges and hybrid electric water heaters, can help consumers reduce their cost during TOU pricing periods and because the appliances will delay operation or reduce wattage, they also help shed load, reducing the need for more power generation.

"A seamless connection between GE’s demand response appliances and the smart grid will deliver real value to consumers. Through our collaboration with Tendril, consumers will have unprecedented access to information that will enable them to become more educated about their energy use and how to reduce it – without interrupting their lifestyles," said GE Consumer & Industrial Vice President of Technology Kevin Nolan.