Company News

“So What Does Camus Do Exactly?”

Authored by:
Steven Brisley
Last Updated: 
May 1, 2024

It’s a question we’re asked at every conference and trade show. After all, it’s difficult to tell what companies really do versus what they just talk about. 

Here’s our one-sentence marketing description:

Camus Energy helps grid operators understand where and how to use local resources to deliver safe, reliable, and affordable power through simple, orchestrative control.

But what does that actually mean?

Catalyzing Grid Orchestration for a DSO Future

For utilities of all sizes, the transition to electric vehicles, renewable generation, and a more customer-involved grid creates both challenges and opportunities.

We help utilities use software to take immediate steps to leverage these changes for the benefit of their communities – both today and into the future.

We are strong advocates that utilities should move towards a Distribution System Operator (DSO) model – and we are actively supporting utility customers in the pursuit of this vision. As we think of it, the Distribution System Operator (or DSO) model is one where a utility uses data-driven, real-time visibility and control over distributed devices to manage a two-way grid.  

That includes seeing and managing loading, voltage, and power quality at every point on the network. It also means calling upon DERs as grid assets and enabling customers to offer up their devices and be fairly compensated for providing services.

As we shift towards greater reliance on renewable generation, these local resources become increasingly important sources of capacity for a grid with more intermittent supply.

Ultimately, the DSO model is about delivering more reliable, affordable, and sustainable power. It’s a vision that we’ve seen generate excitement in communities across the country. But it can be difficult to figure out where to start.

That’s where Camus comes in.

4 Ways Camus Is Helping Utilities

At Camus, we’re helping utilities take four immediate, no-regrets actions as part of a long-term strategy to transform for a decarbonized, distributed future. These four investments can be made today and pursued in parallel.

Screenshot of software showing monitoring view of devices

1) Gain visibility to the grid edges

In order to manage the impact of distributed resources, utilities need visibility to the edges of the grid. After all, you can’t manage what you can’t measure

Our software brings together utility data from SCADA, AMI, GIS, DERMS and the full alphabet soup of operational systems – with data directly from distributed devices. We help utilities take the data that’s available today and bring it together into a real-time model of the grid.

The screenshot above shows data for a single customer – you can see AMI data, solar output and battery behavior directly from the smart inverters, information from a customer information model, and even click through to upline utility equipment – like a distribution transformer or upline feeder.

And because data is often messy or missing, we use artificial intelligence (AI) to fill in gaps – helping our customers get more from data that’s otherwise unusable today.

We also provide day-ahead forecasts for DER behavior, net consumption, and peak demand. This helps utilities better anticipate grid needs and understand how DERs are likely to behave.

With visibility from the substation to behind the meter and from the past to the future, utilities can better manage DERs at scale and use them to lower costs and bolster reliability.

Screenshot showing hosting capacity analysis

2) Accelerate flexible interconnections

A slow interconnection process is a major pain point for DER adopters – and a headache for their utilities.  

We help utility planning teams accelerate interconnections without sacrificing reliability.

Our dynamic operating envelopes – which allow utilities to provide flexible, state-varying interconnection restrictions -- helps utilities speed up the interconnection of EV fleets, industrial loads, and distributed generation where local grid constraints would otherwise require upgrades. This gives utilities the ability to support a higher penetration of DERs and help community members access time-limited grant funding.

Ultimately we're helping utilities use locational data and real-time visibility of DERs to make the interconnection process faster and more flexible, providing a big boost to customer satisfaction and giving the utility more resources to call upon for local grid support.

Screenshot showing controls interface

3) Orchestrate DERs

A widely-discussed area that we support is DER management. As hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of DERs connect to your system, it can feel overwhelming. 

Our software simplifies the management of a diverse set of local resources.  We provide the ability to control both customer- and utility-owned DERs in a single interface, partnering with leading Edge DERMS and aggregator partners. Utilities can group devices by program, device type, or even location on a specific feeder and send instructions to fleets of devices. If a customer opts-out or a device fails to respond, the software automatically shifts instructions to other devices to ensure the overall goal is achieved.  

This approach incorporates a reliable feedback loop using data from flexible loads and local generation – helping to call upon DERs less often while achieving better results. It complements rate-centric approaches like time-of-use rates and discounted overnight EV charging with more active control. 

Importantly, our approach is grid-aware, meaning that our software considers current grid conditions (see investment #1 above) when determining how to dispatch devices. This “grid-aware orchestration” unlocks the opportunity to use DERs to actively manage feeder-level network capacity in addition to reducing network-wide peak demand.

Screenshot showing multi-level coordination between G&T provider and distribution utility

4) Manage distribution network capacity

For utilities who are seeing rapid load growth in their communities, managing the pace and cost of expanding grid capacity can be a major challenge. Upgrading equipment via line reconductoring or the upsizing of transformers requires significant time from specially-trained team members, whose time is already in demand. By comparing forecasts for net loading with equipment ratings, our software enables operators and planners to work together to serve more load with existing infrastructure.

At utilities who’ve deployed an ADMS, this approach includes bolstering communications between the ADMS and the edges of the grid. We aggregate meter and DER data to the appropriate level, typically the service transformer, for ingestion into the ADMS. This increases the performance of ADMS applications, such as FLISR, by providing more accurate inputs that available via static load profiles.

In addition, we’re working with utility partners to enable DERs to provide services in wholesale (or ISO) markets. Our use of operating envelopes provides the foundation for coordinating dispatch of DERs between distribution and transmission system operators, ensuring safe, reliable service even while devices are serving multi-party needs. This is the crux of the FERC Order 2222 implementation – and is a major focus of our work with investor-owned utilities.

Partner with Camus

The four investments we’ve highlighted represent stepping stones on the path to becoming a Distribution System Operator.

By enabling visibility to the grid edge, accelerating interconnections, orchestrating DERs, and actively managing distribution network capacity, your utility can be well on its way towards achieving the DSO vision.

Our team at Camus has the technology and expertise to provide the reliability, scalability, and security that your utility needs to leverage DERs as grid assets. We can deploy within months, helping your utility save money faster and kickstart your DSO transformation.

Ultimately, we’re proud of the success of our utility customers and eager to partner with like-minded utilities to bring the DSO future to more communities. If you’re interested in learning more, contact our team.

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