Building Grid Resilience Amid Climate Change

Three energy trends to watch in 2024.

One of the things I enjoy most about living in Southern California is the weather! I love that I can snowboard in the mountains and surf in the ocean on the same day. In fact this hobby is called “the California Double.” Unfortunately, shifts in weather caused by climate change have warmed Southern California more than the rest of the state, threatening this hobby of mine and many other ways of life.

This is one of the reasons why I spend my working days at Resideo Grid Services obsessing about the science and correlation between weather and energy. We're in the middle of a planet-altering climate change. The fossil fuel energy we have historically used to heat or cool our homes and power our cars is causing a change in weather patterns and Climate Change, which in turn puts extreme strain on our electric grid. 

Two of the main opportunities that need to be solved are how to decarbonize our sources of energy and ensure load flexibility by building systems to shift energy consumption based on the availability of the preferred energy sources. 

2023: The Hottest Summer on Record

July 2023 was confirmed to be the hottest month on record, and August was the 534 th consecutive warmer-than-average month, spanning a stretch of more than 44 years, according to t he National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This caused massive strain in places like Texas. 

At the end of August, Hurricane Idalia slammed Florida as a powerful Category 3 hurricane and was the strongest storm to strike the state’s Big Bend region in 125 years, and many communities experienced prolonged power outages. 

Yet, during that trying period, the utilities that Resideo Grid Services team works with called very few grid emergencies. Why? Because we called well over 1,000 Demand Response (energy-shifting) events across hundreds of thousands of smart thermostats in 44 different programs, shifting an estimated 8.6 GWh of energy, which is the equivalent output of 29 million solar panels for an hour. 

We’ve been running HVAC Demand Response events for more than a decade, and July and August 2023 topped the list for volume and impact as a result of the increased temperatures. And what’s even more important, none of our utility partners needed to institute rolling blackouts to meet demand because we remained a reliable capacity resource. 


Historically, Resideo’s Energy Management technology helped lessen the impact of grid emergencies during several of the news headline-making situations: Winter Storm Uri that hit Texas in February 2021, and this September’s unrelenting heat and other conditions combined to create the first ERCOT emergency in 30 months. 

In these emergency scenarios, the technology and supporting team contributed to efforts that shifted enough energy load around to reduce or avoid the need for rolling blackouts, which helped keep homes safe and comfortable and possibly even saved lives during these extreme conditions. 

U.S. Energy Market and the Impact of Renewables 

The U.S. electric grid is the largest and most complex machine ever created by man, and it needs to adapt to meet ever-changing energy demands driven by evolving consumer consumption and severe weather patterns intensified by climate change.

Building grid resiliency amid electrification and climate change relies on: 

  • More efficient energy use.
  • Smarter energy-consuming solutions.
  • Intelligent whole home energy optimization (arguably, the most important element).  

Through proprietary algorithms and load-sharing technology, we optimize connected devices for automated energy-efficiency programs with excellent results. The following are three areas I’m watching as we look ahead and plan for additional energy and weather-related changes: 

1. Partnerships: Companies and Standards Driving Electrification. A key element of stabilizing the grid counts on companies coming together. We recently announced major relationships that will continue to help re-define energy management in the home: Ford and the EV-Home Power Partnership, The Home Connectivity Alliance(HCA), Samsung SmartThings, A.O. Smith, Voltus and CPower, with more on the way. 

Creating energy-focused ecosystems between trusted global brands can help stabilize the electrical grid and prepare it for more renewables, deliver cost savings for consumers, and help slow the impact of climate change. According to Parks Associates, there is a strong overlap with security and smart home households and solar panel ownership: 17% of security system owners report also owning solar panels, compared to just 3% of households without a security system.

2. Reliability: Virtual Power Plants. The cornerstone to Resideo’s smart energy management technology is running Demand Response on residential HVAC due to the proliferation of smart thermostats, the large size of the load, and its direct correlation to peak demand on the grid. While the virtual power plant concept is becoming more common, Resideo has been a pioneer in this space, having managed residential Demand Response programs for more than a decade with partners like Leap, Google Nest, and ecobee. 

Other DERs (Distributed Energy Resources)—like electric vehicles—are important and will be a big part of the future of load management, but HVAC will remain the most valuable grid asset for quite a while. Resideo remains focused on expanding our DERs capabilities while managing HVAC load because controlling a whole-home portfolio of loads can help stabilize the electric grid when it’s needed most.

3. Flexibility: Energy Pricing and Demand Shifts. As renewable energy continues to expand, many Demand Response events we manage are moving from late afternoon to early evening. This shift is due to the changing dynamics of the grid. 

While in the past, most events’ primary concern was addressing capacity shortages during peak demand, we now see responses occurring more quickly to accommodate the decreasing rate of solar generation. 

We have also observed that prices in energy markets in which we participate, like ERCOT and CAISO, are now much higher later in the day than they used to be (when aligned with the peak in demand that historically was 4-6 p.m.). Resideo has adapted our platform's control strategies around this shift to optimize the value of our resources

The Energy Management team is committed to shaping a whole-home, energy-optimization solution for future generations. In the face of increasingly severe weather events [driven by climate change], we will continue to harness the power of big data to help power communities, shift demand, and help balance the grid. 

Our programs are evolving. We know there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to managing individual energy consumption. We hope to broaden the opportunities we bring to customers so they can tailor their level of participation to what works for them and their families, to make it easier for everyone to contribute for the long run.

Because it’s true what they say … whether I’m balancing on a surf or snowboard, or tweaking algorithms that balance the grid during emergencies … it’s all a big balancing act. 

To learn more about how Resideo is making a difference, read Resideo’s recent Environmental Social Governance (ESG) report here

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