Navigant Research Blog

Demand Response Momentum Gathers

Brett Feldman — December 6, 2013

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released its 8th annual Assessment of Demand Response and Advanced Metering in October.  A few areas worth highlighting include advanced meter installations, DR program growth trends, DR events during summer 2013, and North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) Demand Response Availability Data System (DADS) results.

The penetration of advanced meters is up from approximately 9% in 2009 to nearly 25% in late 2011/early 2012.  As of June 2013, approximately 12.8 million advanced meters were installed and operational under the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) program.  Ultimately, 15.5 million advanced meters are expected to be installed and operational under SGIG.  All SGIG projects are expected to reach completion between 2013 and 2014.  Overall, the penetration is increasing, but the pace of new installations is slowing down as SGIG funds wind down.

Since 2009, demand response (DR) potential in organized markets operated by the regional transmission organizations (RTOs), independent system operators (ISOs), and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) increased by more than 4.1%.  The potential increased by 6.3% from 2010 to 2011 to 32.5 GW, but fell in 2012 to 28.3 GW, a year-on-year decrease of 12.9%.  As a percentage of peak load, DR potential decreased by 0.7 percentage points from 2011 to 2012.  The main area attributed to the drop is PJM, where the old Interruptible Load as a Resource (ILR) program ended and was replaced with the Reliability Pricing Model (RPM) in which DR has to bid 3 years in advance.

DR Rising

DR resources made significant contributions to balancing supply and demand during system emergencies for several RTOs and ISOs in the summer of 2013.  Heat waves in the eastern United States in the third week of July and in mid-September drove demand for electricity to record levels in some areas.  NYISO activated DR every day for a full work week in July downstate and for 2 days in a row for the entire state.  In PJM during that same week, resources were dispatched for several days in multiple zones, mostly in its Eastern territory.  ISO-NE almost escaped that week without calling on DR, but on Friday afternoon it did need to do so.  CAISO issued calls for consumers to voluntarily reduce electricity use in July due to high temperatures.  Then, after the normal DR summer season was done, a late heat wave in September led PJM to activate DR, and it got the largest amount it has ever received.  In general, summer 2013 was not considered an extremely hot one, so it seems DR deployments are increasing as the technology becomes more deeply incorporated into the markets.

In March 2013, NERC published early stage Demand Response Availability Data System (DADS) results for 2011 summer and 2011-2012 winter.  There were 527 DR deployments during summer 2011, with 6.46 million DR resources enrolled during summer 2011 and 5.34 million during winter 2011-12.  Clearly, DR is not just a summer resource anymore, as places like ISO-NE and ERCOT have dispatched it during winter cold snaps.

Overall, opportunities exist for DR to expand, but there are some headwinds, as discussed in my previous blog on November 19.

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