Historically, demand response (DR) did not rely on real-time, accurate data in order to meet the needs of the utilities and system operators that ran DR programs. It was mostly used for peak load reductions, which meant there were long lead times and events that lasted several hours. Operators did not require immediate performance measurements to ensure system reliability; they could see the aggregated system load shape and determine with enough accuracy whether the desired reductions were occurring. Settlement of DR performance and payments could wait several weeks or months until customer meter data was available and baseline measurements could be calculated. Such was the world before advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), real-time communication capability, and fast-response DR programs and markets.
The use of DR in grid planning and operations has solidified as utilities increasingly rely on DR to meet installed capacity requirements and sometimes even operating reserve requirements. Furthermore, independent system operators (ISOs) led by PJM have incorporated DR into procurement mechanisms for capacity, energy, and ancillary services. DR has been active in the synchronous reserves market in PJM for several years, providing up to 25% of the requirement at times. The frequency regulation market has shown signs of growth for DR, particularly since ISOs implemented FERC Order 755, which affords greater compensation to faster-responding resources.
Such fast-responding programs require more robust data and communication infrastructure than in the past, and such upgrades are typically much more expensive but can be offset by increased program revenue opportunities. PJM recently approved a measurement and verification methodology to allow residential DR to participate in the synchronous reserve market based on sampling of meter data rather than every house needing full-blown metering.
Another aspect of data enhancing DR is on the program management side. AMI data gives utilities near real-time views to customer usage in order to forecast loads and availability of DR resources. On the back end of a DR dispatch event, the utility can see almost immediately if it is getting the desired response and react as needed if not, as opposed to flying blind in the past without a means to make dynamic decisions.
The benefits of data even flow into DR program design and outreach. It enables actions such as targeting and geo-targeting for maximum value and the use of smart data in resource potential studies. It helps in developing DR and other distributed energy resources (DER) such that their impacts can be identified at the grid level for functions like integrating DR with other DER (i.e., distributed generation, storage, and renewables) to assess synergies and interactions and use grid-level data combined with customer use data in analyses. The accuracy of virtual audits based on AMI data is still being tested, but is now used to target which customers are likely to benefit most from DR. This can reduce the costs of implementation, provide greater savings, and increase the value of a program.
The topic of data in DR will be addressed in the upcoming webinar, The Rapid Telemetry Edge: Market Trends and Technology Drivers for High Performance Demand Response, on August 18 featuring Silver Spring Networks and Navigant Research.
Tags: Advanced Metering Infrastructure, Demand Side Management, Distributed Energy Resources, Utility Transformations
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