Demand Response Offers Reliability in Unpredictable Situations

An increasing number of utilities are turning to intelligent demand-side management programs to maintain reliability and keep their customers comfortable during extreme weather conditions.
Published: Tue 18 Mar 2014

Nature is unpredictable and it is becoming even more so thanks to climate change. Evidence of this is the recent superstorms that have hit the US recently. This extreme weather can have devastating effects on the electric system so it makes sense to have reliable technology in the face of this unpredictability.

Demand Response market set to grow

Seen as one of the biggest potential solutions to managing surging power needs across the grid, Demand Response is set to double worldwide by 2020.

According to Navigant Research’s “Market Data: Demand Response” report, Demand Response sites will grow from 10.3 million today to 21.9 million in 2020, representing 155,479WM of potential electrical load curtailment.

This predicted growth is nothing to sniff at. Demand response helps grid operators keep the lights on during the summer’s heat waves when everyone switches their air-conditioners on and it assists during cold spells when heating is turned up.

Demand Response Alleviates Strain

EnerNoc’s demand response network has been widely dispatched recently to alleviate strain on the electric power grid caused by extremely cold temperatures in the US. The firm’s commercial, industrial, and institutional customers across 17 states and the District of Columbia reduced electricity consumption to help maintain grid stability, balance transmission needs, and prevent power outages.

The plummeting temperatures in the US, caused by the polar vortex, created an exceedingly high demand for electricity. PJM Interconnection, the grid operator in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, set a new winter peak of over 141,000MW-this surpassed the previous record of 136,675MW in 2007. By implementing EnerNOC's DemandSMART software, EnerNOC customers took part in ten separate dispatches to help grid operators and utilities manage peak demand, and manage other system contingencies.

Customers who participated in these dispatches were able to deliver capacity to the grid when it was most needed and they were compensated for this critical service. A win-win situation overall.

This was the largest winter dispatch in PJM history and the first time that the new Electric Reliability Council of Texas 30-minute Emergency Response Service demand response product was dispatched.

A reliable resource for utilities

Demand Response has become a reliable resource for grid operators and utilities when attempting to maintain security of supply.

Given the success of Demand Response – and especially automated programs – in stabilizing the grid during extreme weather events, it’s not surprising that more and more utilities are looking at intelligent demand-side management programs to maintain reliability and keep their customers comfortable and happy.