Welcome to our inaugural issue of Demand Side Update. This e-newsletter and accompanying “Customer Solutions Center of Excellence” is brought to you by Penton Media, reaching the facilities owners and managers in the government, industrial and commercial sectors.
With the emergence of the smart grid, electric utilities can no longer be content to make money the old-fashioned way -- by merely generating electricity and dispatching it to customers for a fixed fee.
So what has changed?
A couple of things. Regulators have set high renewable energy and demand side targets. And now utilities find they must respond by coming up with new ways of simultaneously engaging both generators and consumers.
The editors of Demand Side Update are tracking initiatives at the federal and state level that promote demand response to help us balance the system that now includes mandated renewable portfolios. As we bring more intermittent renewable energy onto the grid, demand side solutions will move from “nice to have” to an essential slice of our energy pie.
But for demand response to flourish, we need regulatory support, a clear business case, field-hardened technologies, proper financial incentives, and the right mix of participating customers. And we need to execute both flawlessly, on the customer premises and at the utility dispatch center.
So how might demand side solutions play out?
We will see innovative financial offerings including time-of-day rates, dynamic rates, interruptible rates, HVAC rates and even EV charging and discharging rates. And we will see consumers installing smart circuit breaker panels with meter-grade consumption data tied back to the utility for billing purposes. And consumers will have access to intelligent energy systems with dashboards that enable them to see the true cost of electricity consumed at the device level from minute to minute.
Armed with a bevy of smart apps, properly equipped and financially incented consumers can now calculate the payback period for energy investments such as ground-source heat pumps, lighting retrofits, process heat and high efficiency motors.
Our industry is moving to deliver financially attractive, seamless, worry-free, secure and guaranteed demand side solutions that will enable energy consumers to play a critical role in determining our energy future.
Expect to see aggregators and service providers rise to the challenge in in cementing the utility/consumer relation by bringing mutually advantageous solutions to the DR marketplace.