Advanced metering infrastructure solution provider Aclara has released a white paper that explores the market drivers, available technologies and the business case pertaining to the implementation of load control programs at electric utilities. The white paper is entitled “The Technology, Business and Market Cases for Load Control.”
The white paper examines the factors driving adoption of load control programs, including aging infrastructure, demand volatility, wholesale price instability, the growth of renewables, energy-efficiency regulations and market mechanisms for procuring energy and capacity.
It also describes the benefits and business case for load control solutions using the example of a highly successful program implemented by one of the nation's largest electric utilities. By employing an opt-in load control program for short periods, the utility is able to help ensure the most effective procurement and delivery of electricity to 4.9M households.
"Demand response and load control programs are key for utilities to be able to reduce electricity consumption during peak hours by controlling the operation of certain household appliances," said Kumi Premathilake, senior vice president, advanced metering infrastructure for Aclara. "When employing such programs, utility companies can reduce peak-period loads to ensure grid reliability while reducing the need to purchase energy at high peak prices, hence benefiting both utilities and their customers."
The white paper also specifies the load control technologies – from communications networks, hardware to software – necessary to implement these programs. It also notes the necessity of adopting two-way, low-latency networks for advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) so that utilities can conduct meter reading and load control without impacting system performance. Reliability, availability and low known latency are critical to achieving the desired load shed in the required time to be effective.