The Benefits of Demand Response Programs

What have we learned from the latest heat wave in the Northeast? As temperatures rose into the triple digit mark and demand for electricity moved higher, what are we doing to curtail usage? Few commercial buildings have subscribed to a demand response program and the residential market is still in the dark.

Demand response programs allow for buildings to be part of the smart grid and curtail their energy usage during peak demand to reduce the load on the grid. Customers can qualify for incentives from their utility companies by participating in a demand response program.

In the event of high demand on the electrical grid (like 100+ degree weather days), the utility company would call certain customers to reduce load in their building to help curtail the large demand that is on the electrical distribution system. It is a great way to try to reduce the burden of electrical generation through the utilities area. It allows plants that produce power efficiently to stay on longer and reduce the amount of power generation that is old, inefficient, and costly to the environment.

Some utilities still don’t have such a program which is counterintuitive to the larger picture of reducing costs, providing customers with costs savings options, and helping the environment.

We all need to be part of a demand response program. Why not get paid to help the environment?

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1 Comment

Filed under Building efficiency, Electrical Distribution, energy efficiency

One response to “The Benefits of Demand Response Programs

  1. Great post Michael. My firm works with Retailers and we’ve had difficulty getting them to sign up for demand response programs. They’re afraid a demand response event will force them to operate their store in a way that negatively affects the sales environment. They don’t want to shut off the HVAC system when it’s 95 degrees out or turn the lights off (also a loss prevention issue). Thus far, our retail customers are only interested in demand response programs for their warehouses/distribution centers. We’ve seen some interest from customers in Commercial Real Estate, but there too there is concern about making tenants uncomfortable. Most demand response events are called a few days in advance however, so it’s possible to prepare to lower during the event be pre-cooling the building. Tenants might be cold first thing in the morning, but they won’t notice when the HVAC isn’t running later in the day.

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