Residential Demand Response to Play Key Role Managing US Load This Summer

At-a-Glance:

Looming uncertainty about electricity demand is making flexibility more important than ever this summer, especially as residential demand response faces more pressure than usual as many people continue to work from home over the next few months due to the pandemic. As state economies open up at different times, residential demand response flexibility will remain a valuable resource for grid operators across the country. To learn more, read “Residential Demand Response to Play Key Role Managing US Load This Summer.

Key Takeaways:

  • In California, the number of third-party demand response providers registered with the California Public Utilities Commission has tripled since 2016. 
  • In regulated utility programs, Wood Mackenzie’s latest data indicates there are more than 10 gigawatts of available residential demand response in the U.S. power system.  
  • One flexibility resource that may play a particularly important role this summer is natural gas and diesel backup generators: A total of 18 percent of confirmed wholesale market demand response registered capacity comes from these sources.
  • Demand response providers may have access to load data points that utilities don’t have access to, especially when utilities don’t have advanced metering infrastructure. 

Path to 100% Perspective:

Flexibility will be key over the next few months. As distribution load becomes harder to predict due to the pandemic, targeted residential demand response may bring much-needed relief, making the months leading up to summer critical for customer segmentation and targeting for various utility programs across the country. Utility demand response and operation teams typically work in silos, but this summer, they may start working together in order to address system-level and locational needs.

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