Can Auto DR Meet the Needs of Renewables?

LBNL lays out the needs and challenges facing the demand response industry.

Katherine Tweed: August 31, 2012

About a year and a half ago, we wrote about the challenges of integrating renewables with demand response. It’s still tough stuff, but new research is digging in and providing a roadmap on how to get there.

States with high renewable portfolio standards -- and California in particular -- are looking at how to balance all of their new, intermittent wind and solar power. One study found that California would need up to 5,000 megawatts of regulation and other ancillary services to meet its goal of 33 percent renewables by 2020.

Additional ancillary services could be met by traditional generation -- but there will be a need for other options, especially cost-effective ones like demand response, the art of turning down power use to balance the grid. That's cheap -- about one-tenth the installed cost of grid-scale battery storage, for instance, and pretty competitive with its natural competitor, natural-gas-fired peaker plants.

Read more . . .