Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What is this Term…Demand Response?

In the realm of energy efficiency the term demand response is being brought up more every day. Many business owners and/or homeowners do not know what the term means. Well let me dive in and break down what demand response is and how you can benefit.

What is demand response? Demand response, in lamens term, is when a customer gets paid for not using energy. These utility programs work to actively engage consumers in how they modify consumption, all while reducing peak demand and avoiding system breakdowns. Customers are able to receive incentives or discounts for participating in demand response programs through their utility supplier.

So how does demand response work?   For those not in the utility industry here is the cliff notes version of how demand response works. A utility offers credits to a consumer to install an automated device on an outside air conditioning unit. The utility is then able to turn the unit off at intervals of peak demand. Some individuals do
not care for the automated program controlling   their energy usage so utilities do offer other programs that fall under demand response. Other systems can detect when energy is at a high usage point, and then reduces voltage without cutting power altogether. [i]

Why is demand response important? Demand response is the country’s current answer to increasing energy demand.  By participating in demand response you are actively helping our utility grid work more efficiently. Predictions are that demand response can cut up to 15% of energy demand in the U.S. all while helping to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Oh and the savings of about 50% by only decreasing power use by 5% does not hurt either.

What’s the future of demand response?
The idea of demand response seems to be spreading faster than wildfire, pardon the phrase Californians. Automakers are now working on the idea for electric vehicles. Several utilities have run tests to see if cloud computing would be compatible in transporting a message directly to electric vehicles. The message is designed to ask that the car’s owner briefly suspend charging to boost grid stability. If the car owner agrees to participate, they are compensated for their energy reduction.[ii]

Whether you are a fan of the idea or not, demand response will be something to keep your eye on in the future. With the developments in only the past couple of years I am sure that there will be a lot more to come down the road.        

[i] “Demand Response- An Effective Program To Reduce Costs And Help The Environment”, Nov. 3,2014,
[ii] “ The Newest Demand Response Participant: Electric Vehicles”, November 2, 2014, ctive

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