News Article
May 29, 2014

Demand Management and Distributed Generation: Unlocking the Potential

Unlocking PotentialDemand management and distributed generation could transform how consumers interact with the electricity grid and manage energy. Energy consumers may be shifting to view themselves as both consumers and increasingly as suppliers - with renewable energy generation on-site and demand response capability.  This new consumer model and the concept of a distributed energy system may be disruptive to the traditional utility model.  It also changes the operation and management of the U.S. electricity grid. The Institute for Building Efficiency and the 21st Century Power Partnership hosted a Roundtable Dialogue on how utilities of the future can adapt to capture the greatest benefits for consumers and utilities without adversely impacting reliability, price and power availability.

Experts from business, government labs and non-government organizations discussed key challenges and needed innovations on the path to realizing these concepts’ potential in developed and developing countries. They explored a variety of critical questions, including:

  • Government policies: How can the co-benefits (e.g. emission reductions, grid resiliency) be captured? What changes are needed to build these approaches into the operation of wholesale markets? Who pays for grid modernization and demand management integration?

  • Business models: How can utilities transition to a services-oriented business model? What will their rates look like? What will the return on investment be for purchasers of demand management technologies?

  • Technology: How can highly specific needs be met (e.g. enabling demand response in developing countries’ window air conditioners)? How can broader actions be advanced, like planning for efficiency in total operations and not just in equipment or systems?  

Wider adoption of demand management and distributed energy requires the engagement of all stakeholders – utilities, consumers, technology companies, regulators and government agencies.

Resources:
Dialogue Summary: The Role of Demand Management in the Utility of the Future  >>

May 2014

 

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