You are here

A National Forum on Demand Response: What Remains to Be Done to Achieve Its Potential

In July 2011, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) staff and the Department of Energy (DOE) jointly submitted to Congress a required “Implementation Proposal for the National Action Plan on Demand Response.”  The Implementation Proposal was for FERC’s June 2010 National Action Plan for Demand Response.

Part of the July 2011 Implementation Proposal called for a “National Forum” on demand response to be conducted by DOE and FERC. Given the rapid development of the demand response industry, DOE and FERC decided that a "virtual" project, in which state officials, industry representatives, members of a National Action Plan Coalition, and experts from research organizations would work together over a short, defined period to share ideas, examine barriers, and explore solutions for demand response would be more effective than an in-person conference. To help answer what remains to be done with demand response, working groups were formed in the following four areas. Preliminary and final results of the working groups are available for downloading by selecting each group below.

  1. Framework for evaluating the cost-effectiveness of demand response
    Demand response programs have the potential to provide utility system and societal benefits, in addition to their main purpose of improving the economic efficiency of the electric grid. Utility regulators and policymakers are interested in the costs associated with these potential benefits and many states require cost-effectiveness screening for specific demand response options prior to implementation by utilities and others. The working group started with existing demand-side program cost-effectiveness frameworks and then discussed the ways in which costs and benefits of demand response might require special consideration in applying the frameworks.
  2. Measurement and verification for demand response resources
    As with energy efficiency, electric grid operators and planners, as well as their regulators, must have confidence that demand response resources will be there when they are needed, just as power plants and power lines must be ready when needed. This working group looked at the status of efforts to measure and verify demand response resources, and then provided a path forward towards analytically valid, widely accepted demand response measurement and verification protocols or best practices.
  3. Program design and implementation of demand response programs
    Demand response is implemented through a wide variety of programs offered to electricity customers.  What are some of the various program approaches and what have we learned?  This working group has developed program case studies via interviews with demand response practitioners and program administrators to provide a look at some current “on the ground” practices and lessons learned. Building on that information and with input from the members, the working group is now developing program design and delivery tools and guidance documents.
  4. Assessment of analytical tools and methods for demand response
    Decision-making surrounding the planning, supply, and delivery of electricity to the U.S. economy can be quite involved and complex.  Decisions around the use of demand response can also be complex.  Analytical tools and methods specific to demand response exist to help those involved with demand response, but those needs are changing as additional opportunities have opened up in wholesale and retail electricity markets for demand response resources.  The working group focused on two key questions related to existing and future analytical capabilities services and tools for demand response: (1) What gaps, if any, occur in demand response capabilities, services, and tools? and (2) What types of tools would best be developed to support frameworks for demand response planning, program design, cost-effectiveness screening, and measurement and verification of program impacts?