At least 13 states create incentives for utilities to use demand response programs

Practice optimizes power grid, incorporates more renewable power.

February 14, 2020 |

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At least 13 states have developed performance incentive mechanisms (PIMs) to encourage utilities to deliver energy savings at specific times to optimize the nation’s power grid, according to a report by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

“Energy efficiency and demand response are essential tools to drive down the cost and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of electricity systems affordably and rapidly,” according to ACEEE. “These services can reduce demand at specific times to optimize the power grid, which we call ‘strategic demand reduction’ (SDR).”

Utilities are just beginning to integrate SDR into their grid planning, investments, and operations. Studies indicate that demand flexibility and energy efficiency hold “vast untapped potential,” ACEEE says.

States are using varied approaches on PIMs. Some states use traditional utility procurement approaches to peak demand reduction, such as in Hawaii and Texas. Massachusetts and New York use newer methods of encouraging SDR by compensating utilities for a mix of actions and outcomes. States show increasing interest in moving demand from one time of day to another and in grid-balancing measures that target times when renewables create steep ramps in available supply.

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