Recent findings from Navigant Research indicate that demand response (DR) is poised to take over the world as a solution to electric grid instability. Growing integration of intermittent renewable energy generation into the grid, and problems arising from aging infrastructure, make a perfect niche for DR programs in almost every electricity market. Navigant estimates that demand response load curtailment will skyrocket from a 2013 estimate of 57,764 megawatts (MW) to 140,472 MW by 2020, as the chart below illustrates.
So why does demand response play such a prominent role in our future electric grid? There are four excellent reasons.
1 – SECURITY
The number one role of demand response is to relieve the grid of stress at critical times when it is at risk of blackouts or voltage fluctuations. Because energy infrastructure in the United States, and in many places around the world, isn’t updated enough to meet today’s enormous demand for electricity, there is a need for an emergency program like DR to save communities and businesses from the damages resulting from power loss. Ever since DR programs have been implemented, countless blackouts and brownouts have been averted. This prevents damage to home and business equipment and keeps our power grid secure as we work on improving our infrastructure to 21st century standards.