The Grid & Demand Response

The Grid & Demand Response

We conduct groundbreaking research on energy storage and distribution, informing a wide range of stakeholders through research, development, technical assistance, policy and standards.

What Is Demand Response?

Demand Response Research Center

For the latest news, research presentations and reports, please visit the Demand Response Research Center site on this site:

Demand response happens when a utility, aggregator or grid operator induces electricity customers to change their usual power consumption patterns through financial or other incentive. Our group's research touches on various facets of demand response programs, which can help the grid operate more efficiently, reliably and with more renewable energy systems.

Communications & StandardsCommunications & Standards graphic

We are helping to increase participation and lower costs of demand response programs with automated communications and standards. Since 2003, our researchers have helped develop an open, interoperable and secure automation and communication infrastructure called Open Automated Demand Response (OpenADR). OpenADR, now a national smart grid standard in the U.S. and gaining international adoption, facilitates reliable and cost-effective signals of electricity price and system grid reliability, allowing facility operators to automate their responses.

Demand Response Resources

We are helping shed light on the potential market for demand response resources and how to help them operate more effectively. Recent improvements in broadband communication allow the faster coordination of demand response resources such as commercial building HVAC or refrigerated warehouse end-uses, so that loads can be dispatched as needed to maintain grid reliability. We are exploring how much demand response is available in the future as new technologies and new markets create more flexible end-use loads. Learn more in this presentation from BTUS Division Director Mary Ann Piette.

Utility systems are being challenged by the need for greater energy generation capacity, alongside the integration of variable energy supply sources such as wind and solar. Because buildings account for 75 percent of U.S. electricity demand, there is a clear opportunity to leverage energy-efficiency building operations and energy-flexible building operations to more effectively use renewable generation and reduce periods of high stress on the grid. A framework developed by researchers at Berkeley Lab and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory quantifies the grid resource from buildings. Learn more about grid-efficient buildings in this presentation from research scientist Jared Langevin.

A National Roadmap for Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings (GEBs). The Roadmap is a comprehensive plan describing the value that grid-interactive efficient buildings can add to the power system, their technology attributes, and recommendations for addressing the top barriers to GEB adoption and deployment. The report finds that, over the next two decades, GEBs could deliver between $100 and $200 billion in savings to the US power system and cut CO2 emissions by 80 million tons per year by 2030, or 6% of total power sector CO2 emissions. The Roadmap also provides 14 recommendations for addressing the top barriers to GEB adoption and deployment. The Roadmap and supporting technical appendices are available at

Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicle charging port

While electric vehicles help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the power demand to charge them may have adverse effects on the grid, overloading the distribution system. However, these same load sources can be turned into valuable grid resources with advanced controls and communication. Our research helps evaluate and demonstrate the potential of electric vehicles as electricity storage resources for a number of grid applications, including fast demand response, wholesale ancillary services and behind-the-meter services.


Understanding Electricity MarketsUtility Markets graphic

We integrate our technical expertise with analysis to identify market and policy barriers for demand response. Research focuses on how price and reliability signals can be communicated reliably; how facilities can respond automatically when prices vary hour-to-hour, day-to-day and over time; and how these concepts can be used to improve grid stability and facilitate the integration of renewable energy. 

Testbed, Tools & Guides

Our researchers have developed a number of tools and guides for evaluating and implementing automated demand response in the market place. The Demand to Grid Laboratory offers a working environment where interoperability of OpenADR-enabled devices and systems can be developed, tested and demonstrated. We are testing the use of OpenADR integrating FLEXGRID's new electric storage and PV systems with FLEXLAB®'s building loads.

Mechanical Engineer
Research Scientist
Research Scientist
Senior Scientist