Potential Studies

Demand Response and Flexibility Potential Studies

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Facilitating Renewable Energy

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Variable resources such as solar and wind energy benefit from strong demand response programs, because they can help the grid adjust to meet cycles of sunshine and wind. We integrate our technical expertise with electricity market analyses to identify market and policy barriers and research directions that can make the cost of market participation in demand response more consistent with added market value.

In particular, we have evaluated the expanding role of ancillary services markets including the value of demand response for these services, the rules for market entry, and the effects that the greater electricity market structure and regulatory context has on market participation. Research focuses on (1) how the price and reliability signals can be communicated reliably, (2) how facilities can respond automatically when prices vary hour-to-hour, day-to-day and over time, and (3) how these concepts can be used to improve grid stability.

In the future, the speed of telemetry and response is expected to become a critical element for grid operations as demand response plays a moderating role with imbalances between electric energy supply and demand at increasingly smaller time intervals. Our research has identified telecommunication systems that are fast enough to provide a signaling infrastructure for existing demand response programs with day-ahead and day-of notification for events, and we are exploring what is required for even faster responses.


California Demand Response Potential Study

LBNL is leading a long-term research effort to assess the potential demand response resource in California, in support of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The California Demand Response Potential Study was designed with two goals: (1) to bridge the analysis of distributed energy resources (DERs) with grid investment and operations and (2) to communicate the results of the study clearly to power system policymakers and stakeholders who need to synthesize across those domains. 

Phases 1 and 2 of the study supported CPUC rulemaking R.13-09-011, whose stated purpose was “Enhancing the Role of Demand Response in Meeting the State’s Resource Planning Needs and Operational Requirements.”  The Phase 2 report  developed an analytic framework that grouped DR services into four core categories to address different power system needs: Shape, Shift, Shed and Shimmy. 

  • Shape captures DR that reshapes customer load profiles through price response or behavioral campaigns—“load-modifying DR”—with advance notice of months to days.
  • Shift represents DR that encourages the movement of energy consumption from times of high demand to times of day when there is a surplus of variable renewable energy (VRE) generation.
  • Shed describes loads that can be curtailed to provide peak capacity reduction and support the system in emergency or contingency events with a range in dispatch advance notice times.
  • Shimmy involves using loads to dynamically adjust demand on the system to alleviate short-run ramps and disturbances at timescales ranging from seconds up to an hour.

A key finding of the Phase 2 report from the Phase 2 report was that the Shift resource is of great value to the current and emerging electric system, representing a significant new potential area of VRE integration value. Thus, the Phase 3 study was launched to provide the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) with data-driven insights evaluating how California might use Shift DR in meeting its resource planning needs and operational requirements.

Below are links to the latest reports and data download pages from each phase of the California DR Potential Study.

Phase 1: The 2015 California Demand Response Potential Study

Phase 2: The 2025 California Demand Response Potential Study

Phase 3: The Shift Resource Through 2030

Phase 4: Report on Shed and Shift Resources Through 2050