Field Testing of Telemetry for Demand Response Control of Small Loads

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The electricity system in California, from generation through loads, must be prepared for high renewable penetration and increased electrification of end uses while providing increased resilience and lower operating cost. California has an aggressive renewable portfolio standard that is complemented by world-leading greenhouse gas goals. The goal of this project was to evaluate methods of enabling fast demand response (DR) signaling to small loads for low-cost site enablement. We used OpenADR 2.0 to meet telemetry requirements for providing ancillary services, and we used a variety of low-cost devices coupled with open-source software to enable an end-to-end fast DR. The devices, architecture, implementation, and testing of the system is discussed in this report. We demonstrate that the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Home movements provide an opportunity for diverse small loads to provide fast, low-cost demand response. We used Internet-connected lights, thermostats, load interruption devices, and water heaters to demonstrate an ecosystem of controllable devices. The system demonstrated is capable of providing fast load shed for between $20 and $300 per kilowatt (kW) of available load. The wide range results from some loads may have very low cost but also very little shed capability (a 10 watt [W] LED light can only shed a maximum of 10 W) while some loads (e.g., water heaters or air conditioners) can shed several kilowatts but have a higher initial cost. These costs, however, compare well with other fast demand response costs, with typically are over $100/kilowatt of shed. We contend these loads are even more attractive than their price suggests because many of them will be installed for energy efficiency or non-energy benefits (e.g., improved lighting quality or controllability), and the ability to use them for fast DR is a secondary benefit. Therefore the cost of enabling them for DR may approach zero if a software only solution can be deployed to enable fast DR after devices are installed for other reasons. We recommend that the DR research community continue to engage with the IoT community to encourage the use of documented and open development interfaces. A library of device drivers and machine-readable interface specifications would significantly reduce the burden on users or system integrators for deploying systems in large numbers of buildings in California.

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