Research Focus Areas
Buildings End-Use Energy Efficiency Demand Response Research
Electric demand is relatively inflexible because no practical mechanism is available to determine variable electric prices and communicate them to end users. This situation forces most of the needed flexibility to the supply side, requiring excess generation resources to be kept ready for system regulation and to accommodate additional loads. The extra capacity adds cost and the lack of demand-side flexibility increases likelihood of system breakdown in emergencies. Effective methods for determining near real-time electric costs, rapidly communicating those prices to end users, automating techniques for end users to adjust energy consumption based on price, and regulatory policies which support a variable-price market for electricity are all needed to facilitate effective demand response.
Demand response can result in more cost-effective use of electric infrastructure, translating into lower costs to the ratepayer. Demand response can also help make renewable energy more effective and enhance the resilience of the entire electric system.
Demand Response Research Center
The Demand Response Research Center (DRRC), established in 2004 and managed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, provides technical, operational, and planning leadership to help develop demand response markets. The DRRC has worked to develop practical methods for end-use electric loads to respond dynamically with changing supply side conditions, and to assist electric customers to implement these solutions.
Resilience and optimal utilization of generation and transmission infrastructure through intelligence and communication are attributes of what is now called the "smart grid." The DRRC is a valuable resource for voicing the public interest to make sure that the architecture which ultimately emerges best serves the public.
Key stakeholders include the California Energy Commission, California Public Utility Commission, California Independent System Operator, investor-owned and municipal utilities, consumer groups, trade associations, technology providers, and other research organizations.