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Commentary

Demand Response In Demand

Demand response is in demand, according to a new federal report. That's good news for operators of data centers, disaster recovery, and business continuity sites, and large users of electricity.
Demand response is in demand, according to a new federal report. That's good news for operators of data centers, disaster recovery, and business continuity sites, and large users of electricity.Greater availability of demand-response programs increases the likelihood that fewer peak-demand power plants will be built, while encouraging users to curtail their energy consumption. However, there continue to be regulatory and financial hurdles: Cost-savings initiatives cost money to implement. (The Federal Energy Management Program (FERC) offers a state-by-state map of energy-efficiency funds and demand-response programs.)

According to the FERC report, 2008 Assessment of Demand Response and Advanced Metering, 8% of U.S. energy consumers are in some kind of demand-response program and the potential demand response resource contribution from all such U.S. programs is close to 41,000 megawatts, or 5.8%, of U.S. peak demand. This represents an increase of about 3,400 MW from the 2006 estimate, says FERC. The largest demand response resource contributions are from the Middle Atlantic, Midwestern, and Southeastern regions of the United States.

The report also notes that in the past year, Colorado, Maryland, Ohio, and other states promoted demand response through utility regulation legislation.

The growing popularity of demand response has been mirrored in recent announcements by two of the largest solution providers, Boston-based EnerNOC and Energy Curtailment Specialists (ECS), headquartered in Buffalo, N.Y. EnerNOC said last week that it has been selected by Phoenix-based Salt River Project to provide up to 50 MW of demand-response capacity under a three-year contract. The contract contains an option to extend, at Salt River Project's discretion, the initial three-year term for an additional three-year period or longer. ECS, for its part, announced that in only one summer season -- June to September 2008 -- it recruited about 350 commercial customers to take part in Kansas City Power & Light's MPower Program. Combined, the businesses represented more than 30 MW of on-call load reduction. They were called on four times in that period to cut power.

Editor's Choice
Mary E. Shacklett, President of Transworld Data
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer