Demonstrating Load-Shaping Capabilities of Cost Minimizing Heat Pump Water Heater Controls with Varying Price Profiles

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Conference Paper

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Increased penetration of photovoltaics and electrification of traditionally gas appliances are exacerbating existing challenges in cost-effectively balancing electricity grid supply and demand. Decarbonization without incurring expensive transmission and distribution system capacity increases requires shifting building loads from peak demand times to peak renewable production times. Grid operators are evaluating new ways of encouraging load shifting, including using time-varying price structures to provide a financial incentive. If devices incorporate price-responsive controls, a price profile could be designed to yield a wide variety of load curves as needed to optimize grid functionality. Heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) are an ideal device for price-responsive controls because the storage tank enables them to optimize the timing of electricity consumption without impacting hot water delivery service. This paper presents work demonstrating how price-responsive controls for HPWHs can provide different load profiles, as needed to stabilize the grid, in response to different price profiles.

HPWH manufacturers now include web API and CTA-2045 communication capabilities which enable sending load shaping control signals. Pilot studies and preliminary programs have utilized these capabilities with uniform control strategies to reduce 4-9 PM electricity consumption. However, no studies have developed flexible controls capable of both a) responding to constantly varying price profiles and b) customizing logic to match the needs of each HPWH. Berkeley Lab's CalFlexHub project is pioneering price-driven load flexibility by developing and deploying cost-minimizing controls utilizing setpoint setting signals for fleets of HPWHs in response to varying price profiles. Control development is based on simulations using the Flexible Heat Pump Water Heater Performance Predictor which captures the control decisions of a residential, integrated HPWH manufacturer’s on-board controller. The proposed cost-reducing controls respond to constantly changing price profiles, providing the ability to change the price profile to generate load curves as needed to maintain grid stability. Preliminary simulations studying the load shaping capabilities of price-responsive controls on a fleet of 60 HPWHs have demonstrated an average of a) 135.4% increases in load during low-price periods, b) >36.8% reductions in electricity peak-price period, and c) 6.2% electricity cost savings.


2023 ASHRAE Summer Conference

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