Opportunities, Barriers and Actions for Industrial Demand Response in California

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In 2006 the Demand Response Research Center (DRRC) formed an Industrial Demand Response Team to investigate opportunities and barriers to implementation of Automated Demand Response (Auto-DR) systems in California industries. Auto-DR is an open, interoperable communications and technology platform designed to:

  • Provide customers with automated, electronic price and reliability signals;
  • Provide customers with capability to automate customized DR strategies;
  • Automate DR, providing utilities with dispatchable operational capability similar to conventional generation resources.

This research began with a review of previous Auto-DR research on the commercial sector. Implementing Auto-DR in industry presents a number of challenges, both practical and perceived. Some of these include: the variation in loads and processes across and within sectors, resource-dependent loading patterns that are driven by outside factors such as customer orders or time-critical processing (e.g. tomato canning), the perceived lack of control inherent in the term "Auto-DR", and aversion to risk, especially unscheduled downtime. While industry has demonstrated a willingness to temporarily provide large sheds and shifts to maintain grid reliability and be a good corporate citizen, the drivers for widespread Auto-DR will likely differ. Ultimately, most industrial facilities will balance the real and perceived risks associated with Auto-DR against the potential for economic gain through favorable pricing or incentives. Auto-DR, as with any ongoing industrial activity, will need to function effectively within market structures.

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