Demand Side Activities for Electric Load Reduction

University dissertation from Department of Energy Sciences, Lund University

Abstract: The research described in this thesis, focuses on some activities on the demand side that could reduce peak load in electricity system by using consumer flexibility i.e. by increasing the demand side response to signals coming from the energy market. The major objective is to test and analyse different strategies to reduce peak load at the demand side considering their techno-economic, environmental and behavioural aspects. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods were used, including the detailed energy use data evaluation, direct and indirect load control experiments and interviews with residential and commercial consumers and utilities. One general conclusion of this research process is that there's a lack of knowledge and information on load demand variation and its consequences both on the consumer side and the utility side. New automated interval metering technologies enable 'visibility' of electricity use, however this potentially valuable information is rarely analysed and used. Modern metering and communication systems enable utilities to perform direct load control measures and to automate demand response. As the experiments with direct load control at residential consumers show, these measures could be implemented without significant comfort losses for the consumers. However, the value of this kind of demand side actions needs to be clearly expressed or quantified both for consumers and the supplier. Indirect load control with the help of various types of pricing is possible, but needs to have more significant financial motivation for the consumers than the present offers give. The results of the analysed examples of a tariff with a load demand component indicate that consumers' electrical expenses have to be more considerably reduced if they are to significantly 'improve' the consumption patterns. Utilities, for example one of those analysed in our case studies, may not assess indirect load control as a reliable resource. Therefore the integration of direct and indirect load control measures could be an attractive solution for them. Load reduction strategies at the demand side could influence the environmental performance of an energy system by decreasing emissions and preventing the distortion of territories. Nevertheless, it should be emphasized that the environmental effects depend on the prevalent generation and transmission system and could be different on different levels - regional, national and local - as the analysis example of the Swedish case, described in this thesis, shows. Load management and demand response could be considered as a socially responsible behaviour rather than only a solution to techno-economic problems of an energy market. The results of this research showed interesting examples proving that certain residential and commercial consumers are willing to participate in demand response programs from a corporate social responsibility point of view.

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