The United States remains at the epicenter of demand response (DR) activity worldwide but Asia is the next frontier, with demand response poised for significant growth in countries including China, Singapore, India, and Malaysia, according to a new tracker from Navigant Research.

Presently, outside the U.S., there are only a few dozen DR programs, in countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, and Saudi Arabia.

“With energy demand in the region expected to increase 2.1% per year through 2035, governments in Asia-Pacific have strong reasons to encourage the adoption of DR,” says Eric Woods, research director with Navigant Research.  “The largest countries in the region, including China and Japan, are already taking active steps to introduce DR programs. Moreover, South Korea is looking to expand its existing DR offerings, while India, Singapore, and Malaysia are running demonstration projects to test various DR strategies.”

The study identifies 1,364 programs from around the world, almost 95% of which are offered in North America. At the same time, a large number of DR pilots are underway across Europe, and are expected to be completed in 2014. Many of these demonstration projects are part of smart city initiatives in countries such as the United Kingdom (Low Carbon London), the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland – and many of them have a strong focus on energy efficiency, which reflects the impact of the energy and climate change regulations by the EU and national governments.

When categorized by market model, on a worldwide basis programs identified as addressing capacity and economic market objectives represent a total of 54% and 44% respectively of all programs, while the ancillary services market is relatively small, accounting for just 1.4% (19 programs).