A demand response and energy efficiency roadmap has been released by the California Independent System Operator Corporation (ISO) to advance the use of these resources in the state’s transition toward a more reliable and environmentally sustainable electric power system.

The roadmap seeks to build on the long use of DR and EE in California. From an operational perspective, DR resources will contribute to the low carbon flexible capacity needed to maintain real time system balance and reliability while also supporting the integration of increasing levels of renewable energy resources.

“There will come a day in the not-too-distant future when the policies, tools and processes in place will transform the electric grid in California into a highly sophisticated two-way network in which nearly everyone can contribute to the reliable and efficient management of a greener, electricity grid,” said Steve Berberich, president and CEO of the California ISO.

The roadmap identifies four integrated pathways for maximizing DR and EE solutions over the next three years:

  1. Load reshaping path – focuses on applying DR and EE resources to the demand side of the supply-demand balance equation. These resources will create a flatter load shape for the ISO system generally and, in specific geographic areas, reduce ISO operating needs and complexity.
  2. Resource sufficiency path – focuses on the supply side of the balance equation to ensure sufficient resources, with needed operational characteristics, are available in the right places and at the right times. This path includes activities that specify needed resource characteristics – as well as policy developments – to guide and facilitate DR and EE procurement and program development.
  3. Operations path – focuses on making the best use of any and all resources that are made available through the resource sufficiency path. This path is cast from a grid operator perspective. It involves changing some existing policies, modifying or developing new market products to expand DR market participation, and addressing relevant technical and process requirements to achieve operational excellence.
  4. Monitoring path – the essential feedback loop for the other three paths. Systematic monitoring of each stage of activity will foster a deeper understanding of the operational capabilities of DR resources, the effectiveness of procurement programs in aligning with system-wide and locational needs, and the impacts of EE and other load modifying programs in reshaping load profiles both locally and at the system level.

The roadmap, which is the result of a consultation, is now being used by the California ISO, the California PUC and California Energy Commission to develop a DR and EE work plan, with specific activities, milestones, and coordination dependencies across state agencies.