Leveraging AMI for demand response


paul grod

Conference: Smart Metering Canada 2007
Location: Toronto, Canada
Presenter: Paul Grod
Abstract: Presented by Paul Grod at Smart Metering Canada 2007

Demand Response (DR) is quickly emerging as a viable and economical solution to Ontario’s power supply challenges. DR provides both the flexibility to address immediate system constraints and an environmentally friendly and cost effective alternative to new large-scale generation projects.  Opportunities for Demand Response programs vary depending on the sector involved. Existing programs offered through regulatory agencies such as the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) focus largely on the industrial sector given that these consumers’ operations are more power-intensive.

Recent technological initiatives have provided the opportunity for the expansion of DR in the commercial and residential sectors. These sectors are responsible for approximately 70% of Ontario’s electricity usage. Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and the onset of sub-metering have enhanced DR capabilities with the improved data flow and remote accessibility. The two-way communication enabled though AMI allows for the efficient monitoring and verification of the DR event, the ability to control loads remotely and the broadening of the scope of loads available for inclusion in a Demand Response Program. With automated DR potential, load consolidation minimizes the impact on the consumer, while maximizing the benefit to all consumers though increased system capacity and reduced price volatility.

However, insufficient regulatory infrastructure is limiting the potential impact of AMI for the delivery of DR programs. Demand management requires efficient management. The market for DR in the province at present is ill-defined. Current programs are piecemeal in nature. Effective coordination among the stakeholders would facilitate the easy integration of Demand Response into Ontario’s power supply mix. Education to generate awareness of the benefits of DR over building new generation would enable DR providers to more actively engage consumers in the DR process. Third party load aggregators hold the key to establishing an effective marketplace for DR in the province. Above all else, Demand Response has both a cost and a value. Incorporating these realities into program design and building sufficient infrastructure would enable Demand Response to reach its full potential and provide needed flexibility in system planning as the industry evolves.