The Role of Demand Resources In Regional Transmission Expansion Planning and Reliable Operations

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Investigating the role of demand resources in regional transmission planning has provided mixed results. On one hand there are only a few projects where demand response has been used as an explicit alternative to transmission enhancement. On the other hand there is a fair amount of demand response in the form of energy efficiency, peak reduction, emergency load shedding, and (recently) demand providing ancillary services. All of this demand response reduces the need for transmission enhancements. Demand response capability is typically (but not always) factored into transmission planning as a reduction in the load which must be served. In that ... continued below

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Kirby, Brendan J. July 1, 2006.

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Investigating the role of demand resources in regional transmission planning has provided mixed results. On one hand there are only a few projects where demand response has been used as an explicit alternative to transmission enhancement. On the other hand there is a fair amount of demand response in the form of energy efficiency, peak reduction, emergency load shedding, and (recently) demand providing ancillary services. All of this demand response reduces the need for transmission enhancements. Demand response capability is typically (but not always) factored into transmission planning as a reduction in the load which must be served. In that sense demand response is utilized as an alternative to transmission expansion. Much more demand response is used (involuntarily) as load shedding under extreme conditions to prevent cascading blackouts. The amount of additional transmission and generation that would be required to provide the current level of reliability if load shedding were not available is difficult to imagine and would be impractical to build. In a very real sense demand response solutions are equitably treated in every region - when proposed, demand response projects are evaluated against existing reliability and economic criteria. The regional councils, RTOs, and ISOs identify needs. Others propose transmission, generation, or responsive load based solutions. Few demand response projects get included in transmission enhancement plans because few are proposed. But this is only part of the story. Several factors are responsible for the current very low use of demand response as a transmission enhancement alternative. First, while the generation, transmission, and load business sectors each deal with essentially the same amount of electric power, generation and transmission companies are explicitly in the electric power business but electricity is not the primary business focus of most loads. This changes the institutional focus of each sector. Second, market and reliability rules have, understandably, been written around the capabilities and limitations of generators, the historic reliability resources. Responsive load limitations and capabilities are often not accommodated in markets or reliability criteria. Third, because of the institutional structure, demand response alternatives are treated as temporary solutions that can delay but not replace transmission enhancement. Financing has to be based on a three to five year project life as opposed to the twenty to fifty year life of transmission facilities. More can be done to integrate demand response options into transmission expansion planning. Given the societal benefits it may be appropriate for independent transmission planning organizations to take a more proactive role in drawing demand response alternatives into the resource mix. Existing demand response programs provide a technical basis to build from. Regulatory and market obstacles will have to be overcome if demand response alternatives are to be routinely considered in transmission expansion planning.

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-2006/512
  • Grant Number: DE-AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/930750 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 930750
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc898624

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • July 1, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Sept. 22, 2017, 2:17 p.m.

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Kirby, Brendan J. The Role of Demand Resources In Regional Transmission Expansion Planning and Reliable Operations, report, July 1, 2006; [Tennessee]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc898624/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.