Electricity is generated at a power plant and transmitted to various local areas where transformers turn it into usable voltage where it is then distributed to buildings through high voltage transmission lines, also known as the power grid. The power grid handles loads of electricity that consumers demand. The minimum predicted amount of power that the gris needs to handle is known as the baseload. Of course the power grid will need to handle more at times, such as in the afternoon and evening as well as throughout different seasons. These increases in power that are fairly consistant are known as peak usage times. When consumers turn on something that requires electricity they demand it, and the amount of people that require electricity at once is the demand load. The more people that require electricity at once puts a higher demand load on the power grid. Demand response allows this demand load to be decreased.
Writing about demand response meant more than learning about consumer energy demands — it meant learning about the power grid, how the grid responds to consumer consumption and how it could respond if it were a bit smarter. The current power grid, it turns out, is not smart, nor is it big into communication. Demand response is a way for consumers to make smarter decisions about energy consumption, as well as for the grid to do the same. A smart grid could tell you that you’re using your dishwasher at a peak energy usage time and if you wait a few hours there will be less demand. A smart grid could also be able to shift power from one source to another to avoid energy depletions that cause brownouts and blackouts. A smart grid could also be a green grid, balancing energy output from fossil fuel-driven power generators and renewable energy sources. Why haven’t we implemented this?
During peak usage times the demand is high and the supply is smaller for each consumer. This can cause problems such as brownouts, black outs, and power interruptions. As a nation we could build more power plants to decrease these problems, but that would cause an increase in environmental problems which has recently become a concern for the entire world. So the other option would be to work with the power plants we have and try to make the system better. Demand response programs do not worsen the environment and are used only temporarily or occasionally to decrease the times demand load at peak times of usage.
So far there is no conclusive research showing how demand response programs will effect the economy or environment but based on research there are positive outcomes that can be assumed. If more consumers become aware of this idea and its effects it allows them to be more conscious of when they use electricity , which in turn could cause consumers to conserve additional energy. The less power that we consume lessens the pollution generated. When plants are generating peak power the tend to generate more pollutants then plants that generate power at smaller demand times.
Currently power plants have a high demand load and the demand is expected to rise by 40% by 2030. We need to find ways to relieve stress on the power grid as well as reduce green house gas emissions and the cost of energy. The power outages could be from losing power supply, malfunctioning power grid, or discrepancy with supply and demand. These power outages are not only inconvenient but causes many businesses to lose money.
In 2003 the United states, with a population of 280 million people, used 3883 kWh. Consumers must pay for the kWh that they use, an average of 8.3 per hWh. The price paid varies because it is determined by regulation, fuel cost, weather, time of day and demand. These demand response programs allow consumers to save money. If a person were to install a Time of use meter into their home they could track the kWh usage each day/year. Tracking their usage lets consumers shift their usage patterns from peak times(high price) to lower price times. Demand response is important to solving the infastructure problems that arise. The system could sense demand load problems and reduce power in strategic place,s preventing power failure.
A new model of demand response is the smart grid that connects to smart buildings. It is a new version of the current power grid that is a two way power system through provider/consumer. structure is like the internet. it would be a web of access points that could be identified and contacted. through the contact points the grid would automate the flow as needed and could isolate load problems and handle uneven supplies of energy from renewable sources like wind and solar.If the building is not up to date with the smart grid it is essentially pointless because it can not respond. When smart buildings are hooked up to a smart grid, the building responds to information from the grid. the building will automatically react by reducing power usage, if the consumer requires the electricity they can still increase there electricity if need be. This is still being tested and studied but so far when this was used, in a year long study it caused an average decrease of 10% on electricity bills, and a 15% reduction in peak load usage.