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12/15/21 Paula Glover, President, Alliance to Save Energy
We Have The Tools: Let’s Make 2022 The Year Of Demand Flexibility
The past year has been a whirlwind for anyone in the energy and environmental space – and perhaps the most pivotal year yet for the transition to a clean energy economy.
That’s why I’m thrilled to be marking the end of this year with the launch of a first-of-its-kind tool from our Active Efficiency Collaborative: the Demand Flexibility Valuation Report. This interactive tool provides customized, practical assistance to our energy sector’s decisionmakers – such as utilities, regulators, policymakers, and system operators – helping them to better value demand-side resources as an essential tool in the energy transition. I believe this launch is the perfect way to celebrate the coming new year – because after a fast-paced year with all eyes trained on Capitol Hill, this tool reorients our gaze to energy efficiency’s future. Let me explain what I mean – and why I think you’ll find your time exploring the report well-spent.
Demand flexibility is the capability to reduce, shed, shift, or modulate electricity consumption in a way that is beneficial to both consumers and the power system. It is a critical tool for helping to ensure the energy transition can take place rapidly without compromising on reliability or energy affordability, and a key part of Active Efficiency – recognizing that efficiency is no longer just about how much energy is used, but when it is used. The technology for widespread demand flexibility, such as smart thermostats that can shift heating and cooling away from times of peak demand, or two-way chargers for electric vehicles that can send electricity to or from the grid based on supply signals, largely exists today and is getting better all the time. Like the technology, our methodologies for assigning value to demand flexibility are rapidly improving, e.g., placing value on a demand flexibility program based on the transmission and distribution investment it could help to avoid.
The problem is that while the tools might be there, the benefits are still not widely known. Deploying effective demand flexibility programs across different geographies, market structures, and energy goals requires clarifying demand flexibility’s benefits and important considerations to numerous stakeholders – some of which might not have the time to dig through 200-page reports for the answers.
The Demand Flexibility Valuation Report makes resources for valuing demand flexibility easily accessible and relevant for everyone involved. The tool allows users to indicate their interest in demand flexibility – who they are, the types of programs they’re interested in, their goals, etc. – and then outputs customized information on how to place value on demand flexibility for their purposes. It aligns with the Active Efficiency Collaborative’s purpose to break down some of the most complex topics in the energy transition and allow people with diverse points of view to speak the same language.
The tool is intended to be a living, evolving resource that we will continue to build upon with the input of our partners throughout 2022. Take a look and let us know what you think with our feedback form. The Collaborative created this tool to provide critical information about demand flexibility’s benefits and offer practical advice for developing programs and valuation structures, and its success will be measured by its use within the energy efficiency community – so please also help us spread the word with our communications toolkit!
We made enormous progress toward our energy efficiency goals after the legislative wins of 2021. I’m proud to see the Active Efficiency Collaborative keep the ball rolling with this tool that will take us one step closer to an Active Efficiency future focused on a decarbonized, resilient, and equitable energy system.