Demand response programs pay participants to curtail their electricity use on demand. Utilities and power system operators use them to relieve stress on the grid and reduce the need to build new power plants; they may also help utilities balance intermittent sources of renewable energy as they are integrated into the power mix.
Programs vary widely in terms of advance notice (from seconds to a day) and length of time reduced usage is required (from seconds to hours), but the most advanced and highest-paying programs provide the least notice and require advanced automation. In automated demand response (Auto-DR) programs, for example, a business’s system and the utility or grid operator’s system “talk” with each other using a standard such as Open Automated Demand Response (OpenADR), with a Smart Demand Response Automation Server (Smart DRAS) client providing a dynamic connection.
Spara DM™ responds automatically to events according to rules and schedules the facility sets, allowing energy-intensive businesses to participate seamlessly in the most challenging programs, including Auto-DR; synchronous reserves, which typically provide 10 minutes’ notice for 10- to 30-minute curtailment events; and frequency regulation, which requires response within seconds to events lasting from seconds to hours.
Businesses can balance production needs against energy costs and program revenues because the system allows users to adjust load control strategies for each demand management application and price level.