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Why Demand Response Is Important In Summer 2022

As temperatures heat up, demand response becomes more important. Find out why DR is becoming a more helpful tool, and how Enel X can help you enroll.

May 13, 2022
  • Summer is approaching, and with it comes what is typically the busiest season for demand response. 
  • In preparation for the coming season, we wanted to take a moment to thank our demand response customers for their contributions to a more stable grid.
  • Now is a great time to enroll in many demand response programs. Try our demand response calculator to get a quick estimate of what you could earn or contact us to learn more.


The Growing Value of Demand Response

Last year, distributed energy resources like demand response were important tools for utilities and grid operators across North America. In fact, we’ve seen a trend of rising use of demand response in our data – in a sample of programs Enel X participates in, we’ve seen events double since 2018.


One of the largest increases in dispatch frequency has been in our ancillary demand response programs. These programs can be very financially lucrative for organizations and provide the utilities immense value due to their fast response to help balance the immediate needs of the grid. Ancillary demand response programs are growing in importance because of the increased flexibility they provide and changing grid conditions. 


It’s clear that demand response is growing in importance, for a wide variety of reasons. Part of it is the increased flexibility offered by demand response as the grid changes, and part of it is a growing variety of programs and the participation of DERs. But increasing extreme weather is a notable part of it, as well.


Summer Weather and the Electric Grid

Summer hasn’t yet officially begun, but there have already been notable early highs – Southern California, for instance, saw a heatwave in late April. And Texas has already seen “unseasonably hot” weather, during which ERCOT asked residents to “conserve power when they can.”


While it’s impossible to say with certainty what weather lies ahead this summer, there are reasons to think demand response will be as helpful as ever this year. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), for instance, said in its December 2021 Long-Term Reliability Assessment that the rapid change of the grid could create challenges, in tandem with the growth of extreme weather.


The report notes that “there is a high probability of insufficient resources and energy to service electricity demand, as early as Summer 2022, in many parts of the Western Interconnection,” adding that all interconnections will face increasing reliability issues over the next 10 years.


John Moura, director of Reliability Assessment and Performance Analysis for NERC, summed up the report by saying that “when we look at events over the last several years, it is clear that the bulk power system is impacted by extreme weather, and that is happening more often.”


There have been a variety of significant weather events in recent years, both in summer and winter -- for instance, California’s 2020 wildfires or Texas’s Winter Storm Uri in February 2021. And demand response has been a helpful tool in responding to these emergencies.


After the Texas winter storm, ERCOT’s study of the performance of Emergency Response Service (a demand response program in Texas) found that “as a fleet in aggregate, ERS (Emergency Response Service) loads generally over-provided relative to their combined obligation during the Winter Event. On average, fleet-level ERS Load reduction was 30%-35% above the combined fleet-level obligation during the first 12 hours after the first deployment.”


Demand Response Customers Make an Important Contribution

Demand response customers are paid for their efforts, but the benefits go beyond those payments. Organizations that participate are contributing to a more stable grid at times when the grid may be stressed. As summer approaches, we want to take a moment to recognize our customers and their efforts.


For instance, during 2021’s Winter Storm Uri in Texas, Enel X customers went above and beyond, with most going well beyond their obligations. During the extreme event, many organizations made notable sacrifices to help the grid return to normal by curtailing their load the entire time. Enel X is proud to work with such dedicated organizations and appreciates the efforts they’ve made.


While grid emergencies are rare, certain extreme weather conditions can make grid emergencies more likely, and the events in California and Texas demonstrate the real value of demand response: to provide support to help create a more stable grid and keep local communities running smoothly.


Find out more about how you can earn new revenue in demand response by helping to provide critical flexibility to the grid.