Load curtailment from demand response to triple to 2020: Navigant Research

Load curtailment from demand response programs is set to nearly triple over the next seven years, growing from 57.8 gigawatts (GW) to 140.5 GW in 2020, according to a new study from Navigant Research.

Demand response programs shift load to off-peak hours as a way of managing the every-increasing demand for electricity, and have become an important part of utilities’ business strategies over the past ten years.

Originally, the technology was used to support emergency programs but it has now emerged as a critical resource in existing capacity markets and a main element of the smart grid, according to Navigant Research.

“Today, nearly three quarters of demand response activity takes place in the US,” said Brett Feldman, a senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “With a few exceptions, utilities in Europe and the Asia-Pacific have only recently become interested in using demand response to balance the supply and demand of electric power.”

“Many utilities in these regions are expected to ramp up their adoption of demand response in the years ahead.”

Navigant Research notes that one of the most important developments in the demand response market in the last ten years has been the automation of processes.

Automation involves minimal or no manual intervention, points out the market-research company, and has led to major improvements in the efficiency, cost effectiveness, reliability and speed of peak reduction and grid balancing.

Data gathered by Navigant Research indicates that more than 37,400 sites across the world were enabled for automated demand response in 2013.

It expects that figure to rise to more than 151,000 sites by 2020.