Industry Article

Demand Response Platforms: Ensuring Grid Stability Amid Escalating Heat Waves

September 05, 2023 by Jeff Hendler, Logical Buildings

Year after year, heat waves across the U.S. and around the world have intensified, placing extreme strain on power grids. Demand response platforms emerge as a promising opportunity.

This summer, over 40 million Americans were under heat advisories, leading to increased reliance on air conditioning and electric appliances, raising the risk of potential blackouts. 

Demand response platforms can help alleviate grid stress

Demand response platforms can help alleviate grid stress. Image used courtesy of Adobe Stock


The impact on energy bills and power equipment is enormous, particularly with the aging grid system facing higher temperatures, which makes the equipment work even harder. As the threat of energy instability looms, finding reliable solutions becomes crucial. Demand response platforms emerge as a promising opportunity to alleviate stress on power grids during extreme weather while maintaining efficient energy use and keeping people cool.


Global Demand for Reliable Energy

Beyond the U.S., many countries face hotter-than-average weather and additional strain on their power grids. Extreme heat conditions are becoming more frequent and intense each year, posing challenges to achieving clean energy goals. Countries committed to clean energy can benefit from adopting energy-saving solutions, as global legislation and investments in clean technologies pave the way for a more stable grid.

The main challenge for power grids during heat waves is balancing power supply and demand. Demand response programs play a vital role, offering voluntary conservation efforts that activate during critical hours. Altering energy use behavior during extreme heat conditions can significantly reduce stress on the grid during peak demand periods and reduce reliance on carbon-intense fossil fuels to meet demand. With these programs, utilities pay consumers for reduced energy use, a proven tactic that helps mitigate larger, cost-intensive infrastructure upgrades.


Incorporating Smart Technology

Integrating smart thermostats, appliances, and devices like EV chargers and battery energy storage systems is valuable in balancing a utility network and can help transform homes into virtual power plant (VPP) assets. It helps offload more demand from the grid when customers using these devices are offered financial incentives to participate in demand response and VPP programs. With more smart meters deployed in residential buildings, utilities enable residents to maximize the value of their power reductions by managing how they use individual electric appliances and tools and encouraging energy conservation when the grid needs it most.

Platforms like GridRewards, developed by Logical Buildings, offer solutions to mitigate grid stress, reduce emissions, decarbonize, and attain compliance with carbon caps and regulations by engaging users to reduce their energy consumption. This application notifies users in specific utility markets about upcoming demand response events by leveraging real-time data from utility companies and smart meters. Users contribute to stabilizing the local grid. Demand response programs offer utilities more control over the grid while avoiding the costs and time associated with building additional power plants to meet peak demand. Smart meter deployments across multifamily apartment buildings in cities like New York also help create equitable and inclusive energy management networks.  

These demand response programs work with other energy-efficiency solutions to ease strain on power grids. With power grids experiencing record demand due to ongoing heat conditions, a greater reliance on distributed energy resources (DERs), such as solar operations and energy storage systems, becomes essential. The rapid expansion of DERs is revolutionizing electricity generation, trade, delivery, and consumption. Redesigning power grids to bring generation closer to where energy is needed is crucial for achieving grid stability. Utilities and customers alike can contribute to equitable solutions for offloading demand amid continuing climate challenges by embracing technologies that address struggling power grids worldwide.