- By incorporating new energy management capabilities through the use of sensors, analytics and smart controls, buildings have the potential to become significant grid resources according to a Monday report by the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO).
- Grid-interactive efficient buildings (GEBs) could have "far reaching electricity policy and regulatory implications" if they are able to optimize the demand and supply functions they potentially offer, according to the report.
- The Brattle Group in June estimated that in 2030 cost-effective load flexibility potential in the United States could reach 198 GW, or about 20% of national peak load, delivering more than $16 billion in annual savings in 2030.
Buildings could be the next big grid resource, according to a growing body of energy research.
Both commercial and residential buildings "will allow American businesses and families to save energy and reduce their utility bills without impacting comfort or productivity," according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Building Technologies Office. NASEO says GEBs can "advance the integration of variable and distributed energy resources into our energy systems."
Looking out to 2030, Brattle says the majority of flexible load potential "is in new emerging load flexibility programs, which will be enabled primarily by smart thermostats and Auto-DR — gateways to accessing electrified building load."
DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is spending millions to enable buildings, fleets of equipment and other building assets "to deliver services to the grid while maximizing energy efficiency" and "enabling buildings to function as 'virtual' storage devices to reduce the total capacity of grid storage needed to meet the needs of a utility."
NASEO's state briefing notes 83 GW of flexible load could be harnessed in 2030 through "emerging load flexibility enabled by new technologies and supportive policies, regulations, standards, and analytical approaches."
To maximize the potential of GEBs, NASEO said states and localities "should be informed and deliberate in considering actions to support load flexibility implementation."
States should also consider developing a road map to increasing load flexibility through data collection, project analyses, public input, established goals and outreach.