July 2004
News Release

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Announcing the PIER Demand Response Research Center

The California Energy Commission is providing $8 million in funding over three years to a new PIER Demand Response Research Center (DRRC) that will be managed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). PIER is the Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research program. Center activities are multi-institutional in concept and operation. LBNL is hosting the center; guiding center development and providing technical, operational and planning leadership.

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DRRC’s purpose is to develop, prioritize, conduct, and disseminate research that develops broad knowledge with the aim of facilitating the near-term adoption of DR technologies, policies, programs, strategies and practices, while ensuring that the research continues to be connected with the DR market and policy makers through substantial stakeholder input.

The new research center will serve as a focal point for Demand Response research in California. Institutions from the around the state, and the country, will be eligible to conduct R&D with Center funding. An R&D stakeholders Partners Planning Committee will oversee the strategic direction of the Center.

The DRRC will fund research in four areas:

  • Policies, programs, and tariffs—DR can be designed as an emergency-based response (applying when the grid is overloaded) or a price response such as dynamic tariffs. Research needs include better understanding how customers respond to price changes versus emergency response, and better methods of measuring energy savings from demand response programs.

  • Utility markets, technology, and systems—This R&D includes intelligent and integrated control systems for demand response control, and models of how demand response programs affect the reliability of the electrical power grid. Also needed are financial engineering models, such as option valuation models, to estimate the value of demand response.

  • Customer and end-use technology and systems—A simple example of this might be an easy-to-use computer-based system showing energy savings possible from implementing certain energy reductions at a given price of electricity.

  • Consumer and institutional behavior—These studies address how people interact with the energy system, and how energy provides for the needs and desires of people and businesses. An example would be examinations of what incentives bring customers into a demand response program, and what incentives will keep them over the long run.

An important feature of the new Center will be its close ties to stakeholders, including control, metering and information system developers; electric power utilities; policy makers; building owners, engineers, and operators; and building equipment manufacturers.

If you are interested in the DRRC, please go to http://eetd2.lbl.gov/drrc/drrc.php.

For more information on the Demand Response Research Center, see http://drrc.lbl.gov.



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