To effectively decarbonize the electric sector, utilities will need to address the growing load shape challenges driven by the variability of many renewable resources. Behind-the-meter solutions, such as energy efficiency, demand response, electrification and storage, will play an important role in grid stability, but only if they can deliver changes in demand that meet the time and locational needs of the grid. Smart meter interval data, combined with open-source methods and software, can provide transparent measurement of savings load shapes (resource curves) that enable the integration of demand flexibility into energy, capacity and carbon markets, and as a transmission and distribution resource. This allows utilities to procure demand flexibility in the same way they procure other resources by leveraging a price signal and pay-for-performance to drive innovation and attract private investment.

This article (subscription or purchase required) was part of a special issue of Electricity Journal on the topic of energy optimization, guest-edited by RAP staff.