Demand Response - the new plan to cope with extreme energy peaks

Great to see AEMO, The Australian Energy Market Operator and manager of the National Electricity Market, finding different ways to deal with Australia's extreme weather events that don't involve new fossil fuel generation.

"We need to find new, smarter ways of coping with spikes in demand and volatility as we move towards an electricity system with more variable renewable energy supply," said AEMO Chief Executive Audrey Zibelman last month.

One of these smarter ways is a pilot plan for a demand response initiative to manage electricity supply during extreme peaks. This involves paying consumers to reduce their energy consumption on request during peak periods or emergencies, freeing up electricity supply during extreme weather and unplanned outages.

Demand response programs are already commonly used in other countries.

"From Texas to Taiwan, demand response has been proven to be a cost effective way to manage demand at peak times and acts as a contingency to avoid disruptive power outages," Ms Zibelman said.

Under the program, energy users who subscribe will receive incentive payments to be on standby in emergencies or peak demand days funded by ARENA. During an emergency or extreme peak, those who participate could be called upon by AEMO to switch off or reduce their electricity use temporarily, and would receive a further compensation payment.

The program is expected to be open to demand response aggregators, large industrial and commercial users, battery storage and smart thermostat companies and will involve both commercial and residential consumers.

Habitech houses will be able to take advantage of this initiative, with internal systems easily able to buffer out extreme heat for a period of time if any cooling is turned off by the power authority. 

More information from AEMO here