Demand Response in the Residential Sector: A Critical Feature of Sustainable Electricity Supply in New Zealand
The world summit on sustainable development in Johannesburg concluded that changing unsustainable patterns of energy use is a key area for global action to ensure survival of our planet. Demand response in the residential sector can play a key role in ensuring a secured and sustainable electricity supply by reducing future investments in generation and interconnection capacity and hence reducing the growth of electricity price and the development impacts on land and CO2 emissions. Further, demand response capability would increase the resilience of the power supply system to shortages, thus improving the security of supply and energy services. Demand side management has been used successfully over several decades to manage base-load demand growth, and to shift loads from peak to off-peak times. Demand response to reduce consumption at peak times on the network has been largely aimed at large industrial and commercial users. Information barriers and the lack of understanding of residential consumer behavior in responding to price signals has impeded development of effective response strategies and new enabling technologies in the residential sector. In this paper, we discuss some of the key social and behavioral issues that are being explored in order to achieve effective demand response. The research objective of the present work is to explore the peak hours demand response elasticity to price, environmental impacts (CO2 intensity of generation), and social factors (risk of brown-outs and black-outs). These three elasticities are being measured by surveys of different residential households using a survey designed for the purpose. The project aim is to use this information, plus modelling of household activities and energy services to develop concepts for innovative engineering solutions to demand response through targeted communication of information about the supply system.