Automated Demand Response: The Missing Link in the Electricity Value Chain

Publication Type

Conference Paper



In 2006, the Public Interest Energy Research Program (PIER) Demand Response Research Center (DRRC) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory initiated research into Automated Demand Response (OpenADR) applications in California industry. The goal is to improve electric grid reliability and lower electricity use during periods of peak demand.

The purpose of this research is to begin to define the relationship among a portfolio of actions that industrial facilities can undertake relative to their electricity use. This "electricity value chain" defines energy management and demand response (DR) at six levels of service, distinguished by the magnitude, type, and rapidity of response. One element in the electricity supply chain is OpenADR, an open-standards based communications system to send signals to customers to allow them to manage their electric demand in response to supply conditions, such as prices or reliability, through a set of standard, open communications.

Initial DRRC research suggests that industrial facilities that have undertaken energy efficiency measures are probably more, not less, likely to initiate other actions within this value chain such as daily load management and demand response. Moreover, OpenADR appears to afford some facilities the opportunity to develop the supporting control structure and to "demo" potential reductions in energy use that can later be applied to either more effective load management or a permanent reduction in use via energy efficiency. Under the right conditions, some types of industrial facilities can shift or shed loads, without any, or minimal disruption to operations, to protect their energy supply reliability and to take advantage of financial incentives.

In 2007 and 2008, 35 industrial facilities agreed to implement OpenADR, representing a total capacity of nearly 40 MW. This paper describes how integrated or centralized demand management and system-level network controls are linked to OpenADR systems. Case studies of refrigerated warehouses and wastewater treatment facilities are used to illustrate OpenADR load reduction potential. Typical shed and shift strategies include: turning off or operating compressors, aerator blowers and pumps at reduced capacity, increasing temperature set-points or pre-cooling cold storage areas and over-oxygenating stored wastewater prior to a DR event.

This study concludes that understanding industrial end-use processes and control capabilities is a key to support reduced service during DR events and these capabilities, if DR enabled, hold significant promise in reducing the electricity demand of the industrial sector during utility peak periods.


2008 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings

Year of Publication



Research Areas

Related Files