In the Nick of Time: Aiming for Efficiency’s Highest Value

November 21, 2019

Berkeley Lab presents a free webinar on December 4, 2019, to discuss a new report, Time-Sensitive Value of Efficiency: Use Cases in Electricity Sector Planning and Programs.

Who: Natalie Mims Frick and Lisa Schwartz, Berkeley Lab
          David Nemtzow, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
Date: December 4, 2019
Time: 9-10 a.m. Pacific

The report can be downloaded here

Most energy efficiency measures produce energy savings that vary over the course of a year. The value of the hourly electricity savings also varies over the course of a year—even on a per megawatt-hour basis—because the cost of generating, transmitting and distributing electricity during peak demand periods is often significantly higher than during off-peak, or lower load, hours for most U.S. regions.

Yet many electricity planning and program activities across the United States are missing this temporal element. Several electricity system trends further highlight this gap, including increased adoption of distributed solar and energy storage, electrification of buildings and vehicles, and declining costs of generation from natural gas, wind and solar.

Knowing when energy efficiency occurs and the value of the energy or demand savings to the electricity system—the time-sensitive value of efficiency—provides decision-makers with key information needed to procure the optimal amount and type of energy efficiency for their jurisdiction.

The report identifies five use cases for the time-sensitive value of efficiency; energy efficiency program planning and evaluation, electricity resource planning, distribution system planning, rate design, and state activities (see table); reviews methodologies to incorporate the time-sensitive value of efficiency with illustrative examples and explores practices and options that jurisdictions can consider adopting.

In addition, the time-sensitive value of efficiency changes over the years. For example, advances in building controls and automation can shift electricity consumption to lower-cost time periods, changing building load profiles. DOE’s Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings initiative considers how buildings with grid-connected devices and multiple types of distributed energy resources may provide continuous demand flexibility in the future to support a broader range of grid services.

In this webinar, researchers will discuss ways that states, regional grid operators, utilities and other program administrators can advance consideration of the time-sensitive economic value of energy efficiency to achieve their energy goals.

The report authors are Natalie Mims Frick and Lisa Schwartz in Berkeley Lab’s Electricity Markets and Policy Group. The Building Technologies Office of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy supported this work.