Electricity systems are designed to meet peak demand — the maximum load during a specified period, typically in summer — even if that demand occurs only a few hours in a year. Yet most evaluations of electricity efficiency programs focus on reductions in annual energy use. However, these efficiency programs are also delivering peak demand savings at an affordable cost.
A new study by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) explores the program administrator (PA) cost – or the cost to implement an energy efficiency program to a utility or third party administrator – of saving peak demand through efficiency programs for electric utility customers. Berkeley Lab collected data on costs, annual energy savings, and peak demand savings for electricity efficiency programs for 52 utilities and other program administrators in 15 states between 2014 and 2018. The analysis focused on eight program types that represent 68% of the peak demand savings for the utilities and program administrators studied. The findings improve our understanding of which energy efficiency programs produce the most peak demand savings and their cost performance.