Demand Response & Smart Grid

The majority of our work falls into the following three areas:

Primary Research on Design, Implementation, Evaluation, and Cost Benefit Analysis

Electricity Markets & Policy (EMP) works with utilities, independent system operators (or ISOs), and regional transmission organizations (RTOs) to help electric industry policymakers and stakeholders better understand key elements of demand response (DR) rate and program opportunities—as well as technologies enabled by advanced metering infrastructure—by conveying results of our analysis, experiences, and best practices in the following areas:

  • Design
  • Implementation
  • Customer acceptance, retention and response
  • Consumer behavior 
  • Automated control technology
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Evaluation, measurement and verification methods

Policy Analysis and Technical Assistance

EMP provides technical and policy support to state regulatory commissions and energy offices concerning implications of regulatory and policy decisions on demand response resource potential, goal setting, and program design and implementation issues in the following areas:

  • Time-based rate and incentive-based program designs
  • Customer acceptance, retention, and response
  • Consumer behavior
  • Automated control technology
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Evaluation, measurement, and verification methods
  • Linkages between retail and wholesale DR markets
  • Analytical tools and methods

Integrating Variable Renewable Generation

Renewable resources offer substantial clean energy benefits, but their integration into the grid presents multiple challenges. EMP seeks to understand the role demand response and technologies enabled by advanced metering infrastructure can play in managing the integration of variable renewable generation assets, and to assess and overcome barriers that could prevent these resources from reaching their full potential.

For more information, see this presentation that introduces our main research products for decision makers.

Behavior Analytics

Behavior analytics encompasses an emerging space where data science, energy choices, and economics intersect. New “smart” technologies provide high-frequency energy usage information that, together with cutting-edge analytics techniques, provide insights into how people make energy decisions. EMP employs sophisticated statistical techniques and objective, rigorous, and creative research methods to expand and refine data science, develop innovative analyses, uncover insights to inform public policy, and provide guidelines and best practices for analytics and program evaluation.

SGIG Consumer Behavior Studies

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is working with several Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) award recipients who are conducting special studies to examine acceptance, retention, and response of consumers involved in time-based rate programs that include advanced metering infrastructure and customer systems such as in-home displays and programmable communicating thermostats. EMP was responsible for managing this effort on behalf of DOE and subsequently evaluating the data emanating from the studies to address public policy issues that could enable broader adoption of time-based rate programs.

A National Forum on Demand Response

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to conduct a national assessment of demand response potential, develop a national action plan on demand response, and work with the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a proposal to implement the national action plan. EMP led and managed working groups that examined barriers and explored solutions for demand response in four key areas: cost-effectiveness, measurement and verification, analytical tools and methods, and program design and implementation. Each working group convened state officials, industry representatives, and demand response experts to produce summary reports of key issues.

Smart Grid 101

EMP provides technical assistance on smart grid-related topics to regulators and policymakers. As part of those technical assistance efforts, in 2010 EMP started developing a series of materials for orientation and reference purposes concerning various smart grid related topics. Given the rapid change in smart grid developments the material are not intended to address the latest and greatest in smart grid technologies; rather, they address core issues and provide links to key reference documents.



Satchwell, Andrew, and Ryan Hledik. "Making Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings a “Win” for Both Customers and Utilities." 2022 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings 2022.
Cappers, Peter, and Andrew Satchwell. "EV Retail Rate Design 101." 2022.




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