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Growth of Demand Response Programs

February 2nd, 2021

How does Demand Response work?

Our energy infrastructure is changing, and there’s greater demand on our grid, so managing supply and demand is crucial. Increased demand has been impacted by a number of factors including:

  • Ageing coal power plants
  • Transition to new and variable renewable energy power supplies
  • Increasing population growth

Managing demand in peak times is critical to avoiding blackouts and power shortages, especially over hot summers. 

Demand Response programs adjust energy demand, rather than the costly process of increasing supply of energy. By reducing or shifting demand, we can increase the efficiency of how we use our power. This enables the grid to be reliable and flexible. 

Successful DR Programs around the world

Through Demand Response (DR) programs, large energy customers voluntarily reduce or change their power usage at peak times. Examples of this include:

  • Running high energy equipment outside peak times.
  • Reducing air conditioner temperatures by a few degrees.
  • Switching to on-site solar and battery storage systems.

DR Programs also offer payment schemes to large energy users to make these changes. New revenue streams are created, as well as accessing reduced off peak energy prices.

As a result of successful DR Programs around the world, the “Australian Renewable Energy Agency” (ARENA) partnered with the “Australian Energy Market Operator” (AEMO) to run a three-year trial program in Australia. Through similar DR programs, New Zealand has successfully met more than 16% of peak demand, and the UK 10%. The USA, Canada, and Japan have also sucessfully implemented DR programs with great results.

What are the benefits? 

High energy users can improve efficiency, and gain financial benefits, by being rewarded for making small changes to electricity usage. Many large energy retailers, tech companies, networks, and large industrial energy users signed up to ARENA’s program. Savings from this program are 200 megawatts, enough to power 220,000 homes for an hour! Small changes can make a big difference.

Automating Demand Response

How can we manage our energy usage?

Energy customers can automate their demand response through a range of technology devices and consulting services, including: 

  • OhmConnect provides consumers with alerts on when energy is switching from renewable to fossil fuels, and pays customers for reducing electricity useage. 
  • Solar Analytics provides solar customers with data on high energy-consuming appliances, alerts on peak times, managing loading shifting, and managing generating and selling power back to the grid.
  • Energy Consulting companies provide large business customers with technology and services, helping customers make informed decisions about how they generate, store and manage energy, as well as reducing costs.  

Growth of new skills and jobs 

As we’re coming to the end of ARENA’s 3-year trial DR program in Australia, candidates with skills and experience in Demand Response are highly sought after. According to LinkedIn, only 400 candidates across Australia have experience working in DR programs, and the talent pool is growing at only 6%. Reduced immigration of experienced candidates due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has further slowed the growth of this talent pool.

For candidates looking to gain skills in DR, or businesses looking to upskill their team, LinkedIn Learning and Coursera provide short courses. A number of podcasts such as “The Interchange” and “Energy Central” also provide insights and updates on Demand Response. 

Demand Response is critical to the reliability and flexibility of the grid. As we manage the transition to renewable energy we expect to see increase demand for candidates with experience in DR. 

Advance Careers – Energy Experts

As experts in energy recruitment, Consultants at Advance Careers are deeply embedded in the sector and have an engaged network of candidates with unique skills.  Contact us for a consultation on how to attract and engage candidates for demand response and other energy programs. 

Follow us on LinkedIn to keep up to date with the latest news, insights and developments in renewable energy careers.