For anyone who worries about global warming and wants to see more renewables integrated into our grids because of it, demand-side management may be about the greenest choice there is. After all, carbon dioxide accounts for 82 percent of greenhouse gases, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. And utilities are the biggest carbon polluters, responsible for some 40 percent of carbon emission, says the same source.
Given these statistics, why back up a clean, renewable resource such as solar or wind power with spinning reserves from fossil-fuel-based electricity generation?
One utility in New Brunswick has successfully proven that you can back up intermittent wind power with demand management. When you do, you displace the need for spinning reserves in traditional fossil-fuel-based power plants. By one estimate, that could save spare the environment some 5,500 tonnes of greenhouse-gas emissions for every megawatt of capacity delivered with demand-side resources.
What’s more, there is a huge amount of capacity yet to be tapped through process storage, or demand management of the processes and flexibility inherent in industrial loads. Here’s a look at the calculations provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Lab.
iIf this topic interests you, you'll also probably be interested in reading this more in-depth white paper on leveraging the distributed energy resource power inherent in process storage to keep the grid in balance.