Approaches for Accommodating Demand Response in Operational Problems and Assessing its Value

Publication: ResearchPh.D. thesis – Annual report year: 2016


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This thesis deals with the development of operational models of demand response and the evaluation of this novel resource within existing frameworks for power system dispatch and market clearing.

Increasing shares of power generation from variable renewable sources, and climate change policies that discourage the use of fossil fuel intensive power plants, are among the factors that are currently driving the evolution of power systems towards greater flexibility. Activating the latent flexibility of electricity consumption through demand response can contribute towards facilitating this evolution. However, before the necessary investments can be made to establish and operate this novel resource, its value must be determined.

As with all current power system resources, if distributed demand response is deployed on a large scale it will be required to interface with the power system and market operators through established frameworks. Such frameworks are not suited to interaction with large numbers of individual flexible loads, so it is necessary to establish a representation of their aggregated flexibility that can be effectively communicated to system and market operators. In this thesis we introduce the concept of a saturation curve, which represents the flexibility offered by a broad class of flexible loads capable of providing load shifting demand response: thermal-electric loads such as refrigeration and heating. From this saturation curve we extract dispatch and market offering structures for demand response that respect the physical characteristics and constraints of the individual flexible loads within an aggregate population, while being limited in complexity to that allowable within current operational power system frameworks.

An evaluation of demand response must consider both the social welfare value it generates by reducing overall power system operation costs, and the commercial value it can accrue by participating in competitive electricity markets. Social welfare value provides an indicator of the viability of any new power system resource, but does not guarantee that the necessary investments will be made to establish and operate the resource. A positive commercial assessment will signal to investors that the resource can offer a return on their investment, and that it can thrive in a competitive environment. We consider both the social welfare and commercial value of demand response in this thesis, by simulating the deployment of our specialised operational models of demand response within power system dispatch frameworks and by developing innovative trading strategies for demand response on the day-ahead and intraday markets.

We find through the combined modelling and analysis contained in this thesis that the value offered by demand response is very low under current power system conditions, and when it is restricted to operating within existing operational frameworks. Prices and costs on the studied power systems are insufficient to allow demand response to generate significant value or revenue through energy arbitrage or load curtailment. This does not rule out that there maybe certain power systems, or sections thereof, that are currently experiencing sufficient resource scarcity to result in a favourable environment for the successful implementation of demand response. At the current time however, our research finds that the outlook for the widespread deployment of demand response is poor.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKgs. Lyngby
PublisherTechnical University of Denmark (DTU)
Number of pages237
StatePublished - 2016
SeriesDTU Compute PHD-2015
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