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Electric Grid

Demand Response Research Center

In 1993 the California Energy Commission founded the Demand Response Research Center (DRRC) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Its purpose was to develop ways to reduce electricity demand in response to price, monetary incentives, or utility directives to maintain reliable electric service or avoid high electricity prices.

From its inception through 2015, researchers at the DRRC developed ways to automate demand response. They developed a communication protocol known as OpenADR to transmit demand response signals between suppliers and electricity users. OpenADR has since become a US national standard, in use in more than 1300 facilities and in 10 countries.

Researchers at the DRRC developed methods for energy users to vary electric loads in response to OpenADR signals by automatically controlling air conditioning, lighting, and process loads in buildings, industrial facilities, and agricultural operations. By 2013, working with utilities, the DRRC had enabled more than 250 megawatts of load shed capability and developed free public-access software tools to allow implementers to quickly estimate the potential for facilities to shed loads, and secure software to allow consumers to access near real-time data from smart meters. The work of the DRRC contributed to national and international efforts to create standards for a ‘smart grid’ that is resilient and can accommodate new demands such as intermittent distributed renewable energy sources and electric vehicle battery charging.

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