Demand side management: Benefits and challenges
In this paper, the major benefits and challenges of electricity demand side management (DSM) are discussed in the context of the UK electricity system. The relatively low utilisation of generation and networks (of about 50%) means that there is significant scope for DSM to contribute to increasing the efficiency of the system investment. The importance of the diversity of electricity load is discussed and the negative effects of DSM on load diversity illustrated. Ageing assets, the growth in renewable and other low-carbon generation technologies and advances in information and communication technologies are identified as major additional drivers that could lead to wider applications of DSM in the medium term. Potential benefits of DSM are discussed in the context of generation and of transmission and distribution networks. The provision of back-up capacity by generation may not be efficient as it will be needed relatively infrequently, and DSM may be better placed to support security. We also present an analysis of the value of DSM in balancing generation and demand in a future UK electricity system with significant variable renewable generation. We give a number of reasons for the relatively slow uptake of DSM, particularly in the residential, commercial and small business sectors. They include a lack of metering, information and communication infrastructure, lack of understanding of the benefits of DSM, problems with the competitiveness of DSM when compared with traditional approaches, an increase in the complexity of system operation and inappropriate market incentives.
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