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The technology >> the economics >> the challenge

The technology

Dynamic demand control is a technology that can be incorporated into electrical appliances and light industrial plant which enables them to provide important services to the power grid such as peak load management and second-to-second balancing of supply and demand.

Any electrical device that is time-flexible (in other words, is not too sensitive to when its energy is delivered) could be used. These could include industrial or commercial air conditioners, water heaters and refrigeration. Thousands (and eventually millions) of such loads acting in aggregation to could provide an extremely simple and cost-effective way of helping to manage the power grid. To date, Dynamic Demand has focused its attention on the potential for such services in relation to domestic and industrial refrigeration.

Research is becoming available which indicates that an aggregation of such 'intelligent' loads could be extremely beneficial, for example, by smoothing out the minute-to-minute and hourly variations in demand on the grid. This would replace certain types of back-up generation and hence increase efficiency. In future, the technology could be used to smooth the supply from renewable power. This could theoretically allow a greater amount of renewables to be connected.

If dynamic demand control is successful, the benefits could be considerable:

  • A more efficient power grid.
  • A more stable power grid.
  • The creation of new sustainable businesses.
  • Significantly reduced carbon-dioxide emissions from power generation.
  • Removal of some of the barriers to a higher proportion of renewable energy.
  • A reduction in the cost of renewable energy.

See a 60-second explanation here.

Large numbers of appliances operating under dynamic demand control could also prevent power blackouts. Such appliances could also provide "black-start recovery", which means helping the system to recover after serious power outages.

Next (the economics) >>


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Dynamic Demand is an independent not-for-profit organisation
set up by a grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and supported by charitable donations.