25 October 2017

Using demand-side management to solve UK energy problems

Options Winter 2017/18: Demand side management has been recognized as a powerful tool to balance the grid and help the transition to a more sustainable system, but it will need a regulatory framework.

© sirastock | Shutterstock

© sirastock | Shutterstock

As countries around the world look to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, they are changing the traditional supply and demand of energy resources. In the UK, increasing supply of renewable energy and integration of new consumer technologies, such as electric vehicles, small-scale solar and wind renewables, is challenging the way electricity is traditionally balanced in the grid.

Demand side management (DSM) has been recognized as a promising solution to overcome the challenge of balancing the grid. Operation of flexible consumer technologies can be shifted in time in order to coincide with renewable electricity generation. However, most existing models focus on an isolated system, whereby a single aggregator coordinates a pool of homogenous consumers.

In a new study, Dina Subkhankulova and her coauthors showed that DSM can lead to negative consequences such as increased system demand peaks and higher electricity prices, as a result of electricity utilities using it as a tool to compete in the market.

"If done well, demand side management can serve as a powerful tool to balance renewables in the grid and help the UK transition to a more sustainable system,” explains Subkhankulova, who participated in the IIASA Young Scientist Summer Program in 2016. “However, when considered in the context of competing electricity utilities, DSM could lead to negative effects for the whole system. We argue that a relevant regulatory framework for DSM is likely to be required in the future.”

Text by Jeremy Summers

Further information

Subkhankulova D, Baklanov A, & McCollum D (2017). Demand Side Management: A Case for Disruptive Behaviour. In: Advanced Computational Methods for Knowledge Engineering. Eds. Le, Nguyen-Thinh, van Do, Tien, Nguyen, Ngoc Thanh & Thi, Hoai An Le, pp. 47-59 Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing AG. [pure.iiasa.ac.at/14688]

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Last edited: 14 November 2017


Artem Baklanov

Research Scholar

Exploratory Modeling Of Human-Natural Systems Research Group

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