Profiting From Energy Flexibility
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As record heat waves strain infrastructure across North America, demand response, battery storage, and wind and solar electricity are demonstrating their value to local communities and the grid. Here, we highlight specific recent examples of how these resources worked together to avoid grid emergencies.
July 2023 was the hottest month on record for the planet, as well as many states and regions in North America. Specifically, areas like Texas and Arizona have been under a heat dome that set records for the most 100+ degree Fahrenheit days in a row for over 30 days, at the time of this writing. The extreme heat is challenging the grid, residents, and businesses in these regions.
However, the situation could have been much worse if the grid did not have enough generating capacity and demand side resources to meet soaring consumer demand for power to keep the lights on and air conditioners running.
Let’s look at several examples where this record heat has threatened grid disruption, but the grid bas been able to ensure continuous service so far – due to better planning, the continued support of organizations leveraging their energy flexibility through demand response, and the integration of renewable energy and battery energy storage systems (BESS).
Over the last two months, from June 2023 through August 2023, the Texas grid has witnessed record-breaking activity. As we saw at the end of June, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) reported a new record peak demand level of 80,828 GW on Tuesday, June 27 – breaking the previous all-time record from just last year. Now, at the time of this writing, ERCOT broke the peak demand record nine times since the record was set in June 2023. On August 10, 2023, ERCOT registered its highest ever peak demand – 85,435 MW.
This unprecedented demand has been largely due to the heat dome that has been crushing the southern United States, causing residents and businesses to rely on air conditioning to stay cool. Resources like demand response, energy flexibility, battery storage, and wind and solar electricity are proving their value this summer, helping the grid remain reliable.
Citing a specific example, ERCOT’s grid was pushed to its limits on August 17, 2023, as reserves ran low due to increased demand. To prevent an outage, ERCOT engaged its emergency system. Working together, demand response, battery storage, and renewable energy assets from Enel prevented a grid emergency: