In states across the nation, the electricity system is changing, presenting challenges and opportunities for the delivery of reliable, clean, and affordable power to America’s homes, businesses, and institutions. As variable renewable generation and distributed energy resources (DERs)—including energy efficiency, demand response, onsite generation, energy storage, and electric vehicles—grow, the management of electricity is becoming more complex.
Fortunately, advancing technologies open the prospect for more flexible management of building and facility energy loads to benefit occupants, owners, and the grid. The purpose of advancing Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings (GEBs) and, more broadly, demand flexibility (DF) is to optimize energy management by utilizing sensors, analytics, and smart controls to best serve the needs of occupants while considering the grid and external conditions (such as peak loads and weather). Greater optimization of the significant energy demand and supply functions that buildings offer – on an automated basis – has far reaching electricity policy and regulatory implications for State Energy Offices, Public Utility Commissions, utilities, building owners and occupants, technology and service providers, and and investors. Flexible load management can:
- Lower costs, enhance resilience, and reduce emissions
- Reduce peak loads, moderate the ramping of demand, and provide grid services
- Enhance energy efficiency and integrate distributed and renewable energy resources.
The fundamental question that arise from this opportunity are:
- How can we optimize facility interactions with the grid?
- How can states fashion policies, programs, and regulations to advance such optimization through GEBs?
- What are the roles for states, facility owners and operators, utilities, product and service providers, and others?
To help states approach these questions, the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) established the NASEO-NARUC Grid-interactive Efficient Building Working Group, with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Building Technologies Office.
Through the GEB Working Group, State Energy Officials and state utility regulators can explore GEB/DF technologies and applications; identify opportunities and impediments (technical and non-technical); identify and express state priorities and interests; inform policy, planning, programs and regulation; consider unregulated electric sector investments and implications; and advance GEB/DF road map and pilot options.
GEB Working Group activities include state interviews, webinars, and exchanges. Private sector and non-governmental organizations are also being engaged. A state GEB briefing paper and other resources have been and are being developed developed. The resources page also includes links to other NASEO, NARUC, and external papers, presentations, webinars, and other items. NASEO and NARUC are partnered with DOE and the National Laboratories to provide demand flexibility/GEB-related technical assistance (TA) to Working Group states. TA focus areas have included state and public buildings, pilot projects, state and regional GEB/DF potential, and valuation of GEB/DF grid services. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
National GEB Roadmap: U.S. DOE, A National Roadmap for Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings (May 2021)
U.S. DOE, Connected Communities (overview presentation)
- NARUC, Financial Toolbox on Electrification, addressed technology, economic, accounting, and customer considerations related to building electrification programs, including status and trends, cost-benefit considerations, and regulatory questions. Webinar May 26, 2022 recording.
- Strategen, Regulatory Sandboxes: Program Design to Accelerate Innovation for an Evolving Electric Grid (May 2022) discusses and provides cases of "regulatory sandboxes" as a tool to allow space in existing utility regulatory structures for innovative pilots, including for new technologies and business models.
- NASEO-NARUC GEB Working Group Forum on Including Demand Flexibility and Electrification in Building Codes and Building Performance Standards, May 11, 2022 - Presentation based on the State and Local Building Policies and Programs for Energy Efficiency and Demand Flexibility report followed by Chris Perry, Engineer, DOE Building Technologies Office, and Ellen Franconi, Senior Energy Research Engineer, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) on potential DF/DR-friendly provision inclusion in codes, stretch codes, and BPS, and on including time-differentiation in code cost-effectiveness determinations. Slide deck.
- Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) Demand Response Emerging Technology (DRET) Battery Study investigates the ability to utilize residential PV systems paired with Tesla Powerwall batteries to support electric grid reliability in times of high electricity demand by creating a virtual power plants (VPP). (April 2022)
- LBNL The Role of Innovation in the Electric Utility Sector provides consumer, labor, utility, third-party provider, and clean technology consultant perspectives on innovation in the context of state regulation of utilities. Report and slides at https://emp.lbl.gov/publications/role-innovation-electric-utility