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 email@example.com 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)
NASEO, "Demand Flexibility and Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings 101" (September 2022) and "Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings: State Briefing Paper" (October 2019)
Upcoming forums are limited to state Working Group members. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. Other events more widely open.
- NASEO-NARUC GEB Working Group Forum: (1) ASHRAE Grid-interactive Buildings for Decarbonization: Design and Operation Resource Guide and (2) GridOptimal Findings and Experience - September 20, 2023: The New Buildings Institute provided a preview of the upcoming ASHRAE GEB for Decarbonization resource guide and discussed real world findings and experience with pilot applications of the GridOptimal suite of metrics on building "grid friendliness." A link to the presentation slides can be found here.
- CalFlexHub Symposium - November 3, 2023 hybrid event advancing load flexible technologies for the state of California. Moving from static to dynamic energy management for all (and November 2 onsite tour and networking, Berkeley, CA).
- LBNL and the Brattle Group, U.S. Building Sector Decarbonization Scenarios to 2050 includes extensive consideration of demand flexibility as well as efficiency and electrification measures.
- From the NASEO-NARUC Microgrids Working Group: State Microgrid Policy, Programmatic, and Regulatory Framework and view an online interactive version (and news release)
- NYSERDA announces $18M NextGen Buildings Innovation Challenge for projects that offer advanced building technologies for clean HVAC systems, building envelopes, and controls, including a new challenge area to advance intelligent building control solutions -- development and commercialization of technologies that manage energy assets and electrical loads that will further enable decarbonization and electrification. Informational webinar August 15 2023, 1:00pm ET and proposal submission workshop August 22, 2023, 1:00pm ET. The application deadline is September 27, 2023, 3:00pm ET.
- NASEO-NARUC GEB Working Group Forum: Connected Communities - July 26, 2023: This Forum featured Cindy Regnier (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory [LBNL]) providing an overview of the U.S. DOE-supported Connected Communities initiative and LBNL's role as national coordinator (presentation) followed by Alicia Noriega (Edo Energy) discussing the Spokane (WA) Connected Communities Project (presentation) and Scott Schuetter (Slipstream) on Connecting Communities for Sustainable Solutions (Madison, WI) (presentation).
- California Energy Commission, Workshop on Virtual Power Plants and Demand Flexibility: Identifying R&D Needs - July 18, 2023: CEC hosted a staff workshop to identify research needs to advance the use of VPP approaches for increased demand flexibility. The workshop focused on community-owned VPP models and included a panel session with presentations from industry representatives such as load-serving entities and their technology service providers. Input received will be used to inform the development of future solicitations related to the Electric Program Investment Charge 2021-2025 Investment Plan (EPIC 4 Investment Plan). Presentation and recording are available at the event page.
- DOE Better Buildings and Rocky Mountain Institute webinar: Identifying Cost-Effective Energy Efficiency and Load Flexibility Measures Supporting GEB Strategies - July 12, 2023: The Better Buildings Renewables Integration Technology Research Team and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) discussed findings and recommendations from RMI's Huang, et al. (2023) Cost-Effective Grid Interactive Efficient Buildings: Potential for the WinnCompanies Portfolio on the strategic use of renewables, energy storage, and more in a multifamily building portfolio. Link to webinar slides and recording here.
- NASEO-NARUC GEB Working Group and NARUC Financial Toolkit webinar: Virtual Power Plants, June 21, 2023: This joint webinar discussed virtual power plants (VPP). Ryan Hledik (Brattle Group) provided a VPP overview as well as findings from Real Reliability: The Value of Virtual Power on costs and reliability of VPPs as resource adequacy assets. Franco Albi (Portland General Electric) and Brenda Chew (Virtual Peaker) offered utility and service provider perspectives. (Presentation slides here.)
- DOE Better Buildings Alliance Renewables Integration GEB-related resources.
- NASEO-NARUC GEB Working Group Forum: NREL Energy Efficiency and Demand Flexibility State Potential Study and National Lab TA Update, May 17, 2023: Matt Leach (National Renewable Energy Laboratory presented an overview of state-level energy efficiency (EE) and demand flexibility (DF) potential of selected measures and building types. Study approaches, results, and planned next steps were presented along with considerations of how states and others can use such information to inform planning, policy, and regulations to enhance EE and DF and the benefits they provide. Natalie Mims Frick (Berkeley Lab) provided an update on Lab TA to the states. (Presentation slides here.)
- The Brattle Group, Real Reliability: The Value of Virtual Power (May 2023) - This report explores the cost and ability to serve critical resource adequacy needs using virtual power plants (VPPs), portfolios of distributed energy resources (DERs) that are actively controlled to provide benefits to the power system, consumers, and the environment.
- NASEO-NARUC DER Integration and Compensation Initiative Webinar: Grid Modernization Strategies to Accelerate Deployment of DERs, April 13, 2023: Lisa Schwartz (LBNL) shared a national perspective on trends and challenges states are facing in seeking to accelerate DER deployment as part of grid modernization; Paul Heitmann (NJ Board of Public Utilities) discussed the process for developing the New Jersey Grid Modernization Study as well as study recommendations and plans for implementation. Links to slides and recording.
- NASEO-NARUC GEB Working Group Forum: Demand Flexibility and Performance-Based Regulation, March 15, 2023: Elliott Nethercutt of NARUC presented slides summarizing recent research from a new publication, Demand Flexibility within a Performance-Based Regulatory Framework. The report, which includes case studies from three Working Group states—Colorado, Hawaii, and Vermont—examines demand flexibility implementation and barriers within performance-based regulatory frameworks. Grace Relf of the Hawaii PUC (slides here) and Joan White of the Vermont PUC (slides here) each presented on their state's experience with performance-based regulatory frameworks that have advanced demand flexibility and GEB implementation.
NREL Workshop on Modern Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Capabilities and Deployment Considerations was held on March 8, 2023, addressing questions on modern DER technical capabilities, DER deployment concerns, and provides examples of how DERs can benefit different stakeholders. The workshop provided information to regulators and other state decision-makers on topics such as different DER functions and configurations, experience from early deployments, lessons learned from the regulatory perspective, and decision-making considerations in the interconnection process. Agenda and presentations an be found here.
NARUC-SEPA-DOE Workshop "Demystifying Virtual Power Plants: What is a VPP? How are VPPs deployed today? What are the opportunities and challenges for regulators, utilities, and other stakeholders?" February 15, 2023. Presentations and YouTube videos: (1) Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings: Reinforcing the Grid with DERs; (2) Millions of Mini Power Plants: What Vehicle-to -Grid Technology Means for Reliability, Resilience, and Affordability on the Grid; (3) Drafting the Blueprint; (4) Implementation