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)
Upcoming forums are limited to state Working Group members. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
- NASEO-NARUC GEB Working Group Forum: NREL Energy Efficiency and Demand Flexibility State Potential Study, May 17, 2023, 3:00-4:30 PM ET: Matt Leach (National Renewable Energy Laboratory will present 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 will be 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. The presentation will be followed by state discussion and Working Group updates and exchanges. This Forum is limited to state attendees.
- NASEO-NARUC GEB Working Group Forum: Demand Flexibility and Performance-Based Regulation, March 15, 2023, 3:00-4:30 PM ET: 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
NARUC, Demand Flexibility within a Performance-Based Regulatory Framework (February 2023) presents the various components of performance-based regulation and explores how its applications can advance demand flexibility.
Connected Communities cohort kick-off meeting "Lessons From Past Connected Communities Projects" session (from November 2, 2022) -- (1) California Advanced Energy Communities; (2) Smart Neighborhoods (Southern Co. Alabama and Georgia) ; (3) AI-Driven Smart Community for Accelerating PV Adoption and Enhancing Grid Resilience (Basalt Vista Community, CO)
NASEO-NARUC GEB Working Group Forum: Cybersecurity and Demand Flexibility/GEB/DERs January 18, 2023. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory experts presented on cybersecurity aspects of demand flexibility and distributed energy resources (presentation). Among resources presented: Facility Cybersecurity resources.
Connecticut Innovative Energy Solutions (IES) Program is a statewide initiative to identify, pilot, and scale innovative ideas that enable a decarbonized, affordable, and equitable electric grid for Connecticut. With "regulatory sandbox" characteristics, the Program will provide resources and support for the implementation of innovative pilot projects over the course of a 12-to-18-month period. Successful pilots will have the opportunity to be deployed at scale in Connecticut. The IES Program presents an exciting opportunity for third-party innovators and technology developers to establish collaborative partnerships with Connecticut’s two investor-owned EDCs, Cycle 1 will focus on demand-side flexibility (January 24 Information Session ; January 31 formal solicitation release; March 1 concept papers due -- see program page for information).
NARUC-NASEO Webinar: Grid Investments and Technologies Necessary for FERC Order 2222, January 27, 2023.To implement FERC Order 2222, state and federal policy makers and regulators are evaluating and determining whether and where to establish new rules and requirements as well as enabling policies to bring both distributed energy resources (DERs) and their aggregations onto the electricity system safely, fairly, and reliably. Underpinning these decisions are the technological requirements for enabling DER aggregation. As part of the NARUC-NASEO Distributed Energy Resources Integration and Compensation Initiative, this webinar highlighted a new report developed by the GridWise Alliance. (slides, recording)
Virtual Power Plant Partnership (VP3), led by the Rocky Mountain Institute with private sector partners, is dedicated to understanding the opportunities—and challenges—of the VPP market, including the roles that DERs and demand flexibility can play in decarbonizing and stabilizing the grid. See also the RMI Virtual Power Plants, Real Benefits report.
California Load Flexibility Research and Development Hub (CalFlexHub) and Symposium held December 6 & 7, 2022 exploring current innovations in load flexibility across California (recordings available).