On Thursday, October 17, as policymakers in Congress and across the United States consider policies to boost utility grid efficiency and resiliency while addressing carbon pollution, the AnnDyl Policy Group, together with the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), released Residential Grid-Interactive Efficient Building Technology and Policy: Harnessing the Power of Homes for a Clean, Affordable, Resilient Grid of the Future. This forward-looking report describes how residential grid-interactive efficient buildings (GEBs) can be leveraged to create a more reliable, affordable, and cleaner power system and what policy and regulatory measures states should consider for America's homes. The report's focus will also be a subject of congressional hearings today.
The report, prepared for the National Association of State Energy Officials and National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NASEO-NARUC) Grid-Interactive Efficient Building (GEB) Working Group, highlights the growing need for policymakers to look at homes as an integral part of the electric grid that not only use energy but can also generate power, store energy, and shift demand from times of high demand and cost to times when wind and solar power are abundant and energy is cheapest. The residential sector uses more electricity than any other sector and it is the largest contributor to peak demand. But homes also have great potential for load flexibility. With efficient, smart technologies and solutions, homes can support grid needs while consumers benefit from utility bill savings, increased comfort, and amenity.
"We need to break down the silos between energy efficiency, renewables, and distributed energy resources such as electric vehicles and battery storage," said Kara Saul-Rinaldi, President/CEO of AnnDyl Policy Group and lead author of the report, while testifying today before the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. "With policy and program innovation that brings all of these pieces together to optimize energy usage we can reduce the need for new power plants, deliver more reliable energy services at lower costs, all while making homes healthier, more comfortable places to live," Ms. Saul-Rinaldi told the Committee.
The U.S. House Select Committee hearing is titled "Solving the Climate Crisis: Cleaner, Stronger Buildings" and the report highlights a collection of residential GEB projects and pilots that integrate energy efficiency, demand response, and smart technologies and controls (such as smart thermostats and grid-interactive water heaters) in homes to achieve energy savings, peak demand reductions, and cost savings for customers. The report also identifies barriers and presents opportunities to bring these integrated solutions to scale.
With five high-level policy recommendations outlining specific action steps, the report urges policymakers and regulators to ensure that residential energy efficiency and flexibility are appropriately valued for all the benefits they provide (including resilience and improved health and comfort for residents) and these solutions are incentivized and made accessible to homeowners of all income levels. The authors also identify areas for further research and development.
"In partnership with NARUC, NASEO is developing resources for state policymakers and regulators to explore how GEBs can help them meet broader energy system objectives. We hope this report will help states identify opportunities for the residential sector to play a part in these efforts," said David Terry, Executive Director of NASEO. "Advancing technologies offer a new potential for homes to provide flexible load management and be part of the solution for states pursuing clean energy goals, integrating renewables, undertaking grid modernization, or addressing capacity constraints and affordability."
By advancing the home-to-grid connection with intelligent technology, homes can become grid assets that provide capacity and reliability services to the power system and improve energy, environmental, and health outcomes for all.