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Students showcasing research posters at the 2015 GCEP Symposium

Energy Seminar: Mary Ann Piette: The Need for Customer Electric Load Flexibility and the California Demand Response Potential Study

May 21, 2018 - 4:30pm to 5:20pm
NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center

Free and open to all.

Event Sponsor: 
Precourt Institute for Energy
Contact Email:

The electricity grid is transitioning from a centralized and uncoordinated set of large generators to a framework that includes decentralized and coordinated distributed energy resources. Advances in renewable generation, energy storage, efficiency, and controls technology present a significant opportunity for demand-side investment that is matched to the needs of the future grid infrastructure and operations, but the interplay of controls technology and grid operations makes estimating and realizing the potential of DER a significant challenge. Supply curves for conserved energy have been used to synthesize energy efficiency opportunities for electricity system planners, showing how demand side resources compete with power plants. An LBNL project developed a similar approach for supporting policymakers who now face a range of technology options for DER, with a focus on describing the potential for DR to provide flexibility to the grid. I describe our modeling approach using supply curves for demand response across four key dimensions: reshaping with rates, shedding at critical time, shifting to capture renewables, and fast-response "shimmy" to balance the grid. In a California-focused study, we find a significant potential for DR to support the grid, and a need for integration between DR and energy efficiency.

Speaker Biography:

Mary Ann Piette is a Senior Scientist and Director of the Building Technology and Urban Systems Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She oversees LBNL's building energy research activities with the US Department of Energy and over 25 other R&D sponsors. She is also the Director of the Demand Response Research Center. Mary Ann's work involves developing and evaluating new technology and building components, controls, operations, simulation, whole building and electric load shape analysis and behavior. She is also lead researcher at LBNL on the automated demand response technology. Mary Ann has authored over 90 peer reviewed publications related to energy efficiency and demand response and has worked at LBNL since 1983. She has a MS in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley and a Licentiate in Building Services Engineering from the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.

Recommended Readings:

1. 2025 California Demand Response Potential Study - Charting California's Demand Response Future: Final Report on Phase 2 Results What the duck curve tells us about managing a green grid

3. Buildings and the Grid 101: Why Does it Matter for Energy Efficiency?