Aug 24, 2020

The Opportunity for Carbon and Cost Savings from Load Shifting Measures

Jenny Edwards, Rabi Vandergon, Josh Quinnell

This paper was presented at the 2020 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings.


As basic electric efficiency measures reach saturation in state energy efficiency programs-orare  superseded by updated codes and standards-utilities need to fill the gaps with more advanced and often costlier measures. At the same time, due to the growth of renewable generation, utilities are beginning to place greater importance on measures that not only reduce overall energy but also shift the time of that energy use in a way that reduces cost and emissions without disrupting the grid. One major barrier that occurs through load shifting is the potential increase of overall energy use, which conflicts with energy efficiency policy and creates a potential load building incentive. Currently, regulators in Minnesota lack the geographically-specific information needed to assess the system value of load shifting to weigh these tradeoffs.

This research addresses this barrier by quantifying the economic, energy, and emissions impacts of measures that shift load with or without saving energy. The goal of the research is to identify how these measures may fit within a Midwestern state’s energy efficiency program. We model multiple measures in a variety of future planning scenarios that include higher penetrations of renewable generation as well as increases in electrical load through electrification.

The paper’s results will stress the impact of measures that shift load on avoided cost and emissions. We also highlight how this research builds a Midwest-focused foundation for consideration of load shifting impacts in utility energy efficiency programs.