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The role of building technologies in reducing and controlling peak electricity demand

Jonathan G. Koomey and Richard E. Brown

Energy Analysis Program
Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
Berkeley, CA 94720
September 2002

Abstract

Peak demand issues have come to the fore recently because of the California electricity crisis. Uncertainties surrounding the reliability of electric power systems in restructured markets as well as security worries are the latest reasons for such concerns, but the issues surrounding peak demand are as old as the electric utility system itself. The long lead times associated with building new capacity, the lack of price response in the face of time-varying costs, the large difference between peak demand and average demand, and the necessity for real-time delivery of electricity all make the connection between system peak demand and system reliability an important driver of public policy in the electric utility sector.

This exploratory option paper was written at the request of Jerry Dion at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). It is one of several white papers commissioned in 2002 exploring key issues of relevance to DOE. This paper catalogs policy-relevant issues surrounding peak demand but doesn’t treat these issues in detail—this task awaits further research.

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 Last Updated On: 8/19/04