7

Demand-Response and the Advanced Metering Infrastructure

We believe that electricity exists, because the electric company keeps sending us bills for it, but we cannot figure out how it travels inside wires.

—Dave Barry

7.1 Introduction

This is the second chapter of Part Two, Communication and Networking: The Enabler, which delves more into communication and networking technology for the power grid. This chapter focuses specifically upon the topic of power consumption in the smart grid. This can be thought of as extending management of the power grid through the consumer to management of individual loads. The general concept is ultimately to schedule the use of loads in such a manner that the consumer is satisfied while at the same time the load operates in manner that is best for the power grid. There are a myriad ways to achieve this goal; some require communication, such as DR, and others do not, such as dynamic demand.

DR is designed to motivate the consumer to make the best local economic choices that are also the best choices for the power grid. Consumers would ideally purchase and consume power from the best sources at optimal times that would reduce peak demand, flow through the optimal transmission and distribution lines, use renewable sources, and perhaps even influence active or reactive power consumption appropriately. The concept is that this process should be automated and occur in near-real time, allowing market forces to equalize the supply and demand in an optimal ...

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