Demand side management
Electricity demand in WA is rapidly increasing driven by the connection of new businesses and homes, and a rise in the use of air conditioners. This puts increasing pressure on the network and requires large investments to cope with short peaks in demand. Demand management aims to encourage a change in electricity use. This will enable the network to work more efficiently and may allow deferral of major and costly upgrades financial benefitting all Western Australians.
Working with customers and retailers, we are thinking differently about energy usage. For example: shifting energy usage to off-peak times, agreements to reduce demand at peak times upon request, substituting sources of generation, installing more efficient equipment and appliances, switching fuels from electricity to gas, direct load control and energy efficiency education programs are all strategies to address peak demand.
Initiatives such as Green Town and Power Down are helping us manage peak demand and extend the life of existing network assets.
Why do we need Demand Management?
The electricity network is built to accommodate peak use. Managing the demand of peak use is important to efficiently expand the network and keep electricity prices reasonable. Sometimes we may not even need to expand the network to provide additional capacity as reducing peak demand will be enough.
We embrace demand management which complements our role as an Energy Solutions business and our corporate objective of sustainable network development. We are also obliged under the Access code (which governs the way we supply electricity) to consider alternatives to supply side network capacity investment such as demand management where this leads to lower overall costs.
Approaches to Managing Demand
Demand management can include targeted incentives, technologies and customer education programs directed towards reducing or changing patterns of energy use.
For businesses this could include:
- Reducing your demand at peak times on request from Western Power
- Moving your main hours of operation to earlier or later in the day on days of peak demand
- Substituting where your power comes from during peak hours, i.e. use a generator, or cogeneration
- Installing more efficient equipment, such as energy efficient lights
- Changing some electrical loads to other fuels, such as natural gas
- Improving the power factor of loads by installing power factor correction capacitor banks
For residential customers, implementing demand management may mean:
- Direct load control of air conditioners through small switching devices, which allows power consumption to be controlled at peak times. Customers generally do not experience any difference in comfort during these events
- Off peak tariffs to encourage electricity use at times other than during peak
- Incentives for improving energy efficiency of homes and installing energy efficient appliances
- Energy efficiency customer education programs
What can you do to help reduce electricity consumption?
Demand Management initiatives and programs
We are developing some demand management initiatives to provide alternative solutions to network building more network infrastructure.
Some of the initiatives include:
- Green Town project run with the Denmark/ Walpole community to reduce peak demand and educate about energy efficiency
- Nedlands, Dalkeith and Claremont air conditioner direct load control trials conducted in 2008, which has provided an understanding of how this technology works and how customers react to it
- Intelligent control of CBD building air conditioner systems
- Installation of small hybrid renewable power systems (HRPS) as an alternative supply to edge of customers. This can reduce peak demand whilst maintaining connection to the network. HRPSs can take different forms, often a battery bank, supplemented by solar panels and a small diesel generator
We are also developing a process to systematically screen supply side capacity expansion projects for viable demand management alternatives.
We will be building on the IMO demand management procurement processes already established for major projects and applying them more broadly to other projects.