AS 4755 - Demand Response Standard
The rapidly growing number of Distributed Energy Resource (DER) installations across the National Electricity Market (NEM) and Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM) are resulting in a growing number of unique demand and supply challenges.
These challenges involve:
- Power system demand dropping below required amounts due to household use of behind the meter DER generation resulting in difficulties maintaining power system stability
- Demand increasing to above the available supply at peak times coinciding with low DER generation
- Increasing fluctuations between the levels of demand due to changing environmental factors (e.g. cloud cover) influencing DER generation
AEMO have identified improvements to smart appliance ‘demand response’ capabilities as a key requirement to assist in the reduction of system risk arising from these challenges.
‘Demand response’ refers to the ability for DER and appliances (including ‘smart’ pool pumps, electric hot water storage heaters, air conditioners, batteries and electric vehicle supply equipment) to respond to remote communications that increase or decrease the amount of load on the power system. In some instances, the ability to stop using power from the grid, or start using it, is also built into the appliance. These capabilities support the maintenance of system security and reliability for all Australian energy users.
Demand response will be utilised at the choice of consumers engaging in new markets, or only in rare and extreme circumstances where emergency intervention is required to keep the system in balance. The only alternative in such scenarios is the existing load shedding mechanism where power is turned off to entire suburbs to keep the broader system operational. Demand response can mitigate this need by instead reducing DER generation or demand from non-essential large loads. Essentially, the lights get to stay on for everyone and for a short period of time we turn off what we don’t immediately need.
What is AS 4755
This standard refers to the demand response capability and modes of appliances and smart devices including:
- Air Conditioners
- Pool pumps
- Electric Hot water storage heaters
- Electric Vehicle supply equipment
In the most basic form, it requires these appliances to have ‘demand response modes’ that assist in shifting load to times when demand is low, and therefore potentially take advantage of low power costs, and reducing load when demand is high, potentially reducing costs to end users.
The ability to increase, decrease, stop and start using power (sometimes at variable rates) are considered the minimum capabilities required by the appliances to assist in power system security.
How will AS 4755 impact household consumers?
With the growing number of DER and smart appliances with demand response capabilities, opportunities are arising for consumers to experience increasing value from their DER and household appliances. These may include:
- Supplying additional load when demand is low to support minimum power system demand requirements supported by financial incentives
- Reducing load when demand is high to reduce the overall strain on the power system, once again supported by financial incentives
- Shifting load to times when electricity is cheaper based on price signal communications, hence reducing the cost of power to the end user and for other consumers by reducing load at peak times
These types of incentivised behaviours and remotely controlled capabilities are already being highlighted as an effective mechanism to support the power system security via the VPP demonstrations, which focus on providing Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS) via an aggregated set of DER. AEMO are currently looking into further opportunities to understand how DER and smart devices can participate in the energy market.
Benefits of Demand Response capabilities
The demand response standard AS 4755 will establish a framework where a range of appliances and manufacturers are all connected and respond to remote signals. Australia is leading the world in this capability, with no other single international standard providing this capability. The uplift of this standard will also provide improvements to the cyber security requirements of household devices interacting with the energy system, making Australia’s grid safer for all energy consumers.
As a summary, the benefits of this uplift and adoption include:
- Improved security of Australia’s energy system and marketplace
- More reliable energy supply to all Australians
- A reduction in costs of energy for all Australians, whether they have DER installed or not
- Increased opportunity for consumers with demand response capable devices to participate in the energy market and be rewarded accordingly
This standard is in the final stages of drafting and will be available for public comment prior to finalisation in the second half of 2020.