An important part of the overall national energy strategy addressees the efficient and smart end-use of electric energy.  Smart distribution systems and advanced data analytics will be researched in this theme to meet increasing customer demands, higher penetration of distributed renewable resources and the emergence of retail electricity markets.

The main focus of this theme is to improve the efficiency, visibility, and controllability of end use energy consumption. In addition, technology development will have to consider the customer’s acceptance and participation. Therefore, this theme will also address the psychological and social behavioral influences and human-machine interactions. Questions to address are :

  • How to improve customer participation and customer satisfaction of demand response and energy efficiency programs?
  • How to evaluate possible behavioral changes when customers adapt a new technology?
  • How to evaluate whether or not those changes can sustain (last instead of fading away over time)?

Possible research ideas include:

  • Educate customers to increase their awareness of different programs
  • Tolerance of customers to short duration over-voltages and under-voltages (outside of the +/- 5% bandwidth) in the presence of DERs
  • Develop awarding or pricing schemes to encourage customers to use more efficient appliances or participate demand-side energy management programs for shifting energy uses and integration of renewable generation resources
  • Develop demand response algorithms (centralized, distributed, and autonomous control algorithms) from the customers’ perspective
  • Study pricing and rewarding schemes for enhancing consumer involvements and acceptance of different energy efficiency and demand-side management programs
  • Develop distributed grid intelligence for providing a platform to implement the control, coordination and management of the grid resources at different levels
  • Develop forecasting algorithms for residential and commercial loads as well as distributed generation resources
  • Develop advanced data analytic tools for the customers to manage home and building uses for monitoring device malfunctions, providing suggestions for different ways of consumption, safety and security, etc.
  • Evaluate the quality, potential, and impact of the DR and efficiency programs
    • Possible impacts of new loads (EV)
    • Adoption of demand response programs
    • Customer awareness, acceptance, and satisfaction

Customer participation depends on letting customers understand the full benefits they will receive when participating in programs. Their satisfaction depends on comfort, cost-of-participants, and rewards. Thus, the discussion centers around how to develop a customer-oriented tool that can provide the following functions:

  • Informing customers what the breakdown of energy use is to increase self-awareness and provide immediate feedback to good behaviors
  • Predicting what will be expected if a DR or energy efficiency program is implemented
  • Suggest preferable programs to customers and best practice for them to lower the energy bill and help the environment while maintaining their comfort