Jackson Associates recently announced results from the first utility-detailed nationwide study of smart grid savings. It is the first study is to apply individual utility customer end-use hourly electric loads to evaluate smart grid costs and benefits. Data for more than 800,000 residential and commercial utility customers in the 200 largest US utilities were applied in the study.
Before this analysis, studies, including a recently released FERC analysis, have relied on assumptions about elasticities and electricity pricing to estimate changes in broad customer-class aggregate hourly loads. Instead, this new study applies load control and pricing program impacts directly to individual customer end-use loads such as air conditioning, water heating and so on to determine utility-level impacts. The study revealed that the total savings potential, after cost, is $48 billion for the 200 largest US utilities.
However, individual utility savings range from negative savings to $3.2 billion. One out of 10 utilities may lose money with comprehensive smart grid deployments and the benefit/cost ratios of comprehensive smart grid systems depend on a complicated mix of factors (such as dwelling unit age and size) and vary widely across utilities. Analysis of the data showed that targeted, strategic technology deployments significantly increase benefit/cost ratios and that customer end-use hourly load information should be used to ensure economic benefits exceed costs.
© 2009, Tracey de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.