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Subject: Observations from the Appliance workshop



I attended the EPRI “DR-Ready Appliance Workshop” yesterday in Knoxville, and the discussion ranged around appliance communications and action for demand response.


Basic agreement on what “smart grid ready” means:

·         Can shed

·         Can shift

·         Can communicate

·         Can understand SEP (or, as I observed, some standard data syntax and semantics and transport)—EPRI and U-SNAP are pushing for a standard connector that would allow plugging in an external comms chip. But you still need the app layer.

·         Security


Other observations:

·         Of course, how you accomplish the above for specific device classes (in different regions, see below) might need some definition when it comes time to do compliance testing. And what kind of signal are you going to feed an appliance to prove it can shed/shift, and how much? Maybe you need a standard forward price curve representative of different kinds of typical peaks. Maybe you need a standard forward mode signal, similar to what the DRAS feeds to the Simple Client in OpenADR.

·         Another model that was advocated (not by the appliance manufacturers nor by me) is having more/most of the intelligence at some EMS and passing a simpler signal to the appliance. To me, this requires communications from the appliance to the EMS (at least a standard energy profile) plus it requires a standard EMS.

·         I realized that there are perhaps limits on how universal appliances can be. DR programs have very real differences in different utility territories due to very real weather and regulatory differences. AC is all that matters in Phoenix (besides turning off pool pumps)—hot water is not an issue because water comes into the house hot. That won’t be the case in some other places. This came up relative to the question of whether appliance loads really matter. But a dryer and oven draw more power than the AC. And a refrigerator only draws 70W on average, but I have 3 and they run 24/7. So, how much does the regionality issue affect energy management algorithms for appliances? A rep from Daikin says they ship products that can go anywhere, just need the right software update to get tuned control algorithms.

·         Appliance manufacturers want to hear what it is worth to the grid. I can give you 5kW for 15 min, 2kW for an hour, 1 kW for 8 hours. What’s it worth to you? The appliance manufacturers haven’t gotten this data yet.


David Holmberg

NIST Building and Fire Research Lab



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