Demand ResponseFor years, demand response has been touted as one of the best ways to introduce additional power into the grid, and on several occasions, has even proven to ward off costly rolling blackouts when energy consumption rises to peak levels.

Now, with several demand response programs in full swing around the country, it seems industrial facilities are benefiting most, especially compared to systems that have been introduced to residential areas, The Energy Collective reports.

According to the news source, Pike Research recently lauded the industrial sector’s role in propelling demand response forward. However, there is still debate over whether the industrial sector, which has large participants that consume huge amounts of energy each, or the residential sector, which has a greater overall energy consumption, should be the focus of demand response providers and utilities.

This debate has arisen as smart meters and distribution automation have made it easier to install demand response technology in homes. However, data has been released that show the breadth of energy consumption in the residential space still would not be enough to provide peak load reduction. The Pike figures show commercial and industrial participants contribute 78 percent of potential peak reduction, compared to 22 percent from residences.

Making money, saving the planet

So it’s no wonder why so many industrial facilities are signing up for demand response programs. The more electricity these businesses curtail during peak energy events, the more money they can bring in through payments made by the utility hosting the program, Manufacturing Business Technology reports.

The best part is that it isn’t difficult for these large factories to curb their energy consumption when it’s needed – it can be as easy as turning off or dimming lights or shutting off fans, pumps and other large machinery. Facilities can also turn down their thermostats slightly for a rotating period, lower production during peak events and lower the use of air compressors to curb consumption.

When implemented properly, demand response programs can have a huge impact on productivity, and even bring in a secondary revenue stream. During peak consumption, factories can use the asset downtime to perform maintenance on machinery or hold workforce meetings – any business activity that doesn’t require loads of electricity. In addition to eliminating downtime, the company gets paid for their participation in the program – a win for the business, the utility and the environment.

Other businesses that can benefit from demand response include hospitals and healthcare facilities, schools and universities, data centers and commercial properties.

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