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Demand Growth and the New Normal

It’s tempting to attribute the recent slowdown in electricity demand growth entirely to the Great Recession, but consumption growth rates have been declining for at least 50 years. The new normal rate of demand growth likely will be about half of its historic value, with demand rising by less than 1 percent per year. This market plateau calls for a new utility strategy.

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Figure 1 - Electricity Sales Growth (Two-Decade Distributions)
Figure 2 - Cumulative Demand Growth (2010-2035)
Figure 3 - Arc of Price Responsiveness
Figure 4 - Impact of Codes and Standards on Electricity Consumption
Figure 5 - Efficiency Gains of ENERGY STAR Qualified Models
Figure 6 - ERCOT Loads in Texas (3/9/11 and 8/3/11)
Author Bio: 

Ahmad Faruqui is a principal at The Brattle Group, and Eric Shultz is a research analyst. This article was revised from Faruqui’s presentation at the Goldman Sachs Power & Utility Conference on Aug. 14, 2012. The authors acknowledge research assistance by Jennifer Palmer.

Five forces are putting the squeeze on electricity consumption.

Directly Controlling the Winter Peak

Utilities and regulators increasingly are considering direct control of residential load to help manage the grid. Evaluating the recent experience of one winter-peaking utility—Puget Sound Energy—provides insights into best practices for ramping up direct load control.

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Author Bio: 

Peter Steele-Mosey is a senior consultant at Navigant Consulting’s Toronto office. His principal area of interest is econometric program evaluation. Email: peter.steele-mosey@navigant.com.

Learning lessons from PSE’s residential demand response pilot.