Many States are increasing standards requirements for contributions from renewable power generation assets such as solar photovoltaic and wind. Intermittent generation from these devices will require corresponding changes in other storage or generation assets or responsive demand. In addition, the solid state inverters used for these new sources of power generation will decrease characteristic response times, which will present system stability challenges. The new technology developed by LLNL would help address both of these issues by providing demand response at the sub-second timescale.


The new LLNL technology would sense active control or other signals from the grid and automatically shed or re-establish load as appropriate. This gradual reduction and reestablishment of load would give operators more time to reconfigure grid resources to respond to the transient. This increased time window for reaction should lead to lower operating costs with the current grid architecture and reduced need combustion turbines to manage the grid. LLNL envisions the development of a simulation model of the devices in a grid environment to establish the value proposition and to optimize the design while prototype devices are manufactured. Subsequently, based on selections, criteria and observations of key issues from the simulations, the devices would be tested in a physical testbed.


The devices would respond to control signals or indictors of system distress much faster than current demand response systems. The devices can be embedded in appliances, be sold by the utilities as adaptors for appliances or other loads. Utilities could offer the adaptors under incentive programs in a manner similar to the programs in place for compact fluorescent light bulbs. Appliance manufactures could install them and label the appliance in a manner similar to the Energy Star program in California.

Potential Applications



Sub-second response to control signals.

Improved global utility grid stability and improved economics due to peak demand shifting.

Distributed response at the distribution line scale

Improved local stability and improved economics due to reduction in line losses at transformer.

Development Status

This technology has not been reduced to practice. However, simpler components that comprise this technology are currently available on the market today.

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