Accelerating Decarbonization with the California Load Flexibility Research and Deployment Hub
As we transition from traditional to variable renewable electricity supply, and electrification increases, it is critical to enable building loads to be flexible in coordination with the grid. This paper describes the new California Load Flexibility Research and Deployment Hub, a four-year program to accelerate building load flexibility. CalFlexHub will achieve this by equipping customers with the technologies to provide that flexibility and increasing knowledge of customer needs through lab and field research. The technologies include HVAC, water heating, and other building end-use equipment, storage technologies, and electric vehicle (EV) systems. CalFlexHub will support the California Energy Commission’s Load Management Standards (LMS) that are developing requirements for utilities to publish dynamic electricity prices in a digital format, so devices can receive the signals and automatically respond. We will develop, demonstrate, and evaluate technology to actuate these loads using automation that is compatible with the LMS, which will be used to communicate the prices, other grid signals, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission data. This paper will describe the performance energy and GHG metrics for the technologies, usability, and the architecture of the price and GHG server. A key element of decarbonization is electrification of space and water heating. Electrification of these new loads will strain our electric systems unless they are capable of automatically responding to digital prices and other signals to create responsive flexible loads.