Toshiba Corp. and Landis+Gyr will team up with Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, the University of Kyoto, and Los Alamos County to study demand response pricing programs.  Using smart meters and customer volunteers, the partners will study how consumers respond to variable pricing per kilowatt hour and how this impacts their electric demand during the summer months. The research will begin in late July and run through September.

The demand response pricing research is a component of the U.S.-Japan Demonstration Smart Grid Project in Los Alamos.  Constructed for a consortium of partners representing NEDO, Los Alamos County, and Los Alamos National Laboratory, the smart grid test bed demonstrates a high penetration of renewable energy on an electric grid to meet a residential community's needs.  This includes understanding what influences customers to reduce electric consumption during peak-times when electricity is more expensive and not always available from renewable resources.

The study will measure the impact variable pricing has on customers' behaviors and energy consumption, deploy renewable generation and energy storage to respond to the electric demand, and assess the overall efficiency. The goal is to understand the effects of pricing models and messages on households. Collection of energy usage data, weather forecasts and stored energy capabilities, coupled with analysis of customer behavior, is expected to provide insights that will help define the future of responding to consumers' electric demands and improving energy efficiency programs.

"As the world population increases toward a projected total of more than 9 billion by 2050, concerns about reliable, clean generation to meet growing energy requirements will remain at the top of the energy policy agenda for current and future generations," said Takeshi Yokota, Executive Officer, Corporate Vice President of Toshiba. "To ensure prosperous and healthy places to live, communities, like Los Alamos County, will need to embrace innovative technologies and renewable energy on scales never seen before. Communities of the future will increasingly rely on advanced smart grids for seamless integration of renewable energy sources and variable pricing to supplement traditional generation sources."

The demonstration smart grid project  leverages renewable generation and storage solutions including a one Megawatt (MW) solar array, a sodium sulfur battery and lead acid batteries for a combined storage capacity of nearly two MWs of electricity.  Electric loads are balanced and output fluctuations are absorbed through Toshiba's Micro Energy Management System (µEMS) that predicts electric demands and weather.  In the study, the Micro Energy Management System will initiate demand response events when demand and temperature are met for a variable pricing day.

Landis+Gyr' Gridstream solution, including approximately 850 advanced smart meters, the associated mesh communications network  as well as leading edge software capabilities provided by both the Command Center Head-End System and Gridstream Meter Data Management System will support the study.

Landis+Gyr and Toshiba's solutions, integrated using the International Electrotechnical Commission – Common Information Model (IEC-CIM) version 2.0 family of standards, will predict high demand days and manage the demand response message communication to the customer while measuring changes in usage patterns during each variable pricing event.

For more information about the DR study, visit the Los Alamos County public utility programs web page.