Demand Response in Bangalore: Implications for Electricity System Operations

Madeleine McPherson, Brady Cowiestoll

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Recent Greening the Grid studies for India highlight the benefits of flexible resources for integrating variable renewable energy onto India’s electricity system. India’s ambitious renewable energy targets, which are particularly focused on renewable resource states such as Karnataka, will face fewer challenges when combined with new planning and operational strategies and technologies. This report explores one such strategy—demand response—by which the system operator shifts load throughout a day to minimize system wide production costs. To explore this strategy, we added demand response resources to Karnataka’s electricity system in a production cost model of India, using load shifting potential analyzed by Lawrence Berkeley National Labs. We then investigated the impacts of increasing demand response capacity under several renewable resource scenarios. Our results show the addition of demand response enables fuel shifting from high-marginal-cost and emissions-intensive subcritical coal and diesel generation to zero-marginal-cost and emissions-free renewable generation. Accordingly, the value that demand response provides to the system increases as the renewable penetration increases. In addition to reducing production costs and emissions, demand response reduces the time that thermal generators spend at their minimum output levels, which typically represents a less efficient and costlier operational state. Agricultural load shifting provides greater value to the system than residential, commercial, or industrial loads. Agricultural demand response is more flexible than other sectors because it is not exposed to subdaily operational constraints and it can operate for more hours per day without impacting customer satisfaction. Further, the first increment of demand response that is added to a system provides the greatest value; further additions provide additional benefits but have a decreasing impact. The insights we discuss could be leveraged by system planners and operators in other jurisdictions, particularly those facing significant renewable energy penetrations, to develop their own demand response programs. See also Karali, Nihan, Nikit Abhyankar, and Aditya Khandekar. 2020. Empirical Assessment of the Appliance-Level Load Shape and Demand Response Potential in India. Energy Innovation for a Sustainable Economy, February 11–13, 2020, The Park, Hyderabad, India: 363–370.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages34
StatePublished - 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-72054


  • demand response
  • India
  • renewable integration


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