The China Energy Group engages both China’s demand and supply side stakeholders to promote demand response and demand-side management (DSM), advanced metering infrastructure, integration of renewable energy, distributed energy resources (DER), and microgrids as effective tools for electricity decarbonization. Using a combination of technical and policy assistance, the China Energy Group supports China’s growing capacity in these areas.
At the end of 2010, the National Development and Reform Commission mandated that utilities develop efficiency programs as well as load management systems, and that annual electricity savings and demand savings reach at least 0.3% of the previous year's sale volume and peak load. In July 2012, the Ministry of Finance and the National Development and Reform Commission announced a fund to support DSM pilot cities, with the first pilots set for Beijing, Suzhou, Tangshan, and Foshan. Distributed energy has been highlighted at both the national level in the 12th Five Year Plan and the energy development plan outlined by the State Council, while the National Energy Administration is planning 30 microgrid demonstrations as outlined in the renewable energy development plan. These programs are important not only from an energy efficiency and carbon emissions standpoint but also from the perspective of helping to avoid electricity shortfalls and outages.
In support of China's plans in these areas, the China Energy Group has recently undertaken a number of projects such as best practice studies, technical assistance, and tool development. Analyzing leading international examples in demand response and microgrids will help China explore its capabilities and options. For specific pilot projects, the Group is providing analytical capabilities using LBNL's Distributed Energy Resource Customer Adoption Model (DER-CAM), an optimization tool for designing and operating microgrids, especially in buildings. In the realm of DSM, the Group is currently working with China to test a new approach for managing peak loads. The new experiment shifts load management practices from a traditional approach of mandating all customers to take turns being curtailed to an improved approach in which power rationing decisions are based on customer performance in specific target areas including their contribution to the local economy, energy efficiency, and environmental stewardship. Specifically on microgrids, China Energy Group members have lectured widely on microgrid principles, and the Group is working with various parties involved in microgrid development and demonstrations.