US Residential Flexibility Potential To Reach 88 Gigawatts By 2023


Published on October 4th, 2018 |
by Joshua S Hill

October 4th, 2018 by Joshua S Hill 

A new report from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables has predicted that the United States could likely boast 88 gigawatts (GW) worth of residential flexibility potential by 2023, with nearly 30 million distributed generation and grid-connected devices already installed across the country, and millions more expected to be brought online over the coming years.

The new report, published by Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables — the newly rebranded home of GTM Research and MAKE Consulting — focuses on the concept of residential demand flexibility, defined in the report as the ability of hardware and software to combine to create load shapes desired by utilities and market operators which, in turn, makes it possible to shift demand and to make use of distributed resources for the benefit of the grid. Technologies included under the residential demand flexibility are smart home devices, home energy storage, electric vehicle charging, and residential solar PV installations.

The report claims that there are nearly 30 million distributed generation and grid-connected devices such as these installed across the United States and that millions more are expected between now and 2023, expanding greatly the potential to offer demand flexibility to both customers and the electricity grid.

In the end, Wood Mackenzie predicts that, by 2023, the United States will boast 88 GW worth of residential flexibility demand potential.

Cumulative Potential for Behind-the-Meter Residential Flexibility, 2017-2023E

The dramatic growth in these types of technologies is, according to Wood Mackenzie, driven by two large-scale trends, led by increasing consumer interest in smart home devices, home energy storage, and electric vehicle charging. Secondly, however, the report also pointed to evolving regulations enabling flexibility beyond the traditional demand response programs, and new policy frameworks set to meet the needs of increased grid-connected devices.

“If you can achieve reliability and affordability using behind-the-meter resources, that’s a success,” said Fei Wang, a senior grid edge analyst for Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and author of the report. “But the right incentive framework needs to be there so that utilities can get a return.”

Unsurprisingly, residential energy storage and electric vehicle charging stations, while currently making up the smallest percentage, are expected to experience the most rapid growth over the next five years and will provide significant potential to alter customer load shapes. More specifically, residential energy storage has the potential to ease intermittency and mitigate peak demand for short periods of time, whereas residential solar can be paired with distributed energy resource management systems and smart inverters to respond to events on the grid.

However, the report states that regulation will heavily affect the outcome of the next few years, with policies set to impact a number of devices that can be installed in homes.

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Tags: demand flexibility, flexibility, residential flexibility, Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables

About the Author

Joshua S Hill I’m a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we’re pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket!

I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

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