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Bringing Demand Response Research into Practice – APTIM’s Support of the Southern California Edison Emerging Technologies Program

A little background…

California has made huge investments in solar power and energy storage technologies and has pivoted to focus on electrification of everything from heating to transportation to help meet ambitious carbon reduction goals. While utilities own some of the resources, many are owned by end-users, which means that they are often not controlled by the utilities. All of this means that when customers use energy is changing significantly – and that has huge implications for utilities and the health of their infrastructure.

Demand response programs have emerged as a key tool to smooth out the peaks and valleys in energy usage. As defined by the Department of Energy, demand response provides an opportunity for consumers to play a significant role in the operation of the electric grid by reducing or shifting their electricity usage during peak periods in response to time-based rates or other forms of financial incentives. Consumers can do this in a lot of different ways, including allowing utilities some control over their smart thermostats or charging their electric vehicles at specific, off-peak hours.

In support of the growing need for demand response techniques and strategies, APTIM works as an emerging technologies contractor for Southern California Edison (SCE). In this role, APTIM supports SCE’s team by helping get more demand response technologies and approaches out to the market more quickly.

Cool… so what do we actually do?

Great question! APTIM does a lot of different things, from scanning the horizon for what’s next by monitoring relevant regulatory developments, to conducting benchmarking studies to see what’s actually happening, to creating a super nerdy emerging technology transfer tool, to helping to get a smart speaker pilot up and running to maximize benefits to Time of Use customers, to tracking and analyzing promising California Energy Commission Electric Program Investment Charge research and demonstration projects to find the next big thing.

But wait, there’s more!

Our client is super engaged in supporting California’s Demand Response Emerging Technologies (DRET) collaborative, which includes all three of the big electric IOUs and focuses on accelerating adoption of innovative demand response enabling technologies in all customer sectors to meet California’s electric reliability and climate goals.

To help spread the word about the DRET collaborative’s innovative research and other cutting edge demand response work happening throughout California, the APTIM team maintains the DRET website at The website provides a hub for demand response specific resources throughout the state. Website visitors can read briefings and find the final reports for 98 (and counting) demand response research projects supported by members of DRET. In addition to designing and maintaining the website in collaboration with DRET partners, the APTIM team creates kicky and informative four-page summaries and one-page infographics for long and technical reports to share actionable best practices and lessons learned gleaned from the research projects.

Essentially, we’re giant nerds helping our client solve hard problems that will help combat climate change. And we love it.

APTIM. In Pursuit of Better.