Demand side management impacts on electricity network vulnerability

Conrad Zorn, Elco Koks, Sven Eggimann

Research output: Working paper / PreprintWorking paperAcademic


The demand for electricity is undergoing considerable spatial and temporal change. With the uptake of efficient technologies and increased electrification, a better understanding of how potential changes in demand patterns can affect network reliability is necessary. We quantify the macro-economic impacts of potential future changes in demand profiles for an electricity network undergoing generation shortages. Applied to Great Britain, potential savings or losses are assessed for changes to peak demands under four different load profiles: (i) current day, (ii) widespread uptake of efficient appliances, (iii) deployment of heat pumps, and (iv) moving to an idealised fully balanced load profile. Considerable variation in economic disruption is observed both between different demand profiles and across Great Britain. When the networks generation capacity is severely disrupted, we estimate hourly macro-economic impacts to increase by up to £1.23 million per additional GW of national electricity demand. A similar reduction in impacts can be achieved if peak demands are reduced by demand side management. We conclude that risk-related economic impacts are directly linked to the temporal pattern of energy demands and need to be included in the decision-making around demand side measures. We find that decarbonisation strategies without accompanying demand side management may lead to increased economic losses without supply side interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2020

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