Higher efficiency and reliability of the electric system are important goals to be achieved. The increasing growth and importance of intermittent renewable energy sources and its massive incorporation into the electricity grid, given the efforts to diversify the energy mix and reduce the carbon emissions, bring new challenges to the sector, such as the need of higher levels of flexibility. In this context, demand-side flexibility measures come to light as a way of improving system reliability and, at the same time, defer the need for investments in the expansion of distribution and transmission grids, reducing the demand for additional generation capacity and allowing the shave of peak demand, resulting in a reduction of electricity costs. Among these measures, demand response figures as one of great importance. It is based on electricity consumers’ capability to respond to price signals, increasing the consumers’ role in ensuring system security in a cost effective way. The objective of this article is to examine some of the main challenges and opportunities for enabling demand response programs, taking some lessons from the international experience. An additional effort is to focus on Brazilian case. The methodology consists of bibliographic and documental review, with the analysis of challenges and opportunities, followed by an investigation of demand response programs in Brazil. This paper was developed under the framework of a project supported by the ANEEL’s R&D Program. It was found that technological requirements of demand response can be a great obstacle, as observed in some of the European countries cost-benefit analysis and in the Brazilian case. The Brazilian experience is by all means only incipient and takes advantage of a small part of the full demand response potential, but even in this condition, shows some positive results in efficiency.
The promotion of a reliable and sustainable power system has as key drivers the development of smart grids associated with demand-side management schemes, diffusion of electric mobility, accommodation of larger shares of distributed generation, in particular microgeneration and the introduction of storage systems. In addition, these technological development vectors represent new business opportunities for several players (utilities, retailers, ESCOs, aggregator entities, etc.), which should be considered by regulatory guidelines accounting for technical efficiency, economic feasibility and tariff affordability. The technical and economic characteristics of the electricity sector (capital intensive, undifferentiated product, regulated tariffs, almost inelastic demand, need of instantaneous balance between supply and demand, etc.) do not induce that the process of technological innovation happens in an endogenous manner within the sector dynamics. Therefore, public policies have a role to play in this process. This communication presents an approach using Problem Structuring Methods to frame the problem of analyzing and evaluating technological innovations and associate incentive policies in the electricity sector. The results of this structuring phase using Soft Systems Methodology suggest a large number of issues that were organized as a hierarchy of objectives. These objectives will correspond to the criteria of a Multicriteria Decision Analysis methodology devoted to assessing the potential courses of action promoting technological innovation. This methodology should provide decision support to policy and decision makers to shape policies aimed at fostering more reliable and sustainable electricity systems.