Demand response (DR) could drastically change the way Distribution System Operators (DSOs) operate their networks. Provided DSOs could procure flexibility services from consumers, they could count on an additional tool to operate and plan their networks more actively and efficiently. Making use of DR services (either through smart tariffs or explicit incentives), they would possibly be able to reduce network losses, avoid network congestions or better manage network faults and outages. If grid constraints were visible in the long term, DSOs could partially avoid or defer reinforcement investment costs. This thesis studies the feasibility and the potential economic benefits of demand response as a flexibility resource for an active management of distribution networks. Furthermore, it analyzes the potential economic and regulatory implications of the implementation of DR at distribution network level from a threefold perspective: the consumer, the network and the regulatory environment. From the perspective of the consumer, this thesis presents an original empirical methodology to characterize the uncertainty and the variability of the load flexibility of an entire population of consumers in response to economic incentives with the aim of assisting DR providers in real implementation cases. For this purpose, Quantile Regression (QR) is applied on real data to fit a concise and parametric representation of individual conditional distribution functions of flexibility of single consumers. From the perspective of the distribution network, the mechanisms that would allow DSOs to incorporate DR procedures into their network operation and planning strategies are explored. Furthermore, a methodological approach based on a Reference Network Model (RNM) is presented to quantify the potential economic benefits that DR could bring to distribution grids and applied to a case study for Spanish distribution networks. Finally, the regulatory environment affecting the implementation of DR at distribution level in deregulated systems is analyzed. The main regulatory barriers that could slow down its successful development in the near future are identified from a European perspective.
Descriptors: demand response, distribution networks, consumer flexibility, economic analysis, regulatory barriers
Universidad Pontificia Comillas. Madrid (España)
13 July 2017