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Demand Side Management

Demand side management revised

Electrical energy can’t be stored cheaply or in great quantities. Therefore supply and demand has to be balanced simultaneously. To ensure sustenance of supply, the total capacity of electricity generation must be larger than the maximum demand. During the past years, the demand for electricity is rising every year. The economic cost and environmental impact to build new power plants to satisfy the rising demand will be very expensive.

Demand Side Management (DSM) techniques provide variety of measures to reduce energy consumption, which leads to more manageable demand.

Demand side management


It’s the process of managing energy consumption to optimise available and planned resources for power generation. DSM incorporates all activities that influence customer use of electricity and results in the reduction of the electricity demand, which are mutually beneficial to the customers and the utility.

Forms of DSM

Any DSM technique implemented may result in one of the forms of demand reduction:

Peak Clipping refers to the reduction of utility loads during peak demand periods. This can delay the need for additional generation capacity. The net effect is a reduction in both peak demand and total energy consumption. Peak clipping can be achieved by direct control of customers’ appliances.

Conservation refers to reduction in consumption by consumers. There is net reduction in both demand and total energy consumption. Strategic conservation can be implemented by motivating customers to use more energy-efficient appliances.

Load Shifting involves shifting loads from on-peak to off-peak periods. The net effect is a decrease in peak demand, but not change in total energy consumption.

DSM techniques

  • Direct load control
  • Load limiters
  • Commercial/industrial programs
  • Frequency regulation
  • Time of use pricing
  • Demand bidding
  • Smart metering and appliances

DSM benefits to the sector

  • Improving overall energy efficiency
  • Improving reliability and quality of power supply
  • Improving efficiency in transmission and distribution networks infrastructure investments and operations
  • Reducing the risk of power shortages
  • Saving capital investment to build new power plants
  • Delivering energy to consumers more economically
  • Saving the environment

DSM challenges in Abu Dhabi

  • Convincing customers to “spend to save” in energy efficient measures
  • No incentive for tenets of high-rise buildings (majority of consumers in Abu Dhabi) to save in cooling consumption; typically the AC is a part of the building general service that is included in the annual rent of the flats
  • Extreme temperature and humidity levels during summer peak demand makes DSM measures in reducing AC consumption unfavourable.

Air conditioning Demand in Abu Dhabi
Air conditioning load is about 70% of the total electricity summer demand in Abu Dhabi.

Air conditioning demand in Abu Dhabi

DSM Pilot Project – AC Chiller Control
The Bureau currently is in the process to start a pilot project to test the technology of remotely controlling the large air conditioning chiller of high rise buildings and office towers. The main purpose of this initiative is to test this technology in the local environment of Abu Dhabi and to record the reduction in summer peak demand. Then based on this study result, the Bureau can propose different schemes to introduce this technology to manage the raising summer demand more efficiently.

The Way Forward

Moving forward, it is proposed that the Bureau will carry out appropriate pilot studies and further research to understand Abu Dhabi consumer behaviour, test pricing signals and the suitability of technology. These pilot studies should answer the following questions:

  • Are the DSM incentives sufficient to change consumer behaviour in Abu Dhabi?
  • How participants respond to the various DSM initiatives and the technology involved?
  • What is the participants’ acceptable comfort level for cycling air conditioning on extremely hot and humid days?
  • What is the cost of the different DSM programs, incentives and enabling technology?

From pilot studies results, the Bureau can estimate the overall participation levels, programs and the budget required to meet the DSM objective.