The future of electricity in America is up for grabs for the first time since its invention. Last year the largest electric grid operator in the United States held an auction to determine how future electricity needs would be met in 13 states. As a result different companies placed their bid on how they would supply the grid at the lowest possible prices. The winner took everyone by surprise since it was not a renewable energy source that would make the greatest difference in electrical supply and cost.

What made the greatest difference were “demand response” techniques that reduce the peak of electricity demand. Although the demand changes based on the time of year the concept is the same. It takes several power plants to supply electricity when the demand is the highest. During peak hours we must rely on many power plants and even back up power plants to provide electricity or we may face black outs. The bottom line is: building power plants is expensive and bad for the environment. Reducing peak demand will eliminate the need for them.

Cutting peak demand means changing when and where the electricity is consumed and also reducing the demand for electricity. Things like power strips, water heater covers, LED lights, and using heavy appliances a night can all do their part in reducing the grid strain.

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