Sometimes when things are quiet, you hear things that begin to make you think. While the HVAC industry wrangles about minimum efficiency standards, refrigerant upgrades and installation practices that deliver full value to consumers, there are continuing efforts around the country to solve the power grid issues we see every summer.The most recent addition is Southern California Edison who just joined the Demand Response Partnership Program.
The sound that is troublesome is, the voice that says, the upgrade of HVAC infrastructure has moved fast enough, the incentive for investment in energy saving programs has not provided momentum and the consumer, commercial or residential, has not really embraced the concept of voluntary demand curtailment. Many today are convinced that some of the hesitance is due to the lack of a communication protocol which could join together technologies and allow for some real planning to occur. Some point to depressed natural gas prices and say the economics just don’t work.
The discomfort with Demand Response programs is that the demand is not necessarily connected with YOUR demand, or YOUR previous efforts to become efficient. So until the game is defined, the pressure to update, focus on efficiency and coordinate your needs for energy, the consumer might just as well stand, pat and wait.
This issue needs leadership, if the utility companies become the stewards it will be an uphill battle. It is all about trust. Utilities have mandates to meet and none want to build expensive new plants, but all have revenue requirements that won’t be met by a shrinking energy bill.
It is time for an energy policy, not a carbon policy, not a tax opportunity, but a real discussion of energy infrastructure and the encouragement of every sector, commercial and residential to upgrade technology.