Guest Interview with Tim Roughan of National Grid

  How long have you worked at National Grid?   
   I have been with the  company for 29 years, from the time it was known as New England
   Electric System (NEES), through its acquisition by National Grid, to its recent growth
   through the acquisition of Niagara Mohawk and KeySpan Energy.

   What is your role at National Grid?

  I am involved with how to bring together demand response, distributed generation, and 
   energy efficiency in a bundled approach to help our customer manage their energy costs as
   well as assist the utility in running a reliable electric system as a Distributed Resources

How long have you been involved in demand side activities?
I was involved with our first attempts at energy efficiency in 1986.  Back then one of our main efforts was to conduct energy audits and come up with energy savings measures for large C/I customers.  I have been in some way been working with customers ever since.

What challenges have you faced as a DR professional within your organization and within the industry?
I think one of the challenges is getting everyone to think about demand response in different ways.  For example, the industry needs to recognize the 'insurance' value of DR, and the fact that there will be times that we need to pay customers even when there are no emergency or price related events.  This is necessary to be able to offer a program that ensures that customers will be there when they are needed. Some time can pass between the need for customers to respond to events, but we need to make sure they are available when called.  Another development that I think will help in this regard is increasing automation of DR.

What changes have you seen in the industry as it relates to DR and Energy Efficiency over the last few years?

Until quite recently energy efficiency (EE) and DR were treated as two different products by the industry, and the result was program efforts that caused significant customer confusion. To the customer it is all about managing energy costs.  Whether it is through EE or DR is not as important as the ease in which we can get customers to participate, providing them choices in how they undertake EE and/or DR.  We need to strive for transparency and focus on demonstrating the value that EE and DR bring to them – whatever they want to call it.

What do you expect to be the biggest challenge with implementing DR in the next decade?
I think that one challenge will be getting customers to automate their loads and allow the 'system,' either due to pricing or a local and/or system emergency, to manage the customer’s load.  We will have to be able to convince the customer that this can be done while meeting the parameters (comfort, productivity, etc.) that the customer has set.

What advice or guidance would you give to young professionals who are considering a career in demand response and smart grid?

I think there will be a dire need for system integrators (i.e. those individuals who have a good sense of building systems and can work within the EE and DR program design to optimize energy reduction and maximize energy savings for customers in those buildings).

To learn more about National Grid, please visit their website.

© 2016 Solar Electric Power Association    ::     1220 19th Street NW, Suite 800, Washington, D.C., 20036    ::   contact us

Periodic updates on news & events related to demand response and smart grid.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software