Good News: DOE Updates Energy Efficiency Regulations to Include Grid-Enabled Water Heaters

Based on the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 (EEIA) enacted by Congress earlier this year, the Department of Energy has now updated its regulations to define a new product class for “grid-enabled water heaters.” That’s good news.

These are electric resistance household water heaters with communication and control capability that allow utilities to use them as low-cost thermal batteries, heating the water when power is cheaper and cleaner, and deferring heating when power is expensive. Advanced controls even offer the prospect of providing the grid with ‘ancillary services’ like frequency regulation and load following, reducing the need for power plants to ramp up and down as total energy consumption changes during the day. This can make the electricity system more flexible and ready to use renewable generation that has variable output, like wind and solar.

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