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Characterization of Residential Distributed Energy Resource Potential to Provide Ancillary Services



David G. Holmberg, Farhad Omar


This report reviews a set of electric grid ancillary services and analyzes the technical potential for residential devices to provide those services. A set of common residential devices are evaluated against six indicators of capability: flexibility, availability, fast response, reserves, reactive power, and power level. Based on these indicators of capability, three scores are developed to express the potential of a device to provide frequency response, reserves and reactive power services. These scores are additionally used to estimate how many of each device might be required, in aggregation, to provide a meaningful level of each of these three ancillary services to the grid. This report also provides a review of some existing programs and pilots where residential devices are used to provide ancillary services. Lastly, the report provides insights on a continued path to increased integration of residential devices for ancillary services provision.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 1900-601
Report Number


ancillary services, electric grid, frequency control, frequency response, reactive power, regulation, reserves, residential devices, voltage control


Holmberg, D. and Omar, F. (2018), Characterization of Residential Distributed Energy Resource Potential to Provide Ancillary Services, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 15, 2024)
Created October 10, 2018, Updated November 10, 2018