Evolution of Demand Response Through DRAM in California, 2016-2019

by Elta Kolo, Ph.D.

The Demand Response Auction Mechanism (DRAM) began as two-year pilot and over the years has evolved into an overhaul of demand response and flexibility in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) footprint. To date, DRAM has completed four auctions; third parties have been participating in the CAISO wholesale markets since mid-2016 and will continue to do so through 2019.

This insight summarizes the results of the four DRAM auctions that have thus far taken place, in addition to highlighting critical evolutionary milestones that have been achieved since the first auction in 2016. This is an important time to assess the results of each auction and guidance along the way, since the evaluation process that is currently underway will determine if DRAM will continue to be used to procure demand response in California in the future. Moreover, if this model proves successful in California, it has the potential to significantly impact the utility business model in such a way that could be replicated in other territories.


This report is included as part of our Grid Edge Service. To learn more, please contact gridsubscription@gtmresearch.com.

Elta Kolo, Ph.D. Research Manager, Grid Edge

Elta is a Research Manager for the Grid Edge team at GTM Research working on demand-side management in U.S. electricity markets. Prior to joining GTM, Elta pursued a joint Ph.D. funded by the European Commission on Sustainable Energy Technologies and Strategies at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. During her doctoral studies, she researched demand response policies for the implementation of smart grids and has presented her work at both U.S. and European conferences in addition to publishing in international scholarly journals. Elta holds a Master of Science degree in economics and management of network industries and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Union College.

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