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Get a Load of This! Monthly Digest of the Top Content Submitted to the Load Management Group in Energy Central- May 7, 2020

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Matt Chester's picture
Energy Analyst Chester Energy and Policy

Official Energy Central Community Manager of Generation and Energy Management Networks. Matt is an energy analyst in Orlando FL (by way of Washington DC) working as an independent energy...

  • Member since 2018
  • 10,875 items added with 1,518,942 views
  • May 7, 2020

Welcome back to another installment of the ‘Get a Load of This!’ monthly digest where I share with you a few selections from Energy Central’s Load Management community over the past four weeks. In case you’ve been too caught up in recent weeks to check out the community, I’m here to make sure you don’t miss out on some of the critical and high value content that’s come in—so read on for some of the most popular and discussed Load Management content from your fellow community members! It’s not too late to read, comment, or even ask the author of the article a question. As the week winds down, it’s the perfect time to connect with a peer in the industry from somewhere else in the country (or even world!) for a discussion. Consider this the opportunity for a virtual conference in lieu of the Spring’s regularly scheduled conference season that’s currently on hold.

As always, if you have ideas about stories that should be included in this digest next time, then please let me know in the comments. Sharing insights and perspectives will only make us all stronger Load Management Advocates!

Matt Chester

Community Manager


After the Pandemic, Use EVs to Absorb Spare Utility Capacity

Link to original article:

As with all industries, the utility sector’s top stories are undoubtedly related to the current coronavirus situation and how the pandemic is impacting operations. Within the world of load management, Chris Nelder (the manager of mobility transformation at Rocky Mountain Institute) shares the numbers he crunched on how the COVID-inspired decline in grid power demand might actually create a new opportunity for electric vehicles to absorb spare utility capacity. This type of thinking and innovative problem solving in real-time is necessary for the best results to come to the industry in the wake of and after COVID-19 is behind us, so thought leaders should take a note from Chris in not just his fascinating idea but in his approach to tackling these newly arisen problems.  

Maximizing Value from DERs Through Value Stacking

Link to original article:

When it comes to distributed energy resources (DERs) as a tool for load management, many analyses and strategies target single DERs—whether that’s adopting EV charging strategies, energy storage installations, smart thermostats, or otherwise. This single-DER approach, argues Donald Mcphail of Uplight, is leaving a lot on the table when more savings and more benefits would arise if customers and program managers alike recognized the added advantages that would come from value stacking multiple DER strategies. When it comes to energy management, Donald shows how this is an instance where the total can be more than the sum of the parts and forward-looking implementations should concentrate more on such value stacking.


The Five “Immortal Objections” to Time-of-Use Rates

Link to original article:

One of the handiest tools at the hands of energy load management professionals is the Time-of-Use rate which incentives customers small and large to prioritize their energy intensive behaviors (such as industrial processes in large manufacturing customers are charging EVs and running the laundry in residential customers) during times where supply is more likely to exceed demand. Despite TOU rates benefitting customers and utility providers alike, energy professionals are well aware that certain customers will still find objections to adapting to these practices. Frustrated with such easily overcome issues, Ahmad Faruqui (Principal at Brattle) decided to put together what he considers the five most common objections to TOU rates and his straightforward ways to resolve these concerns to encourage wider TOU adoption. Well worth a read for anyone who struggles to get more buy-in with these types of strategies.  

Two Questions from Community Members

Lastly, I wanted to share some of the great recent questions that were submitted to the Load Management group at Energy Central with two goals in mind.

First, as you’ll see we’ve gotten some great responses and insights from the experts who sit amongst us into these critical questions that were asked by Energy Central members. Take a look at some of the timely, thorough, and detailed answers that these questions received and the discussions they generated. Then please keep that in mind the next time you find yourself at a crossroads in a decision, struggling to find an answer or a resource, or anything else that has you scratching your head. You can always tap into Energy Central’s Network of Experts and wider community simply by submitting a question to the group yourself (which you can even submit anonymously if you need).

Second, if you have any further insights or ideas that you don’t see having already been shared in response to these questions, please jump in and share your two cents! The more of our community that chimes in, the better resource this Q&A will be for all in the industry. So check out the answers and add to them if you think something is missing.


Thanks for reading this issue of ‘Get a Load of This!’ See you in this spot in four weeks to go over the great content that will be coming between now and then! This spot can feature the insights from you or the major stories at your organization—so don’t be shy about sharing your content on the Load Management Group today!

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on May 7, 2020

Matt, a good friend of mine is an incontrovertible cynic. He believes load management is a zero-sum game - that forcing EV owners to save up energy in their cars only to lose it at some random point in the future, or forcing customers to pay more for energy when they need it most, amounts to shifting the burden of providing an adequate supply of electricity from utilities to their customers. What would you say to him?

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on May 7, 2020

I'd first self-plug encourage them to read the content that comes into the Load Management Group from experts in the field that are actively working on these solutions and implementing them in a smart manner; as well as with the Load Management Group's partner, PLMA, for the great work they're doing on the topic. 

In terms of it being a zero sum game, I can understand how load management might come across that way because on a day to day basis it seems that way, but load management strategies are a long-term play. Effective load management, whether via EV programs, residential/commercial energy storage installations, industrial TOU strategies, or otherwise, presents a much more cost-effective way to ensure supply and demand are in concert, as the alternative would be building out costly new generation sources that would impact the rates of all customers. Instead, load management allows those additional generation sources to not be built (and thus those costs avoided) while rewarding the customers who are most able to participate. 

A few great resources by people/organizations far more knowledgeable on the topic than me that I can recommend:

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on May 8, 2020

"...load management strategies are a long-term play..."

Matt, whether customers are being starved of electricity over a long period of time vs. a short one is irrelevant. TOU pricing amounts to asking customers to ration their electricity because there isn't enough of the clean kind to go around. Needless to say, this foists the burden of reducing carbon emissions on those least able to afford it - those who have to do their laundry at 10PM so they can afford to pay next month's rent.

That sucks. If anything, the those who have the luxury of using clean electricity whenever they want (in large part, those pushing solar and wind) should bear the burden.

"Effective load management, whether via EV programs, residential/commercial energy storage installations, industrial TOU strategies, or otherwise, presents a much more cost-effective way to ensure supply and demand are in concert, as the alternative would be building out costly new generation sources that would impact the rates of all customers...."

Which do you think would be more expensive: a) installing a single new generation source which can provide clean electricity, at economies of scale, for decades into the future, or b) installing wind and solar sources requiring replacement every 30 years + sufficient backup gas generation + millions of residential/industrial batteries, requiring replacement every 10-12 years?

Re: "load management": a free market in electricity, aka supply/demand, does not exist when a business supplying a product (electricity) is allowed to dictate when customers can use it.

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