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Get a Load of This! Monthly Digest of the Top Content Submitted to the Load Management Group in Energy Central- August 27, 2020

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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
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  • Aug 27, 2020

The world of load management got unexpectedly (or perhaps predictably, depending on your assessment of the situation) shoved into the spotlight in recent weeks as California suffered from record-setting heat waves that, combined with other factors, led to rolling blackouts across the state. Demand-side management was one of the key tools utilized (and one that is still actively being leaned into today as the situation continues to play out) to minimize the damage of the whole situation, a call which California businesses and residents appear to heeded seriously.

A post-event analysis of what went wrong on the California grid will undoubtedly continue, and of course load management strategies will remain right in the center of that discussion. So take a quick look at some of the most important articles on load management (both CA grid related and not) submitted to Energy Central over recent weeks, and if you want to weigh in on other ways for load management to be tapped into and optimized in California and elsewhere then I encourage you to submit your stories to Energy Central and get them featured in this space next month.


Matt Chester

Community Manager


Why Did My PG&E Power Go Out and What Can I Do?

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From the utility perspective, there are lots of fingers being pointed about the California blackouts and figuring out how it should be rectified in the future. Such blame passing has led to confusion and a lack of accountability, but if the utility industry is confused then imagine how customers feel in trying to assess what exactly happened that led to their power being shutoff? This podcast episode from Barry Cinnamon of Cinnamon Energy Systems looks into the causes of those rolling blackouts and investigates what solutions might be out there from the perspective of the customer. Utility decision makers would be wise to put their ‘non-energy-expert customer’ goggles on and recognize where customers are coming from, which is why this question and Barry’s analysis of it in his podcast is so valuable.


Can Dynamic Pricing Help Manage Load and Prevent Rolling Blackouts?

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Stepping back into the perspective of the utility regarding the blackouts, evaluating what tools are available to them to prevent, or at least dampen, the impacts. One tool to discuss that’s gained favor in many places (but not everywhere) is the use of dynamic pricing. By sending economic signals all the time, not just during emergency situations, utilities can help influence when and how severe peak demand is, which is that opportunity that Rakesh Sharma explores in this article.


The Potential Impact of “Perpetual Weekend” Load Profiles

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While much of the grid attention has been focused on the California story in recent days, the overarching grid profile story for the year of course remains as COVID-19 and how it’s redirected economic activity and associated energy use. Patrick McGarry, Senior Director at PCI, looks at the data trends that have started to pour in that show weekday demand profiles have started to reflect typical weekend load profiles as people continue to work from home in droves, reduce going out, and other societal changes for the time being. The data being analyzed during these times will inform what we know about the power system, people’s use of it, and what the future of load profiles may look like. In that light, Patrick’s article is one you can’t miss.


Virtual Resources

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Last but not least is the latest research report and white paper from John Benson of Microgrid Labs, and in this one he covers a concept that’s been gaining momentum in recent years: virtual power capacity systems. By connecting distributed, small-scale resources like energy storage, EV chargers, on-site generation, demand response, and more, organizations have the ability to create virtual peaking capacity and virtual power plants. John takes stock of these trends and what the future may hold for them in this resource that is a great starting point for anyone seeking to learn more about the state of virtual resources today and tomorrow.



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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