Today’s energy industry finds organizations adapting to new profiles of production and consumption within an evolving delivery environment. Energy utilities, solution providers and trade allies seek to better understand load management challenges to identify practical paths to implementing proven solutions.
Collectively, PLMA’s 130+ member organizations share a common goal to realize the potential of tomorrow’s energy industry for the benefit of all stakeholders. The non-profit association provides a forum for practitioners to share dynamic load management expertise, including demand response (DR) and distributed energy resources (DER).
Over the past 20 years, there’s been an evolution in load management. PLMA started as an association with a strong foundation in DR for electric peak load management, but now has a growing, additional emphasis on the integration of DERs for further electric and gas system benefits. The term “demand response” now includes a larger set of drivers, typically more automated and integrated into system operations than they were in the past.
DR can provide a wide variety of service benefits for dynamic load management as a component of DER—including distributed photovoltaic and wind, electric vehicle charging, and various forms of energy/thermal storage. This includes benefits for customers who may be “prosumers” (providing--as well as consuming--power), as well as system operations benefits such as volt/VAR control, renewable energy integration, and localized distribution system congestion management.
Industry practitioners who are responsible for day-to-day DR and DER programs participate in PLMA activities to learn from others and share their own dynamic load management expertise. For nearly two decades, the association’s conferences, educational programs and networking opportunities have brought member companies together to develop, implement and share proven practices in a peer-to-peer network.
Energy Ecosystem Collaboration
Through PLMA, members focus on load management solutions while collaborating with other industry associations that also are working towards a more sustainable energy future. PLMA’s Resource Directory provides links to industry experts’ thought leadership assets, including presentation slides and recordings from past PLMA-produced events, articles, reports, and white papers from PLMA initiatives and collaborations, and other materials contributed by PLMA member organizations and allies.
Within the energy industry, other associations add value for their members in distinct ways with unique areas of focus. Some are built upon an individual membership model emphasizing career advancement, while others have an organizational membership model with programs geared towards enhancing business value.
Collaboration among PLMA members and with industry association partners helps all stakeholders better evaluate risks and strengthen opportunities to design and deliver load management programs. PLMA brings staff of member organizations together to collaborate and realize shared goals for the energy industry that can benefit all stakeholders. PLMA provides opportunities for mentored, individual professional development and training as well as honing leadership and presentation skills.
PLMA also collaborates with industry partners, to put a focus on new industry developments, such as joint research with Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association on thermal storage innovations, and a joint initiative with the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) funded by E4TheFuture about non-wire alternatives projects. PLMA members have also published a compendium of industry viewpoints on utility-sponsored Bring-Your-Own Thermostat programs, and a glossary of common DR and DER terms and acronyms. (Download PLMA's free Demand Response Glossary of Terms and Definitions.)
To further provide educational resources for industry professionals, PLMA jointly produces events and publications, such as webcasts with Greentech Media and Parks Associates and a newsletter co-published with Utility Dive. PLMA’s Speakers Bureau has placed presenters at events produced by Association of Energy Service Professionals and United States Energy Association, and PLMA cross-promotes resource news with Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative, OpenADR Alliance, and many other association partners.
PLMA’s training initiatives include a “Defining the Evolution of Demand Response” workshop presented adjacent to industry gathering such as the SEPA Grid Evolution Summit in July. PLMA also produces a week-long training series hosted by energy utility companies. Arizona Public Service and Salt River Project will co-host the PLMA “DR Markets” and “DR Program Design and Implementation” courses this October in Phoenix.
PLMA also hosts co-located meetings with the Utility Load Management Exchange which promotes load control as a viable option for utility deployments in demand reduction, economic dispatch, and/or T&D reliability through a forum for utility staff members.
Load Management Leadership
PLMA does not engage in lobbying, or standards development and is not focused on any one technology area. By focusing on load management, PLMA fills a distinctive energy industry need through its collaborative community built on three fundamental benefits:
Load management expertise. PLMA members help each other understand how load management challenges and solutions are evolving—from proven practices to today’s need for real-time valley-filling as well as peak-clipping. Through interest groups, event presentations, publications, and education, participants exchange practical experience ranging from program design and implementation to consumer engagement and measurement and verification
Peer-to-peer engagement. PLMA member companies share pragmatic lessons learned in the real world by providing access to the industry’s only peer group of load management practitioners. Peer-to-peer collaboration helps member companies effectively engage a variety of stakeholders to align technology, experience and shared goals to react to changing industry drivers.
Linking strategy and implementation. To realize the potential of tomorrow’s energy industry, PLMA creates opportunities to share insights that inform business planning, explore future strategies and identify practical implementation options. Collaboration among business planners, strategists and practitioners helps all stakeholders better evaluate risks and strengthen opportunities. PLMA recognizes the best-in-class proven practices for programs, technology, and thought leadership each spring through its Awards Program.
From important trends covered in PLMA’s DR Dialogue webinar series, to in-person roundtable discussions at conferences, PLMA helps link strategy to practical implementation—and helps link load management peers to other industry partners working in the evolving energy delivery environment. To learn more about PLMA, visit www.peakload.org