- Utility-solar trade group Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) announced it will merge with the Association for Demand Response and Smart Grid (ADS), an industry trade group for demand response and smart grid.
- ADS and SEPA will move forward as one organization under the SEPA name, according to a release. The resulting group will focus on utility integration of solar and distributed energy resources such as energy storage, microgrids, electric vehicles, and other technologies.
- The new SEPA will undergo rebranding in 2016, which will include a new name for the merged organization.
The move to merge SEPA and ADS comes at a time when solar and distributed energy technologies are beginning to converge and intersect. The merger positions the new SEPA as the first U.S. trade group to focus on DERs, a fast-emerging area of opportunities and challenges for utilities, third parties, and policymakers alike.
"The issues and interests of solar, demand response and the smart grid will only become more intertwined as we move forward,” said SEPA's CEO Julia Hamm in a statement. “With the strength of ADS added into the fold, SEPA can forge new opportunities to create an extended community, which will, in turn, produce the data and insights necessary for our industry to thrive as we transition to an increasingly clean and decentralized grid.”
Hamm told Utility Dive in an email that the organization began exploring internally the "increasing confluence between solar and other distributed energy resource technologies" more than two years ago.
Both organizations have been instrumental in helping advance the interests of stakeholders in the solar and smart grid sectors.
ADS, formed in 2004, has sponsored webinars and research aimed at educating those who need to know about demand response. ADS also hosted the National Town Meeting on Demand Response and Smart Grid, a well-known industry conference in Washington, D.C.
SEPA's focus since 1992 has been "dedicated to enabling the transition to a clean energy economy by facilitating utility integration and deployment of solar." That focus will now extend to distributed energy resources and other supporting technologies. SEPA is also well-known for putting on Solar Power International with the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the trade group for solar companies.
Board members of both organizations assured their members that the mission of the groups will remain.
“The mission of ADS will remain alive and well at SEPA,” said Howard Smith, manager of Distributed Energy Resource Policy at Southern Company Services and former chair of the ADS Board, in a statement. “All our board members will transition to a new SEPA Advisory Board on Demand Response and Smart Grid, which will work closely with SEPA staff.”
The member of ADS will join SEPA's growing member list of utilities, vendors, project developers, government agencies and other energy stakeholders numbering more than 1,000.
Editor's Note: Utility Dive is partnered with SEPA on our weekly solar publication and newsletter.