Load management


In the energy industry, electricity consumption is often referred to as a “load.” Load management, also known as demand-side management (DSM), is the active control and optimization of power consumption, particularly in industry. By specifically switching loads off and on based on market signals, electricity demand is specifically controlled and managed. It is an important aspect of energy management, particularly in power grids, to avoid bottlenecks, reduce overloads, optimize the utilization of power grids and improve grid stability. Load management is an essential part of the intelligent power grid, also known as the “smart grid.” The existing infrastructure will be equipped with intelligent information and control technologies to enable comprehensive control of active and demand-side load management measures. A distinction is made between load-shifting, load-reductive, load-flexibilized and load-expansive control measures.

load shifting

Load shifting in the context of load management refers to the targeted shift or shift of electrical power consumption from times of high demand or high energy costs to times of lower demand or lower energy costs. The aim is to manage electricity consumption in such a way that it is better in line with fluctuations in electricity generation and variable costs for energy production. In practice, this means that certain electrical loads or consumers are controlled in such a way that they are preferably active in times of lower energy costs or lower grid load. This can be done through pre-programmed schedules, automatic control systems, or responses to external signals such as price or network stability signals.

In contrast to load transfer, load shifting consumes no less electricity overall than originally planned — it is only consumed at different times than initially planned. By shifting loads, companies and consumers can not only reduce their energy costs, but also help to optimize the overall load on the power grid and avoid bottlenecks. This is particularly relevant in times when renewable energies fluctuate strongly and a flexible adjustment of electricity consumption is required.

load shedding

Load shedding, also known as load disconnection or load separation, is another component in load management. It aims to selectively switch off electrical loads or consumers in order to reduce the overall load in the power grid. This measure is usually taken when there is a threat of network congestion or to ensure network stability. Ultimately, this measure is aimed at preventing a complete collapse of the entire energy transmission network.

Load release measures are often implemented automatically via so-called load shedding or load shut-off systems, which become active when certain thresholds are reached and open the relevant circuit breakers. In this case, it is not individual consumers that are switched off, but entire network connections. There are clear rules for load transfer, which are formulated by network operators. In general, a distinction is made between frequency-dependent load shedding and voltage-dependent load shedding.