Load management


In the energy industry, electricity consumption is often referred to as "load". Load management, also known as demand-side management (DSM), is the active control and optimization of electricity consumption, particularly in industry. By switching loads on and off in response to market signals, the demand for electricity is controlled and managed in a targeted manner. It is an important aspect of energy management, especially in electricity grids, in order to avoid bottlenecks, reduce overloads, optimize the utilization of electricity grids and improve grid stability. Load management is a key component of the intelligent electricity grid, also known as the "smart grid". The existing infrastructure is 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-reducing, load-flexibilized and load-expansive control measures.

Load shifting

Load shifting in the context of load management refers to the targeted shifting or postponement 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 aligned with fluctuations in electricity generation and the variable costs of energy generation. In practice, this means that certain electrical loads or consumers are controlled so that they are preferentially active at times with lower energy costs or lower grid loads. This can be done through pre-programmed schedules, automatic control systems or in response to external signals such as price or grid stability signals.

In contrast to load shedding, load shifting does not mean that less electricity is consumed overall than originally planned - it is just consumed at different times than initially planned. Load shifting not only allows companies and consumers to reduce their energy costs, but also helps to optimize the overall load on the electricity grid and avoid bottlenecks. This is particularly relevant at times when renewable energies fluctuate greatly and flexible adjustment of electricity consumption is required.

Load shedding‍

Load shedding, also known as load disconnection or load disconnection, is another component of load management. It aims to switch off electrical loads or consumers in a targeted manner in order to reduce the overall load in the electricity grid. This measure is usually taken if there is a risk of grid overload or to ensure grid stability. Ultimately, this measure aims to prevent a complete collapse of the entire energy transmission grid.

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