Load management

Load management is the process of balancing the supply of electricity on the network with the electrical load.

Electrical energy is a form of Energy that cannot be stored. It can however be traded as a commodity. It must be generated, shipped to the point where it is needed, and immediately consumed. Consequently, for the generation and distribution of electrical power, load management is a subject that is continually on the minds of the electrical network operators (also known as Transmission system operators). Sometimes the load on a system can approach the maximum generating capacity or the rate at which the load is increasing can increase the rate at which generating output can be increased, even though there is ultimately enough capacity. When this happens, the network operators must either find additional supplies of energy or find ways to curtail the load. If they are unsuccessful within the time allowed, the system will become unstable and blackouts can occur.

The Load Management function may involve sophisticated load analysis in which models are built to describe the physical properties of the distribution network (i.e. topology, capacity, and other characteristics of the lines), as well as the load behavior. The analysis may include scenarios that account for weather forecasts, the predicted impact of proposed load-shed commands, estimated time-to-repair for off-line equipment, and other factors.

Monitoring of the load and the effect a Load control program or Demand response price event might have, is typically done in real-time by human operators, using a SCADA system. If the actual outcome differs from the predicted outcome, the human can intervene to make corrections, applying more or less load shed as necessary.

The accuracy of the load forecast requires ongoing diligence in order to refine the demographics, monitor growth patterns, and maintain knowledge of the amount of dispatchable load.

Load Management might be achieved in the utility using any combination of tools and programs including: construction and operation of new power plants (especially peak generation units), participation in a power pool, demand side management programs (such as operation of a load control system and customer programs to improve energy conservation), as well as demand response programs. New technologies are always under development -- both by private industry [ [http://tdworld.com/mag/power_mega_load_management/ Example of largest load management system developed by private industry] ] and public entities [ [http://www.oe.energy.gov/ US Dept. Of Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery and Electricity Reliability] ] [ [http://www.electricdistribution.ctc.com/monitoring_load_management_technologies.htm Analysis of current US DOE Projects] ] .

Examples of schemes

New Zealand has for many years had a system of load control based on rippled control allowing the utility to switch off or on domestic and commercial water heaters, at will.

France has an EJP tariff, which allows it to disconnect certain loads and to encourage consumers to disconnect certain loads.

In the UK night storage heaters, a crude, much despised heating device, is used to increase load at night, introduced primarily to accommodate the nuclear programme. Also there is a programme of disconnectable industrial loads, based on frequency switches known as Frequency Service This operates in conjunction with Standing Reserve a programme using diesel generators.

See also Control of the National Grid (UK)

See also

Energy management system

[http://www.ecxeng.com/LoadManager.html Load Manager for automotive applications]


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