Demand response alliance launched

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The Advanced Energy Management Alliance (AEMA), a new trade association, has launched with the mission to promote energy usage management and electric grid efficiency.

Among the leading demand response providers that formed the group are EnerNOC, Comverge, Johnson Controls, IPKeys and Landis+Gyr. Former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Jon Wellinghoff will serve as strategic counsel for the association.

AEMA said in a statement that it would "advocate policies that empower and compensate customers to manage their energy usage to make the electric grid more efficient, more reliable, more environmentally friendly, and less expensive."

AEMA Chair Rick Counihan of EnerNOC added that the group would "bring the demand response community together to leverage our resources and to work as one voice for sensible policy and regulation."

The group will seek to represent consumer interests through a "multi-stakeholder approach," it said, adding that "large end-users of demand response believe consumers and end-users can play an important role in shaping decisions and policies that impact energy markets."

The trade body added that Wellinghoff’s role as counsel would "give him the opportunity to approach the issue from the customer side of the equation."

"While the markets for demand response and consumer engagement have evolved, especially during my tenure at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, we have a great deal of work left to do both at the federal and state level," Wellinghoff said.

Frank Lacey of Comverge and AEMA vice chair added: "Our goals are to increase awareness of the benefits of demand response and to pro-actively advocate for programs and rule structures that make business sense for customers while meeting the needs of grid operators and utilities."

AEMA secretary-treasurer Bruce Campbell of Johnson Controls stressed that demand response allowed consumers to control energy costs and directly benefit from becoming resources to the grid; reduced the need for additional fossil-fuel generated power; and expanded the ability for energy to be managed to the benefit of all participants on the electric grid.

Demand response makes energy markets more cost-effective for consumers and reduces stress on the electric grid, the group added.

"With the proper planning, demand response resources can meet a variety of needs on the grid, including providing capacity, energy, and ancillary services. Demand response also allows customers to reduce their electricity bills through peak load management, and other facility management tools. For consumers to reap the full benefits of demand response, the appropriate regulatory structures are important; AEMA seeks to ensure that advocating for those constructs is done in a unified manner."