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B. Interest Groups: Grid-Interactive Behind-the-Meter Storage

Grid-Interactive Behind-the-Meter Storage

About Grid-Interactive Behind-the-Meter Storage

Grid-Interactive Behind-the-Meter Storage

The PLMA Grid-Interactive Behind-the-Meter Storage Interest Group (BTMS) Interest Group provides a focused platform for information sharing and market development efforts in support of wide scale implementation of grid-interactive behind-the-meter storage technologies. ‘Grid-Interactive' is the consensus term describing real-time, two-way communication between the BTMS technology and the electric utility, balancing authority, independent system operator or aggregation entity. When equipped with grid-interactive control functionality, a BTMS technology (GIWH, Thermal Storage (heating & cooling), EV or Battery System) stores electric energy, having the ability to follow locational marginal pricing, providing fast regulation service and better integrating renewable energy, thereby effectively reducing the carbon footprint of the BTMS technology and the home or business. The PLMA BTMS Interest Group is dedicated to bringing the economic, environmental and societal benefits of grid-interactive BTMS technologies to end-use electric customers across the country as an active participant in The Community Storage Initiative!

Grid-Interactive Behind-the-Meter Storage Leadership

Gary Connett, Great River Energy
Gary Connett
Great River Energy

Steve Koep, Vaughn Thermal
Steve Koep
Vaughn Thermal Corporation

Upcoming Activities

Behind-the-Meter Storage Meeting at 36TH PLMA Conference, Cambridge, Mass.
Monday, November 13, 2017

The Expanding Role of BTMS and DER Integration

9:00 - 10:00 am

BTMS and DER Integration Interest Groups: It’s Merger Time! Beneficial Electrification Interest Group: The Right Time?

Gary Connett, Great River Energy (MN); Steven Koep, Vaughn Thermal Corp.; Rich Barone, Hawaiian Electric Co.; John Powers, Extensible Energy
During the recent PLMA Strategic Planning Meeting, the idea was put forward to merge the Behind-The-Meter Storage Interest Group with the DER Integration Interest Group. The groups have jointly conducted several well-attended pre-conference sessions on the front end of recent PLMA conferences and all of the co-chairs agreed to bring it up for discussion in Cambridge. In addition, the topic of Beneficial Electrification has generated conversation about the need for a Beneficial Electrification Interest Group. Join us for an intro to Beneficial Electrification from Keith Dennis (NRECA), one of the co-authors of the thought-provoking 2016 article entitled Environmentally Beneficial Electrification — The Dawn of Emissions Efficiency. We invite your input, knowledge and passion as we prepare to move forward with this evolution in the structure and function of PLMA Interest Groups!

10:00 – 10:50 am

The Grid-Enabled Product Category Comes to Fruition! Every Electric Water Heater Should Be Grid-Connected!

Moderator Steve Koep, Vaughn, Co-Chair PLMA Behind-the-Meter Storage (BTMS) Interest Group; Co-Chair The Community Storage Initiative

Keith Dennis, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Keith Dennis, NRECA
The Formalization of the Grid-Enabled Product Category
Paul Steffes, Steffes
Paul Steffes, Steffes Corp.
The Path to Grid-Interactive Water Heating (GIWH), Opportunities & Challenges
Rich Barone, Hawaiian Electric Company
Rich Barone, Hawaiian Electric Co.
A GIWH Postcard From Hawaii

As we approach 2018, the DOE rulemaking process has firmly established the Grid-Enabled category of ETS (Electric Thermal Storage) water heaters in the marketplace, with almost all of the water heater manufacturers now offering or preparing to offer large-capacity (75+ gallons) electric resistance water heaters for use in electric utility load management and demand response programs. The introduction of real-time 2-way communication between the Grid-Connected electric water heating appliance and the Smart Grid, Electric Utility, Balancing Authority, Independent System Operator (ISO) or aggregation entity has identified a wealth of value-added potential. Electric utilities around the country, both large and small, are exploring the potential for large-capacity Grid-Interactive ETS Water Heaters (GIWH) to function as DER resources, having the ability to: follow locational marginal pricing, better integrate renewable energy and provide fast up/down regulation service (frequency control). Electric water heating as an integral part of the ‘connected home’ future, is an emerging reality for electric utilities across the country. Simultaneously, increasing amounts of variable renewable energy are being integrated to the grid. Join us for a discussion of how policies and technologies interact and continue to evolve as we move toward ‘Grid-Interactive Water Heating’, ‘Community Storage’ and ‘Beneficial Electrification’!

10:50 – 11:00 am

Morning Wrap Up! Next Steps?

View the Whole Agenda

The BTMS Interest Group will be meeting jointly with the DER Integration Interest Group.  See the entire agenda for the 36th PLMA Conference in Cambridge, Mass. Nov. 13-15 at CLICK HERE.

Archive Activities

Behind-the-Meter Storage Interest Group Pre-Conference Meeting, April 3, 2017
Presentations at

Community Storage Pre-Conference Workshop
Brought to you by the DER and Behind-the-Meter Storage Interest Groups

This event was presented November 7, 2016 before the 34th PLMA Conference, Delray Beach, Fla. To access the resources CLICK HERE.

NRECA, NRDC & PLMA Launch “Community Storage” Initiative; Unveil Brattle Group Research
The Interest Group was instrumental in bringing together this collaborative effort.
Learn more about the initiative CLICK HERE or Download the report

Grid-Interactive Behind-the-Meter Storage Interest Group Pre-Conference Workshop
April 18, 2016, before the 17th PLMA Spring Conference, San Francisco
When the IoT Meets Behind-The-Meter Storage (BTMS)!
Grid-Responsive Becomes Grid-Interactive & Load Management Becomes ‘Community Storage'!

In recent months, it has become increasingly apparent that overall interest in energy storage is rapidly accelerating. From the introduction of the Tesla ‘Powerwall' to a recent RMI Report entitled “The Economics of Demand Flexibility”, there is an emerging consensus that the country needs a wide variety of dynamic energy storage resources. At the same time, the Community Solar business model has experienced growing acceptance by the electric utility industry as a valid renewable production strategy. These realizations have led directly to the recent announcement that NRECA, NRDC and PLMA have launched a coordinated market development effort entitled ‘The Community Storage Initiative'. Following the recent release of The Brattle Group research, “The Hidden Battery” (sponsored by NRECA, NRDC and PLMA), The Community Storage Initiative is an inclusive national market development collaborative that will garner the support of the electric utility industry, the environmental community, the renewable energy industry and the public policy community. Utility personnel, demand response practitioners and their respective organizations will benefit greatly from the compelling dialogue!
See the Workshop Presentations CLICK HERE

- March 24, 2016, online
PLMA DR Dialogue:  Community Storage Initiative and Hidden Battery Report

with Keith Dennis, National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, and Ryan Hledik, The Brattle Group
Webcast Recording at
Community Storage Initiative website at:

- November 2, 2015, Charlotte, North Carolina
Grid-Interactive Water Heating Interest In-Person Group Meeting

New Rules! New Opportunities! Grid-Interactive Water Heating for 2016!
On April 30, 2015, President Obama signed the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 (S.535). The legislation as enacted contains a bi-partisan provision that allows manufacturers to produce large-capacity (75-119 gal.) Grid-Enabled Electric Thermal Storage (ETS) water heaters, exclusively for use in electric utility load management and Demand Response (DR) programs. Grid-Enabled ETS Water Heaters will allow legacy water heater load management programs to be continued or expanded while providing the opportunity for new Grid-Interactive Water Heating (GIWH) programs that provide mutual benefits for electric utilities and their members/customers. Grid-Interactive Water Heating (GIWH) is the consensus term describing real-time, two-way communication between the GIWH appliance and the Smart Grid, electric utility, ISO or aggregation entity.  When equipped with high-speed, 2-way GIWH control functionality, a large-capacity (75-119 gal.) Grid-Enabled ETS (Electric Thermal Storage) water heater can respond to near real-time input thus enabling fast up-and-down regulation and frequency control for the purpose of providing ancillary services and renewable storage to the utility or grid-operator.

8:30 - 10:00 am

Session 1

  • Meeting Overview and Introductions Steve Koep,Vaughn, GIWH Interest Group Co-Chair
  • New Rules - The Energy Efficiency Act of 2015 and the 'New' Grid-Enabled Product Classification Keith Dennis, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
  • New Report - The HECO GIWH Demonstration Project, Dan Flohr, Sequentric
  • New Control Technology – Leveraging the Installed Base as an EE and DR Resource, Matt Carlson, Sunnovations
10:00- 10:30am


10:30 - 12 noon

Session 2

  • New Case Study: Grid-Interactive Electric Thermal Storage Water Heating - A Utility Case Study Paul Steffes,Steffes Corp.
  • New Demonstration Project: Enhanced Load Management - The Co-op Experience Ken Glaser, Connexus; Eric Lebow, Power Over Time
  • New Product: Grid-Enabled ETS Water Heaters - The Water Heater Manufacturer's Perspective Steven Koep, Vaughn Thermal, GIWH Interest Group Co-Chair
12 noon - 12:30 pm

Closing Panel Discussion

New Opportunities for GIWH In 2016 
Gary Connett, Great River Energy; Keith Dennis, NRECA; Paul Steffes, Steffes Corp.; Eric Lebow, Power Over Time; Steven Koep, Vaughn Thermal Corp.

June 11, 2015, Group Discussion online
Register to hear recording at

April 27, 2015, Group Meeting in Tucson, Arizona
The Future of GIWH – Is There Life after the DOE Rule?

The April 27 meeting of the PLMA Grid-Interactive Water Heating Interest Group will follow the format of the April 9 PLMA DR Dialogue, which was entitled: The Future of GIWH – Is there life after the DOE rule?This will be an interactive meeting with a couple of short presentations on the status of legislative and regulatory efforts to ensure continued access to large-capacity electric resistance water heaters for residential GIWH applications. This will be followed by a roundtable discussion on the latest in grid interactive water heater technology and application. Please join us for a timely update on the latest activities related to overturning or developing a work-around for the DOE's ban on large-capacity (55-119 gal.), residential electric resistance water heaters. ‘Come on in, the water's fine!'

9:00 - 10:00 am

Legislative and Regulatory Update

10:00 - 10:30 am

Refreshment Break

10:30 - 12:30 pm

Roundtable Discussion

12:30 pm


12:30 - 1:30 pm

Buffet Lunch Provided

8:00 - 10:00 pm

Welcome Reception Poolside

All Interest Group participants are welcome to join the group poolside following the PLMA Board Meeting. The welcome reception is PLMA's opportunity to welcome everyone attending the Interest Group Meetings, PLMA Conference, or ALCA Spring Meeting. Take advantage of this informal networkingtime to meet new people, greet old friends, and keep the conversation going. The reception will be located directly by the pool on the soft grass, so kick off your shoes, have a seat by the fire pit, and get acquainted with PLMA members and non-members alike.

April 9, 2015
The Future of Grid-Interactive Water Heating: Is There Life After the DOE Final Rule?

Registration to access resources and view the recording at: CLICK HERE
Additional Resources from this discussion include:

  • Testimony of Steve Koep, Vaughn Thermal Corp., on H.R. 906
  • Hoeven-Pryor Water Heater Amendment Proposed Language
  • Shaheen-Portman Amendment Proposed Language
  • AHRI Brief and Recording Link

The Group developed GIWH and Thermal Storage sessions for the ACEEE Hot Water Forum held Feb. 22-24, 2015 in Nashville.

November 3, 2014, Philadelphia
Grid-Interactive Electric Water Heating Workshop

Presentations at

September 18, 2014, webinar
Grid-Interactive Electric Water Heating Group Regulatory Update

Learn more at

April 14, 2014, Denver CO
Making the Case for Grid-Interactive Electric Water Heating in 2014

October, 2013, Atlanta GA
Click Here To View The Archived Presentations From...
Come on in, the Water's Fine: The Emerging Market for Grid-Interactive Electric Water Heating
Download Summary Report of Workshop


Is the Holy Grail of the power grid already in your basement?

Advanced Thermal Energy Storage For Direct Load Control In A Low Load Growth, High DG  Future
by Paul Steffes, P.E., Steffes Corporation

White Paper on Market Potential Study on Water Heater Demand Management

PLMA Press Release, August 2013

ESource Names GIWH as Game-Changing Technology for 2013 

Mega Watts Daily Article, December 2013

Founding Members

This Group is co-chaired Gary Connett, Great River Energy and Steve Koep, Vaughn Thermal Corp. Founding Group Members are (alphabetical by last name):

  • Joseph Childs, Eaton's Cooper Power Systems
  • Bill Kallock, Integral Analytics
  • Steve Kaminski, New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, Inc.
  • Heather Manypenny, New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, Inc.
  • Kelly Murphy, Steffes Corporation
  • Mikko Niemi, Landis+Gyr
  • David Podorson, E Source
  • Ed Smith, Intelligent Energy Solutions LLC
  • Melanie Smith, Bonneville Power Administration
  • Paul Steffes, Steffes Corporation 
  • Teresa Waugh, Bonneville Power Administration
  • Edward Webster, Great River Energy
  • Paul Wyman, Lockheed Martin

PLMA Interest Group membership is restricted to representatives from PLMA member organizations, but any organization is welcome to join PLMA. To add your name to this list and receive Group Communications, email

Recent Blog Activity
Pre-Conference Workshop in Philadelphia
Post by Steve Koep, Vaughn Thermal Corp., Friday, May 30, 2014
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Upcoming Events
PLMA Member Meet-up @ DistribuTECH 2018
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
37th PLMA Conference
Monday, April 16, 2018

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more Calendar

12/12/2017 » 12/13/2017
[ally] u.s. energy storage summit 2017

[ally] Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative's Consumer Symposium

1/23/2018 » 1/25/2018
[ally] DistribuTECH Conference & Exhibition


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