Over the past 10 years, there has been tremendous growth in the number of individuals that consider themselves to be demand response and smart grid professionals, yet there has been no organization for these people to join as individuals. There is now.

The Demand Response Coordinating Committee (DRCC) was a 501 c (3) non-profit organization whose mission has been to increase the knowledge base in the US on demand response and to facilitate the exchange of information and expertise among demand response practitioners and policy makers. The DRCC later adopted smart grid as part of its charter as it recognized early that demand response and smart grid were necessarily intertwined, and that demand response was one of the primary ways that the smart grid would be “put into action.” Since the DRCC was formed in 2004, it has offered only corporate and organizational memberships.

On March 14, 2011, the DRCC transitioned to become the Association for Demand Response and Smart Grid (ADS). Technology companies, utilities, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and other entities are welcome to join as group members, but the ADS also now offers individual memberships to demand response and smart grid professionals.

A key thing that DR and SG professionals want today is to stay informed. Yet trying to stay informed can be like “drinking from a fire hose.” ADS staff monitor policy and business developments and “push” the information that its members want out to them in the form of newsletters, bulletins, webinars and other activities. Another desire of such professionals is to network with others, for reasons ranging from developing business partnerships to identifying parties that have “lessons learned” type of information they can pass along. A key mission of ADS is to develop a DR and SG community and to facilitate the exchange of experience and expertise among the members of that community.

One of the ways that ADS members can be involved is in the planning of events, including the organization’s signature event – the National Town Meeting on DR and Smart Grid, which this year will be held in Washington, DC from July 12-14. The Town Meeting will be the annual meeting for ADS members on an ongoing basis.

A recent achievement of the ADS is the spearheading of the formation of another non-profit group, the National Action Plan Coalition (NAPC). This new group is a “coalition of coalitions” that has been formed to implement the National Action Plan on DR and Smart Grid put out by FERC and DOE in 2010. Among the organizations included in the NAPC are all three of the utility trade associations (EEI, APPA and NRECA), associations for state regulators, state energy directors and state consumer advocates, and stakeholder groups from the energy efficiency, environmental and high technology sectors. More information on this effort is available at www.napcoalition.org. For more information on the ADS, see www.demandresponsesmartgrid.org.

Dan Delurey, Executive Director, ADS