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On the Plane Again – March 2023

Preface — March 2023

As Generac Grid Services’ SVP of sales, I get the opportunity to lead a global team of hardware and software sales leaders who help utilities and other energy companies solve their grid problems. This blog continues the series I kicked off at the start of 2023. In it, I intend to anonymously share what’s on the minds of peers in this industry actively working to modernize the grid. So, whether you’re a utility representative, industry vendor, or other grid enthusiast – reach out if any of this speaks to you!

This month was very short due to taking a break and dealing with a personal loss. Regardless, the time spent in the field was full of great discussions, as always. Here’s a look at what my team and I often found ourselves discussing during the month of March.

TechAdvantage: Good Times in the Music City

For the second year in a row, I had the pleasure of attending NRECA’s TechAdvantage Expo in Nashville, TN. For those that don’t know, this is the largest event catering to the electric cooperative space; it was great to see some old faces and meet many new ones.

A recurring theme throughout the conference was the desire to grow the distributed energy resource (DER) install base. Many groups were keen to understand how they could provide access to Generac products to their members. More importantly, they wanted to recruit Generac units to be dispatchable as grid resources. Fortunately, between Generac’s PowerINSIGHTS and Energy Alliance Program, we can meet both of those needs. Sharing this understanding with booth visitors has led the team to keep busy with TechAdvantage follow-up calls and meetings.

The co-op space is growing its interest in having a platform that can solve for more than just capacity and load needs. This meant that another major topic for discussion was our Concerto™ control and optimization platform. Our team experienced many more requests for demonstrations of our virtual power plant (VPP) and distributed energy resource management system (DERMS) software relative to the 2022 show.

Finally, the third star of the booth was our integrated meter automated transfer switch (ATS) which combines the meter socket and automated transfer switch and can even include an intelligent load management solution. Typically, these products are separate units. However, combining them makes life easier for dealers to install our generation products and supports customers in efficiently sizing the generator to their home load.

A Time to Relax & A Time to Mourn

After Nashville, I had a chance to relax as my kids were on spring break. It was great to stay home and catch up, as life on the road is exhausting. The weather wasn’t great, but we made the most of it.

Soon after, I was met with a bit of tragedy. I learned of the passing of my father. This was hard as it had been some 11 years since we last spoke; pride and stubbornness can often get in the way. However, I recall his dedication to his work and his being a master storyteller. I will miss our talks about Alabama football and his ability to create very colorful metaphors.

Closing the Month with Monetization

Following my return to the office, I spent ample time meeting with groups to discuss the ability to monetize assets. I see more and more groups looking to promote Generac’s — and other vendors’ — products and then monetize those assets in wholesale markets and/or utility programs. This monetization is typically through a third-party ownership (TPO) model whereby a company owns the assets and leases them back to a residential or commercial customer.

Interested prospects include groups seeking to participate in the Aggregated Distributed Energy Resources (ADER) pilot in ERCOT. I have the honor of serving on the Task Force guiding the pilot, and we had our quarterly meeting this past month. The effort has made significant progress, but much is left to do.

Our role is simple in all the above opportunities – provide the hardware and software.

As I look ahead, April will be jam-packed with travel. Between hosting a DERMS Workshop in Austin and client trips on the east coast and Midwest, my calendar has very few days at home. Nevertheless, I look forward to the discussions as I work with groups to address today’s problems and future planning challenges. As always, until next month, see you around the terminal!

The Value of Monitoring When, Where and How Much EVs Charge


Generac Grid Services provides end-to-end electric vehicle (EV) load management solutions that aim to meet utilities and other energy companies wherever they are in their territory’s electrification journey. Industry discussions have identified three major programming categories: Charging Insights & Monitoring, Behavioral and Rate-aware Programs, and Automated Smart Charging via direct load control. This blog is the first in a three-part series that discusses the value that each of these programming categories brings to utilities. The first step is to know where, when and how much EVs are charging.

Fueling the EV Transition, Reliably

Electric demand from EVs is set to accelerate, driven by public policy funding for public charging through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program and fueled by electric vehicle tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act. For utilities, however, the rapid proliferation of EVs can cause blind spots in managing daily operations of the grid and planning for future grid needs. This challenge results because utilities typically do not require customers with electric vehicles and a Level II charger to undergo an interconnection review process.

One way to overcome this lack of visibility is to have customers opt-in to share their charging data directly with their utility. Collecting charging data from a connected car device that plugs into a vehicle’s onboard diagnostic port or directly through the vehicle’s telematics can provide invaluable insights. Fundamentally, these data allow utilities to better understand when, where, and how much customers charge EVs. Charging insights underpin analyses that enable utilities to make more educated operational decisions and inform equipment replacement cycles, catching potential issues before they lead to more significant problems.

Enhanced Program Design

Understanding when customers typically charge is the first step to helping a utility design the appropriate programmatic response. For example, if data monitoring reveals that charging activity is coincident with local or system peaks, time of use (TOU) rates or off-bill incentives to encourage off-peak charging may be two of the more effective corrective actions. From a program design perspective, data from the monitoring program can help define the proper times to set as “on peak” times to pay an incentive or set a rate.

Improved Situational Awareness

Understanding where customers are charging and how much they are charging increases awareness for system operators and planners. Unforeseen or unexpected load pockets may be explained with an EV charge monitoring program. If a system operator knows where EV load is concentrated, it may be possible to recommend alternative solutions to problems such as equipment failure due to thermal overloads with managed charging programs instead of traditional infrastructure upgrades. However, situational awareness of where the flexible EV load is and how much is available is a prerequisite to considering alternative approaches to infrastructure upgrades.

Increased Uptime & Reliability

From a forward-looking system planning perspective, combining EV load data with AMI data can help inform utility predictive equipment health programs, ultimately leading to increased uptime and reliability metrics. If EV load monitoring shows clustering of EVs in certain areas, increasing the size of transformers being replaced in that area with a larger size may be preferable. For example, changing the standard procedure to change out 25 kVA transformers with 50 kVA transformers in areas with EV concentrations will likely prevent issues before they crop up. Data monitoring today also sets the stage for a future when vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology becomes more pervasive, letting grid operators know how much flexible EV capacity there is in a given area.

Collecting data is the first step in identifying potential issues and laying the groundwork for subsequent interventions to influence charging patterns, such as developing a TOU rate or other incentive-based load management program. Vehicle monitoring and direct load control programs have similar goals in trying to prevent more minor issues before they become bigger challenges and lead to outages or other adverse outcomes.

Michael Goldman
Director, Business Development & Regulatory Affairs, Generac Grid Services

On the Plane Again – February 2023

February 2023


As Generac Grid Services’ SVP of sales, I get the opportunity to lead a global team of hardware and software sales leaders who help utilities and other energy companies solve their grid problems. This blog continues the series I kicked off last January. In it, I intend to anonymously share what’s on the minds of peers in this industry actively working to modernize the grid. So, whether you’re a utility representative, industry vendor, or other grid enthusiast – reach out if any of this speaks to you!

DISTRIBUTECH, How I’ve Missed You

I always look forward to DTECH. It’s like a big class reunion and catching up with longtime friends in the industry is always a plus. The week started with our kick-off happy hour event, where we had a great mix of friends, customers, and prospective customers. The team asked me to give a welcome speech, so I briefly thanked everyone for joining us amidst preparations for a busy week and talked about how we view them all like family; after all, many attendees have been around since our early days as Enbala.

During the week, the conversations focused on three areas:

  1. DERMS: What is it? Why does every vendor think they have one? Why is our platform different? The answers came down to focusing on differentiating demand response management systems (DRMS), virtual power plants (VPPs), and distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS). We talked through the use cases of each because, let’s be honest with ourselves, a DRMS cannot do what a DERMS can and neither can an advanced distribution management system (ADMS).
  2. Hardware & PowerINISIGHTS: As has been the case for the past several months, the PowerINSIGHTS tool was a hit. It supported many discussions around what Generac devices are in the ground today and how those DERs can support grid reliability. Where Generac Grid Services’ Concerto platform is not yet in the mix, we discussed how to use our Grid Services API to access Generac devices.
  3. Electric Vehicles: I will preface this with the statement that EVs were the buzz of DTECH. Between charging infrastructure and cars, it was certainly top of mind for many vendors and utilities. Our discussion centered around our new Generac Level II EV Charger for the residential space and our partnership with RER to bring telematics into the Generac Grid Services’ ecosystem. Every utility grid will uniquely experience EV load growth, and management solutions will require the ability to meet utilities at their distinct points in the managed charging journey.

A Chance to Keynote at Smart Energy Summit

It was great to be back on the stage at Parks Associates’ Smart Energy Summit, as it’s been roughly 12 years since I spoke at the event. My keynote focused on “the good, the bad, and the reality of program design.” During the “reality” part of the discussion, I even took a few shots at groups that aren’t “playing nice” in this space. If DER vendors are going to support maximizing customer choice in utility programs, they must play fair by providing control and optimization platforms with some level of access. Some great questions were posed, but the one that really stood out was, “What’s your favorite Western?” The answer is The Sons of Katy Elder with John Wayne.

A Trip to New Orleans

I must admit, in all the years I have been in this industry, this was my first trip to AESP’s Annual Conference. It was a good event with some familiar faces and plenty of new ones. There were plenty of questions about Generac, specifically about Generac’s vision and plan for the Grid Services business. My takeaway is that many groups within our industry still don’t know the value we can provide by coupling our hardware and software. Further, they’re unfamiliar with the various use cases Concerto™-enabled solutions offer to help stabilize the electric grid. Some would see this as a challenge, but I view it as an opportunity.

Some of the sidebar discussions I had at AESP centered around focusing our efforts on existing installations, both residential and commercial, to help in grid emergencies. There is real value there. We must provide a business model that works with the regulatory and programmatic confines. Stay tuned — more to come on this subject in future posts!

In all, it was a good month, but a quick one. Great discussions all around! March could be full of surprises as we end the first quarter. By the time this is posted, I’ll be at the TechAdvantage Expo event in Nashville. Visiting with representatives of the electric cooperative space always presents an opportunity to learn about what challenges they are facing. I plan to spend some downtime during the month as spring break draws near. Until next month, see you around the terminal!