Demand side management: Stuttgart airport turns into energy service provider

dena and the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of the Environment help the company enter a new business segment

Flughafen Stuttgart GmbH will be the first company to market flexible loads in the context of the Baden-Württemberg Pilot Project Demand Side Management. The Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena) - the German Energy Agency - has set up the pilot project to demonstrate how companies can support the energy transition by offering demand side management services. In the context of the project, companies adjust their electricity consumption (load) to fluctuations in the electricity system in return for a fee. This helps balance fluctuating energy generated from renewable sources.

"The distribution of flexible electricity loads kicks off a decisive phase in the project which will show us how demand side management works in practice and how much it can contribute to the energy transition," says Baden-Württemberg's Minister of the Environment, Franz Untersteller. He is expected to present the insights gained from the project in Stuttgart on 14 December.

Andreas Kuhlmann, Chief Executive of dena, adds: "We are happy that a prestigious company such as Stuttgart airport has joined the project. With the operators intending to turn Stuttgart into one of the most sustainable airports in Germany, demand side management makes complete sense. The insights gained from this best-practice example can be transferred to other airports."

Among other services, Stuttgart airport will offer the flexible operation of its air condition systems as balancing energy. Air condition systems are well suited for demand side management since they can be temporarily switched off without having a major effect on their cooling capacity. In the course of the pilot project, up to ten further companies will distribute their flexible loads. Specialised energy service providers will assist them in this enterprise. The practical experience gained from this project will be integrated into the further development and propagation of demand side management systems.

Demand side management

Under demand side management systems, companies specifically adjust their electricity consumption to the electricity system's respective requirements.  When electricity generation and load deviate substantially, the companies in- or decrease their demand accordingly. This promotes stability, and hence supply security, in the electricity system.

The companies benefit by earning money from flexible electricity use - for instance by selling balancing energy on the electricity market. Transmission grid operators use balancing energy to compensate for deviations between electricity generation and consumption. In the past, it was mostly conventional power stations that provided balancing energy. In the course of the expansion of renewable energy, they need to be replaced by other technologies and processes, such as demand side management.

Information on demand side management, balancing energy and the pilot project are available at