Responding to Energy Peaks

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There are many ways to respond to Electricity Peaks from energy storage, curtailment, or even company barbecues. Find a strategy that best suits your business.

Peaks – the very word conjures up fears for many an operations, plant, and energy manager; fears of production interruptions, shutdowns and lost revenue. Businesses view Peaks, and the supposed solution – curtailment – as four-letter words, but your interest in Peaks may be piqued if you knew that curtailment is not the only response you can take.

If your business is serious about Peaks, it must have a proven, flexible, and multi-faceted response strategy. There is no one-size-fits-all plan for dealing with Peaks, and each business needs to take multiple variables into consideration.

Any viable Peak response strategy has to account for your business’ industry, specific equipment, energy assets in your environment, and management preferences, among others.

How a BBQ can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars?

It’s all well and good to talk about strategies in broad strokes, but what can you actually do to flatten your energy use during a Peak? These aren’t your father’s curtailment calls – businesses that leverage their creativity reap the greatest savings.

One way to respond to Peaks is to switch to a generator (either an existing back-up generator or dedicated co-generation unit) during Peak hours. Generators can be rented on a short-term, 4 month lease for roughly $55,000 per MW per month, a 10-year shared savings agreement (60-80% of savings), or purchased outright for roughly $1 million per MW.

Businesses that leverage their creativity reap the greatest savings.

Another option is to switch over to battery power during Peak hours. Battery purchasing options are similar to those for generators, namely a 10-year shared savings agreement. Alternatively battery capacity can be purchased for approximately $1.5 million per MW. If your business has a fleet of electric vehicles, these can also be used as batteries – providing energy when idle and re-charged during off-peak hours.

That said, don’t think that fighting peaks necessarily involves spending millions on new equipment – changing your operating procedure and forming new habits can have just as large of an impact.

For instance, heating and cooling regimes can be altered to help fight Peaks, with changes to HVAC loads (say reducing these in areas with low occupancy) helping reduce Peak hour energy use. This is particularly useful for businesses with many vacant rooms, such as conference centres or hotels.

Alternatively, you can make use of thermal storage and pre-cool your facility at night, thereby reducing or turning off cooling during Peak hours. Making use of intelligent building management and IoT devices makes coordinating lightning and HVAC response efforts far easier.

Energy storage, generator leasing, HVAC loads, schedules changes and more. Do you know how others in your industry respond to Peaks?

Even simple things like shift schedules can be recruited for the fight against Peaks; just arrange it so that shift changes or meal breaks coincide with Peak hours.

This limits the impact on production while also utilizing down-time that was going to happen anyway. In a similar vein, you can schedule maintenance to align with Peak hours, especially with several days advance notice of an upcoming Peak day.

Shifting production to the weekends or evenings also allows you to catch-up on any backlog from curtailment periods. Even if you choose to implement a complete shutdown, use that time for employee training, equipment maintenance, and cleaning – or a BBQ.

Why have your company get-together on the weekend, when you can move it to a weekday Peak. Your employees get time off work and hot dogs, and your business saves a massive amount of money – what’s not to like?

From getting your project funded to finding savings once commissioned, contact us to ease the financial impact of your clean energy transition.

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What about forecasting?

We touched on the importance of forecasting earlier; this is where energy technology like EnPowered comes in. EnPowered’s machine learning algorithms provide you with precise, easy to understand, reliable forecasts at the touch of a button. We encourage you to take the opportunity to try EnPowered Free for yourself and check out more industry-specific insights and response strategies.

Find out you compare to your industry’s average savings or how others in your field respond to Peaks. Where do you land in comparison?

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