Electricity is a commodity, and it’s one that businesses can’t afford to neglect. It powers the servers that run your company’s software, keeps production lines running smoothly, and allows employees to work from home or travel internationally for business meetings. To stay competitive in today’s global economy, your company needs affordable, reliable electricity. That means finding ways to lower your energy bills.
However, high temperatures are causing surges in electricity prices, undermining efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and undercutting the bottom line.
The frequency of heat waves globally has increased over an alarming threshold since 1950, with temperatures rising between 2°C and 6°C. Heat waves are linked to significant increases in electricity demand across much of Europe and North America.
The increase in global temperatures may continue over the next century, driven by rising carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases.
The power grid may not be able to withstand extreme weather conditions. Heat waves are one of the most challenging events for utilities because they increase electricity demand while affecting transmission and distribution infrastructure. During peak demand hours, when temperatures are hottest, and electricity demand is highest, power plants can experience challenges in balancing supply with demand.
This can lead to power outages as utilities attempt to maintain service reliability during peak load periods (when electricity use reaches its maximum).
DSM programs are particularly effective at reducing electricity use during peak hours because they target the largest source of demand: homes and businesses. Of the total electricity consumption in Canada, the residential and commercial sectors account for more than half of the total.
Energy demand side management strategies can be used day or night, even during non-peak times, reducing costs further and helping to avoid greenhouse gas emissions associated with bringing gas and coal plants online. The value of demand-side management strategies is enormous but is an often-overlooked part of our fight against climate change.
If we want to meet our climate goals, we need to find ways to keep the dirtiest sources of power generation offline.
Smart energy curtailment is an effective way to reduce demand and save money. It’s also a terrific way to manage energy usage during peak hours, ensuring that you don’t exceed your budget or emissions targets. As part of this process, you can also use demand side management strategies (DSM) to cut down on consumption by designing incentives for customers to reduce their power consumption at certain times.
In the C&I sector, you should align energy curtailment strategies with overall goals for your facility and its occupants. Consider how you will use microgrids to reduce consumption. Microgrids can enable facilities to switch from being net consumers of energy to net exporters of renewable electricity, allowing them to profit from the excess power they produce. They also allow you to use less expensive off-peak electricity instead.
You can also save money on energy costs by aligning the time of day you use electricity with the price points on your utility bill. This strategy is called load shifting or peak shaving, and it can save C&I facilities thousands of dollars.
Peak shaving works by moving power consumption during hours when rates are highest to off-peak times when rates are lower. You can do this by using smart devices and software that automatically switches your power on and off based on the time and how much electricity you use at any given moment. It can also be used for strategies like load shifting, where commercial spaces will pre-heat or pre-cool spaces to avoid the highest spikes in electricity costs.
A smart grid is a modernized power delivery system that produces power more locally to where it is consumed, generally with Distributed Energy Resources like solar or batteries placed behind the meter on buildings of all types. It also allows customers to shift their electricity usage during peak hours (or even in real-time). For utilities, this reduces the need to construct more generation facilities or hundreds of miles of transmission lines, resulting in lower costs and environmental impacts for consumers and businesses.
Transmission lines send power from where it’s generated to where it’s needed; they’re typically between substations in different regions of a country or state/province/territory—and sometimes even countries themselves! Producing renewable energy at the sites where it is consumed results in far lower costs for the utility, and lower costs for the end customers.
You may also consider installing tracking software for various equipment in your building or space. This will allow you to monitor usage, performance, and costs in real-time, allowing you to adjust accordingly when necessary.
Demand response reduces the strain on the grid during peak times by using automatic control systems—and it’s up to you how far you go with demand response strategies. If you want to go all out, you can set up a demand response strategy that offers incentives to your building’s tenants. This is good for everyone involved: You get energy savings, you build brand goodwill through environmental initiatives, and tenants access more affordable electricity.
It’s like that old investment adage, “buy low, sell high.”
Energy storage can also help reduce consumption by deploying stored energy at strategic times, allowing for greater productivity, and helping with executing your overall demand management strategies. It is becoming increasingly crucial for facilities managers, portfolio managers, and energy managers who are charged with reducing their company’s carbon footprint and controlling the energy operating costs.
A notable example of this sort of microgrid evolution is Peak Power’s project at Ontario Tech University. We are developing and executing a marketplace participation model that empowers Ontario Tech University to participate in the grid. The project applies Peak Power’s Synergy software to a microgrid of co-located assets. The project is focused on 3 major components:
During the evening, when electricity demand is at its peak, the building would use this stored energy to power its lights and equipment. Microgrids can also help prevent electricity outages. If one part of a utility grid loses power, the microgrid will continue to operate and supply electricity so that customers in that area aren’t affected.
If you’re looking for a free, concise guide on all the energy incentives available to commercial buildings and industrial facilities in New York or Massachusetts, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled these eBooks with enough information to help you understand how to work with utility companies, work with regulators, and take advantage of stacking energy incentive programs and value streams. Download the New York eBook here or the Massachusetts eBook here.
If you have questions about DERs, demand side management, energy storage, or smart grids contact us today!