EMU took part in an electrical demand response test between the hours of 12:00 and 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10.
This test was part of a larger effort to reduce electricity usage during peak load times in the PJM grid, an area encompassing the entirety of Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia, with significant portions in Pennsylvania and Ohio. EMU has signed up to be part of a regional electric grid demand response program in order to help reduce the need for additional power generating facilities.
EnerNOC, an electrical management corporation, manages much of the electricity usage and distribution on the PJM grid. Rather than building more infrastructure and larger facilities to accommodate peak electrical usage times, they offer incentives to drop electrical usage during these peak usage times. They are attempting to manage electrical output in a sustainable manner.
The test EMU participated in last Wednesday helped determine the actual amount of electricity that could be reduced during a real demand response event. EMU, given similar conditions to last Wednesday, uses roughly 1000 kilowatts. During the test, however, EMU reduced its usage by more than 50 percent.
Greg Sachs, Building Automation Coordinator at EMU, and the person responsible for coordinating the electrical demand response test, said that although the data became slightly obscured during the test, EMU reduced its typical usage by roughly 550 kilowatts.
“It’s a small commitment with a reward,” Sachs said of the decision to take part in the test. He further elaborated on a potentially real electrical response situation by saying there are many variables involved.
“During the summer when it might happen,” Sachs said, “there will be less student and staff participation, which was a large help to this test.”
Chris Yoder, Staff Writer
Sachs explained that a real electrical demand response situation would most likely happen on a summer day when air conditioning units are running at full blast. And without students and staff on campus, predicting EMU’s response is much more difficult because they would not be present to assist with energy reduction efforts.
Regardless, EMU is prepared to reduce electrical usage during an electrical response situation as determined by EnerNOC. In such a situation, EMU will receive a notification two hours prior to the need to reduce electrical usage. It is not much time, but EMU has pledged to do what it can to help, with a nice monetary incentive thrown in on the side.