T&D World Magazine

PG&E Funds $270,000 Peak Demand Energy System

Guadalupe Cooling Co. - a large, industrial consumer of electricity that cools large quantities of produce from the Central Valley in California - has received $270,000 from PG&E to install Powerit Solutions' Energy Director Intellekt system to reduce electricity usage by the company during periods of peak demand.

Danny Vincent, Plant Manager of Guadalupe Cooling, said: "This is a green project that makes sense for both the company and the State of California. The Powerit system does not affect production; that's the key. It allows us to manipulate specific areas of our choosing at specific times. We'll use it for Demand Response when the state of California has problems and needs our help, but we'll use it everyday to cut our electrical costs."

In addition to Guadalupe Cooling Company, Powerit Solutions customers include Gallo and Paul Masson Wineries, Pacific Steel Castings, Frito Lay, Versacold, San Jose Mercury News, California Steel, and Patterson Frozen Foods. Powerit has recently been retained by Constellation Wines US (the world's largest wine producer) to implement an expansive Demand Response system at two of their wine production facilities in California. The company has more than 600 installations, worldwide.

Industry is the largest consumer of power in the U.S. According to the 2005 EIA Annual Energy Review, U.S. industry used 29% of U.S. electricity and 37% of U.S. natural gas, consuming more energy than the entire economy of any other G8 nation.

Given a choice, a utility would rather support conservation and intelligent, reliable management of demand than build additional power plants. U.S. utilities are concerned about their ability to meet instantaneous demand requirements of energy users. This relates to both the distribution capacity (and hence infrastructure investment) required to serve the peak demand of any given customer, and also the capacity to serve communities of customers during peak usage periods - such as the middle of the day and during seasonal periods.

Utilities have limited and expensive options available to them as they try to meet these additional demand requirements. Either they must build new power plants, build temporary stand-by (peak) power plants, or buy incremental capacity in the wholesale market - all expensive propositions.

Or, they can find mechanisms to cut-back on demand during times of peak usage such as financial assistance programs designed to help customers install technology solutions that make efficiency happen. In some cases, the end user is able to implement systems that take a substantial amount of kW off the grid and the cost of the technology is paid for by the utility. It's a win-win situation.

Powerit Solutions provides an intelligent energy demand management system that automatically predicts, regulates, and lowers peak demand for industries without compromising the operation of connected equipment. It also provides a mechanism for users to respond to utility demand response needs by automatically shedding loads according to a committed kW level and their own load shedding rules. This allows for demand response to fit within their terms and it means a higher likelihood that, when needed, the customer will participate. According to Bob Zak, President and General Manager of Powerit Solutions, "There is only so much you can do by manually shutting loads down; you really don't have any idea of exactly how much you're shaving. Our Energy Director system intelligently monitors all energy loads in real time within the plant and strategically changes their run status. This allows our customers to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in peak demand charges and, more importantly, it allows them to participate in their utility's Demand Response programs. These savings offset most or all of the costs of installing our system. In short, it's good for the utilities, makes good business sense for the end user and helps us to use these important energy resources more efficiently."

Powerit's Energy Director creates ongoing reductions of 10-40% (20% on average) in peak demand charges, corresponding to a 7-15% reduction in overall electricity savings. The peak energy savings alone create a typical ROI (return on investment) period of only 6-24 months. Remarkably, existing incentives from utilities for these programs can often pay for Powerit's solution outright (literally an immediate ROI). This is especially true if the Energy Director's intelligent demand response capability is utilized to enable the user to participate in coordinated curtailment.

As energy demand and costs continue to rise, there is a clear need to assist energy consumers in lowering the grid's peak demand charges by providing them the ability to participate in Demand Response programs. Powerit now provides industries a tool to do just that, managing their participation in curtailment events and ensuring that no unexpected actions or consequences result. The system provides the desired financial and social benefits of better energy efficiency.

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