Lightening the Load

The Commonwealth of Virginia has entered into a contract with EnergyConnect, of Portland, Ore., that will ease the strain on Virginia’s electricity grid and improve its reliability. According to a press release from the Governor’s office, the program will reduce the need for Virginia electrical utilities to build additional generating plants, transmission, and distribution lines.

As a bonus, the contract contains provisions that could allow state agencies to reap $10 million a year in incentives to curtail demand.

As a “Curtailment Services Provider,” EnergyConnect will work with state agencies, electric utilities, and the PJM regional transmission organization to reduce the electric load during periods of peak demand. How so? That’s not entirely clear from the descriptions provided, but here what the EnergyConnect website says:

EnergyConnect, Inc. unlocks the potential of intelligent building automation control systems and communication networks by enabling its participants to participate directly in wholesale energy markets. EnergyConnect extracts significant economies by fully integrating energy use with energy supply and delivery.

Pretty vague. Presumably, there’s a lot of proprietary knowledge involved that EnergyConnect doesn’t want to spell out.

Regardless, the Kaine administration deserves kudos for pursuing this initiative. Conceptually, it sounds like a good idea. If successful, it could provide a conservation template for other large industrial and commercial users in Virginia. “Virginia’s Energy Plan recommends that the state government lead by example,” Kaine said in the press release. “This contract does exactly that.”

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5 responses to “Lightening the Load”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    “Turning on the light uses the same energy whether there are two people or four people in the room. … If you don’t want to get remarried, maybe move in with somebody you like,” Jianguo Liu, an ecologist at Michigan State University and author of a study finding that divorce hurts the environment, tells the Los Angeles Times. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, found that the resource inefficiency of divorced households resulted in an extra 73 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity use in the U.S. in 2005 — about 7% of total home use — in turn spewing more carbon dioxide into the air and exacerbating global warming. Other potential solutions, the Times reports, include polygamy, communal living or roommates. “I’m just a scientist trying to present the facts,” said Mr. Liu. “I’m not promoting one way or another.”

  2. Spank That Donkey Avatar
    Spank That Donkey

    How does that saying go? If you can’t convince them with facts, wow them with the BS?

    why not just cut the crap and say, we (as a state govt) are going to reduce the energy costs in each of our permanent state building by 50%
    by replacing windows, automating the controls, and pursuing alternative renewable energy sources…. over the next 10 years.

    Paying someone to install a new computer to make sure the lights are cut off at 5:30 pm and back on again at 8:30 am when the employees come back, is well….
    window dressing.

    Maybe I read this wrong, but it sure sounds like that…

  3. Groveton Avatar

    Sometimes the people who have created the biggest mess are the people with the best ideas as to how to solve the mess. California created quite a mess. There were a lot of bad actors in the CA power debacle – certainly not just power companies. Now, a lot of people and groups are working to fix the problems – including the power companies.

    Look at PG&E’s web site:

    Want to be scared?

    Look at this page on the PG&E web site:

    It explains how to determine when you’ll be in the next planned outage.

    Want some hope? Look at these pages:

    How to generate your own power.

    Or this one ….

    How to get rebates by buying devices that use less electricity.

    Now look at Vepco’s site (they act like a dinosaur, I am going to keep using their dinosaur name):

    The good news is that there is no planned outage tracker – yet.

    The bad news is that rebates seem limited to light bulbs and the “generate your own electricity” section seems to be missing.

    Do we have to get to rolling outages before we demand some creative execution by Vepco? The voter – taxpayers of Virginia are already guaranteeing them a rate of return. Can’t we demand some better efforts on their part for this estraordinary guarantee?

  4. Groveton Avatar

    Sorry –

    Forgot to include the rebates page:

  5. I live in Oregon and EnergyConnect isn’t PGE (thank God). To be honest I don’t know who EnergyConnect is. Looking at their web page they remind me of people who say things like – “We can make you more successful by being more successful. We know what it takes and we’ve got it.” In otherwords, lots of talk, lots of hot air, lots of rhetoric. PGE is a privately owned electric utility that has about 90% of Portland as it’s customers. It is not a bad utility nor a badly run one – but it does protect it’s bottom line (as any good for-profit company should). They play large on the ‘greenies’ that live out here, offering (and selling quite a bit) of ‘green’ energy. You pay more for your power but PGE guarantees that your portion of power was purchased (from the grid) from a ‘green’ source – wind, solar. Many folks out here buy into it; I don’t.

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