Clean Power through Energy Efficiency
- April 21, 2018
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We know that the cleanest energy is the energy not used. Technological advances have been instrumental in reducing the energy demands on the electric power grid. A clean energy future requires that we think about and implement energy efficiencies in all that we do. It is clear that starting with the “low hanging fruit” of replacing light bulbs for more efficient lighting reduces electric demand and saves energy. Yes, through this simple and seemingly small action of changing light bulbs, the need for additional electric generation is reduced.
Electric Market Connection (EMC) works uniquely to provide a clean energy future. EMC has partnered with thousands of electric customers within the PJM electric market*, to qualify more than 21,000 energy efficiency projects as clean capacity resources which provide the same value to the grid but negates the need for new power plants being built. Collectively, these energy efficiency projects save 2.2 billion kWh per year of electricity. This new electric “capacity” helps to ensure the reliability of the electric grid during peak periods during the hot summer and cold winter months.
Imagine a hot summer day when everyone uses their air conditioners at the same hours in the mid-afternoon. It is during these times that summer peak load could strain the electric grid system. Energy efficiency projects qualified by EMC, help to alleviate that strain by providing a permanent electric demand reduction. Similarly, in winter months of January and February, when polar conditions seize the East Coast, there can be a peak load on the electric grid. Early morning and early evening hours are when people are simultaneously transitioning to/from home, work and school, and there is significant electric heating and lighting concurrent demand at many facilities. Power interruptions could happen during these peak loads except that energy efficiency capacity resources help PJM ensure reliability during these times of system stress.
Perhaps people may wonder if their individual efforts at changing out their lightbulbs really make a difference? Sometimes when looking at a single individual action when you are contemplating the perspective of the [entire planet] (Earth?) it can feel like a miniscule drop in the bucket, however, it does make a difference. EMC knows it matters because the company has measured the impact of their customers’ lighting projects. The 21,000 projects qualified for EMC customers include all types of facilities: including a family-owned country store in central Pennsylvania, a restaurant franchisee owner in Delaware, a community center in New Jersey, a church in West Virginia, a manufacturing facility in Ohio, and thousands more. Each building owner began reducing their electric load by starting with energy efficient lighting. Some owners added other energy efficient improvements; more efficient HVAC systems, improved chillers, or energy efficient compressors. EMC has aggregated all of their customer’s energy efficiency kilowatt (kw) reductions and have demonstrated that collectively their customers reduced demand on the electric grid by more than 500 megawatts (MW) of capacity. 500 MW is 500,000 kW and translates to about 2.2 billion kWh saved per year. Although some energy efficiency lighting projects might be only watts saved on their own, they add up fast to kW and MW, which reduces the need for additional power plant generation and thus reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
There is a coal fired power plant along the Chesapeake Bay that generates nearly 400 MW of energy with coal transported by barges and trains from Northern and Western states. Using fossil fuels for generation emits greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide CO2, Sulphur dioxide SO2, nitrous oxide N2O, methane, etc.) and the transportation of fossil fuels to the power plant adds additional greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. Energy efficiency projects negate the need for additional generation, providing clean energy.
Electric Market Connection is proud to reward customers throughout PJM and enable them to participate in providing clean capacity to the electric grid during periods of peak energy use with energy efficiency projects. The cleanest energy is the energy never used- 500 MW of capacity and counting! EMC celebrates #Earth-Day-2018 knowing more than 1,637,277 metric tons of greenhouse gases were prevented from entering the atmosphere because of their customer’s clean energy. Their clean capacity resources have provided enough electricity to power 245,395 houses and represent more than 350,595 cars off of the road**! It all began with changing light bulbs.
*(PJM Interconnection is the regional transmission organization that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity and ensures power supplies for 65 million people in all or parts of 13 Eastern states & the District of Columbia.)
**Equivalencies are based on the Environmental Protection Agency Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator