Co-ops help C&I members reach their energy efficiency goals

EnergyLines September 2019

 

Being cost-competitive is a driving force for businesses. They work to reduce costs – often one penny at a time. In the case of electricity, every kilowatt saved can add up to a lot of pennies earned.

 

While the efficiency journey is different for many, building energy efficiency programs can take many different paths.

Member cooperatives across the Hoosier Energy power network are helping their commercial and industrial customers address cost pressures through various energy savings programs.

 

For Delta Faucet in Greensburg, reducing energy costs means more than just a lower bill. It’s part of parent company Masco Corporation’s commitment to sustainability. Every two to three years Delta Faucet conducts Ecovaluations™ to identify wasted energy and other resources in the manufacturing process. For the 60-year-old plant in Greensburg, the process has resulted in dozens of improvements since 2012, from major lighting changes, to reduction of energy lost through air compressors to optimizing capacitor banks (energy storage) and installation of a building automation system that can control various thermostats from a laptop.

 

The savings are adding up. Since 2012, annual savings from electric energy-saving projects has been approximately $350,000, said Scott Wesseler, plant manager. Changing out lighting alone has netted the company more than $40,132 in rebates from Hoosier Energy for switching various inefficient systems to high efficiency fluorescent bays and LED fixtures.

 

The Greensburg plant is a finishing facility for the international maker of kitchen and bath fixtures. “Our product is highly cosmetic with special finishing. We have to make sure there is no handling damage and no stains,” Wesseler said. “The more uniform the lighting is throughout plant, the better we can catch flaws.”

 

Working with Decatur County REMC has been an invaluable resource, Wesseler added, in ensuring success as he ticked off project after project that benefited from cooperative expertise. “They help us put dollar amounts on how much new equipment is going to cost us as well as how to achieve energy savings. By far the local REMC and Hoosier Energy have been much more cooperative than energy providers at some of our plants in other states. It’s more than just giving you cash back. They genuinely want to do the right thing for the right reason.”

 

While Delta may be a seasoned veteran at identifying energy savings opportunities, Heartland Payment Systems served by Clark County REMC is going about it in a different way, made possible by their cooperative.

 

The technology-based payment processing company in Jeffersonville is a large energy user – up to 2 megawatts or 2,000 kilowatts of demand for the plant that runs 24×7, 365 days a year. To ensure business continuity, the plant installed backup generators.

That backup generation gave Heartland the opportunity to work with Clark County REMC on developing a special tariff arrangement to voluntarily reduce energy demand when Hoosier Energy requests it. (This is known as a load control event.)

 

“When Hoosier Energy says shut down, we tell Heartland to run their alternate generators,” said Larry Edwards, Supervisor of Engineering Services for Clark County REMC.

 

By agreeing to use their backup generators, Heartland saves on both demand and energy charges, Edwards added. “They pay zero for coincident peak demand charge, and they save for the energy that’s not going through the system. That helps Hoosier Energy keep the power supply in balance for all members.”

 

Mike Combs, Senior Manager, Facilities for Heartland Payment Systems, estimated the voluntary load curtailment rate saves the company about 21 percent a month on its electric bill. “We went full price for two months while ironing out details – it was thousands more.”

 

There are other benefits to Heartland as well. “The way our building is set up, we have two separate utility feeds from two separate substations. We don’t need the generators very often. Working with the REMC and Hoosier Energy enabled us to use the generators so they weren’t just sitting there. It keeps them in good working order. That’s a good thing.”

 

Going off the grid helps Heartland, he says. “As far as I know, we are the only ones locally who do that. It’s a really neat thing made possible by the REMC.”

 

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