This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
New England Grid Operator Awards Energy Efficiency Contract
ISO New England Inc., the operator of the region's electrical grid, took an unusual step in late April by contracting for energy efficiency services in order to improve the reliability of its power grid in southwest Connecticut. Under the new contract, Conservation Services Group (CSG) will help reduce energy demand in southwest Connecticut by four megawatts over the next four years, primarily by retrofitting buildings in the area with energy-efficient lighting. The contract is a small part of an effort to secure emergency energy resources for southwest Connecticut, including 125 megawatts of new generating capacity and up to 255 megawatts of demand-response resources such as emergency generators and voluntary load reductions. ISO New England predicts that it has adequate electrical supplies for the region this summer, but continues to be concerned about transmission constraints that threaten reliability in southwest Connecticut. See the CSG press release (PDF 83 KB) and the April 16th and April 26th press releases from ISO New England. Download Acrobat Reader.
Utilities in the Pacific Northwest are also looking at demand reduction as a possible alternative to building a new transmission line. DOE's Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) recently worked with a Washington state utility, two paper companies, and the U.S. Navy to test an Internet-based trading system for demand reduction. During the test, BPA posted an hourly price per megawatt, allowing the participants to choose whether to buy the power or to place bids for reducing their power demand, using either emergency generation or load reductions. BPA hoped to achieve 10 to 20 megawatts of demand reduction during the test, and actually averaged 22 megawatts of demand reduction. See the BPA press release.