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Choosing the Right Load-Shedding Strategy

Energy costs are a major operational expense for most food manufacturers — but you’re not at the mercy of your utility bills. With an advanced energy management system, you can control your energy use so that your facility runs at optimal efficiency, pay the lowest possible rates and participate in incentive programs that pay you for unused kilowatts.

Energy costs are a major operational expense for most food manufacturers — but you’re not at the mercy of your utility bills. With an advanced energy management system, you can control your energy use so that your facility runs at optimal efficiency, pay the lowest possible rates and participate in incentive programs that pay you for unused kilowatts. This article is the second in a four-part series on the fundamentals of electrical load shedding.

Each major load-shedding strategy — demand control, time-of-use management, real-time pricing (RTP) optimization, and demand response — has effects and requirements that may or may not make it a good match for your operation.

The amount that you can save or earn with each strategy obviously is a primary consideration. But also pay attention to the frequency and duration of load shedding necessary because these elements, more than anything, dictate your ability to participate. For example, standby/reliability demand response programs require the longest but least-frequent load-shedding periods; time-of-use management can require load sheds that are nearly as long and much more frequent. Peak demand control requires the shortest load-shedding periods, with medium frequency. RTP optimization and reserves/market-based demand response require load sheds of about the same, relatively low duration, but RTP events happen more often.

The best-fit strategy for your facility may combine two or more approaches. In that case, an advanced energy management system is probably essential; without one, it’s difficult to make the finely tuned adjustments needed to get the most from each method and to ensure they don’t work against each other. For example, demand control can reduce demand response earnings if the two approaches are not properly coordinated.

Two companies with complex needs that have gotten the balance right are Mission Produce and Four Star Fruit. For Mission Produce, Powerit combined strategies for energy efficiency and demand response, adding demand control to make the system even more effective. The company’s average energy bill dropped by 33 percent. Four Star Fruit also uses a combination of the three and has estimated savings of $100,000 annually.

Last week: How Can Electrical Load Shedding Benefit You?

Next up: What Loads Can Food Manufacturers Shed?

For more information, visit www.poweritsolutions.com.

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