One of the largest operational expenses Ontario businesses face is hydro costs, and if you are a Class A energy consumer this cost is considerably more due to Global Adjustment (GA) charges applied by the government. Whether you are a Class A consumer or not, integrating a Distributed Energy Resources (DER) into your facility operations can help you save significantly on hydro costs.

Let’s break it down:

What is a Distributed Energy Resource?

A Distributed Energy Resource (DER) is a diverse network of components that work together to create a more efficient grid of electrical production and consumption. Components of DER’s include a renewable energy source(s), energy storage systems, high-efficiency hardware, and intelligent demand response and predictive analytics software and technology, such as smart meters and data servers.

DERs can be custom-tailored to suit a client’s needs, so a DER can include energy production, energy storage solutions, combined heat/power systems and distributed energy management systems, such as software and hardware that can control how much energy gets used.

Many different industries and institutions can benefit from installing DERs, including agricultural production facilities, and industrial and institutional facilities.

A DER allows consumers to take control of their energy usage and helps Class A consumers reduce GA charges.

Reducing electrical loads saves you money

How can consumers reduce their electrical load and take control of their energy? Manufacturing plants still need to run machinery during system peaks ; likewise, refrigeration units still need to keep produce in a controlled environment, power still needs to be accessible – especially during system peaks, which often correspond to extreme heat or cold temperatures in the summer and winter and often create grid instability resulting in blackouts and brownouts.

One approach for consumers is to take control of the amount of energy they use, especially during a system peak. If a company has embedded predictive monitoring software their system can draw on energy storage systems to power facilities during system peaks or high consumption periods, reducing the strain put on the hydro grid and on the consumer’s bottom line.

Energy storage systems collect power during non-peak hours, and store it in battery cells – Battery energy storage systems (BESSs), for later use. The electricity the systems store can power facilities during peak times or allocate power to load balance during high consumption usage periods, reducing the strain on the larger electrical grid.

A BESS also provides stability and security. While storms and accidents may limit or severely damage power distribution lines going to a location, consumers with BESS can fall back on those systems as emergency backup power until the power lines have been restored.

How hardware and software play a part in DER

High-efficiency hardware technology and sophisticated software play a large role in the effectiveness of a DER. However, a conservation mindset must come first in any energy management solution.

Replacing outdated equipment with high-efficient models is key to conservation and takes place in many forms. Advances in heating, cooling, lighting, and security mean that upgrading equipment can lower traditional overhead costs while conserving energy. Updating older equipment and lighting can also lead to savings in other places, such as reduced maintenance costs.

Another option is to retrofit existing equipment with conservation tools such as variable frequency drives (VFD), which can monitor and regulate the frequency and amount of energy a piece of machinery uses. Electric motors can consume large amounts of power, but not all the power consumed may be necessary to keep the motor running. Adding a VFD can limit the power used by the motor while extending the life of the motor.

And last, but definitely not least, the application of sophisticated software in the form of demand response and predictive analytics can help balance power loads by predicting energy peaks and disperse energy when necessary. By installing monitoring and balancing software, consumers can more quickly and accurately shed non-essential electrical loads, which places less strain on the micro-grid and the larger electrical grid to which it’s connected.

A distributed energy resource can do more than save consumers money

It can also regulate unsteady or inconsistent energy and the fluctuations associated with it, protecting consumers and their equipment from systems failures and loss of productivity.

Some of the instability in the power grid comes from the sources in which the power is drawn. Not all sources of power generation are created equally. Learn more about the three types of large-scale electrical generators.

While large Class A consumers may benefit the least from integrating solar due to interference with their hourly Ontario Energy Price, small commercial accounts and residential accounts who can generate energy for their own use can be reducing their electrical bills even further.  Additionally, consumers who can generate and store their own energy are uniquely positioned to establish other avenues of revenue.

Depending on the needs of the consumer, a DER can generate enough power to run their facility entirely, letting a consumer be entirely independent of the local electrical grid. While this solution may not seem appealing to utility companies, Consumers that can do this may very well be helping their local community by decreasing their demand on the grid, thus stabilizing the community grid.

Who is using Distributed Energy Resources?

Ontario consumers have already started making significant contributions to reducing the power the province uses. According to the IESO, in 2015 Ontario used 1,013 GWh less than they had the previous year – energy savings enough to power a city the size of Brantford.

Some Class A consumers in Ontario have already found financial rewards for their investments. By using their energy more efficiently, London-based 3M Canada reduced their energy use by 12 GWh. The translates into $1.5 million in annual savings.

Non-industrial consumers have also found success. The Gull Bay First Nation was the first in Canada to install a fully-integrated micro-grid. Using BESS and solar panels, the community will be able to fully switch off diesel-generated electricity. This allows the First Nation to save money, improve the impact their energy consumption has on the environment, and use the micro-grid as a tool for economic development.

How can I implement a Distributed Energy Resource?

There are many moving parts in a DER that require interval data, future outlooks and much more. Arcadian Projects is uniquely positioned to help both Class A and Class B consumers design the best DER for your application.

Want to learn more? Up next: Class A Consumers and Their Energy Usage

About Arcadian Projects

Arcadian Projects is committed to providing the best energy and industrial solutions to help our customers reduce their energy consumption, meet energy conservation goals, and improve facility operations.

We continuously strive to deliver long-term service and technical support, while acting with the utmost consideration for safety in all aspects of our projects. With our passion for sustainable energy and our commitment to client satisfaction, our diverse and experienced team continues to stand out from others. We have the capability to complete all aspects of our energy projects in-house with an approach that is safe, cost-effective, and efficient. Potential partner project financing available for energy projects.