Energy Savings Honor Roll: Local education facilities benefit from Demand Response

Running a university, college or an entire school district is no easy feat when it comes to costs. Maintaining aging facilities to ensure that students and staff are in a comfortable learning and working environment is essential. As financial belts tighten at local educational facilities, energy costs are ever-present. That’s where CPS Energy’s Demand Response (DR) Program comes in.

Last year, 16 participants, including local school districts, colleges, universities and the Educational Service Center – Region 20, earned a combined $1,515,464 in incentives for participating in the program. This innovative program provides incentives to local businesses that make efficiency improvements to their facilities, and reduce the electrical load during high demand events, or days when energy usage is at its highest.

“This is our 6th year participating in CPS Energy’s Demand Response program,” said Judson Independent School District’s (JISD) District Energy Manager David Oehler. The longest tenured school district in the program, JISD has earned $1,382,612.19 in incentive payment since 2013. “By participating in the program, we receive year-end incentives and rebates that save thousands on energy costs, allowing more funds to be invested into resources for students.”

For the summer months alone, JISD reduced energy consumption enough to earn $280,973. With 26 campuses participating this year, the district averaged a 4,014 KW reduction, and saved over 145,508 kWh.1 JISD is proud to be one of the top incentive earners for this year’s DR program.

The DR Program is an integral part of CPS Energy’s Save for Tomorrow Energy Plan (STEP) that’s planned to save 771 megawatts of electrical demand in the greater San Antonio area by the year 2020. STEP’s goals include eliminating the need to build another large power plant, in addition to improving air quality in the San Antonio area. The effort is a proven success, as the STEP program has, to date, resulted in 620 MW reduction in peak demand since 2009.

“Our team works closely with our customers to develop detailed plans to reduce energy costs,” said CPS Energy’s Key Account Manager Joe Jones. “We are excited to offer valuable programs that help enrich our education system and the community in which we work, live and play.”

Schools are good candidates for demand response programs for several reasons. Energy usage peaks around mid to late afternoon, with loads dropping after school hours and during the summer months – when the distribution grid is most in demand. The largest energy uses for schools are heating, cooling and lighting. These are all areas where minor adjustments can be made quickly and easily, without negative impacts to the school facilities.

Though this specific program is aimed at local commercial and industrial customers, CPS Energy offers similar programs for residential customers through the My Thermostat Rewards program. Learn more about these money-saving programs here.

1 kW is demand load shed or the reduction on the electrical grid; kWh is the reduced energy consumption during the 19 events that were requested during the summer when load on the electrical grid was at its highest. 

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