2014 results: One town’s energy savings

by Gillian Eaton, Strategic Planning Manager

About a year ago we announced the launch of an energy saving project in St. Albans. The northern Vermont city has been a transmission-constrained region with a high demand for electricity during the summer months. The region was determined to be in need of additional efficiency efforts to meet a reliability gap during extreme, critical load levels. The Vermont System Planning Committee (VSPC) recommended, and the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) ordered that Efficiency Vermont focus efforts on the region. In response, Efficiency Vermont developed key strategies for the St. Albans area to help lighten the electric load on transmission and distribution systems. Our hope was that we could achieve energy savings and reduce the peak summer demand to help ensure that current system infrastructure would be able to meet potential customer electricity needs.

Targeting efficiency

Our plans to reduce energy usage and demand included:

  • A strong focus on helping large commercial and industrial customers
  • Enhanced engagement with small and medium-sized businesses
  • Expanded promotion of efficient technologies in the region
  • Delivering services to key community groups, such as low-income residents, farms, and schools.

A total of more than 100 efficiency projects were completed with businesses in St. Albans in 2014. These projects have a combined annual savings for customers of nearly $500,000.
The City of St. Albans completed several projects with efficiency components totalling over $35,000 in annual energy savings. Projects included:

  • Street lighting upgrades,
  • Installation of LED holiday lights,
  • Construction of a new parking garage,
  • Efficiency upgrades at the wastewater treatment facility.

In addition, all of the area schools participated in LED fundraisers, selling more than 25,000 LED bulbs in a single month. About 1000 free energy saving kits containing easy-to-install efficient products were distributed to St. Albans residents. Eligible low‐income residents received more than 100 free high-efficiency refrigerators, and 20 high-efficiency clothes washers.

The results are in

All of these projects lead to a significant drop in energy use for the St. Albans region, including important savings anticipated for this summer’s peak demand load. The energy saving projects completed in 2014 equal more than 89,000 lifetime megawatt hour savings. That is enough to power every home in the city of St. Albans for almost two years.

The targeted effort in the St. Albans area delivered results. Reducing demand on the electric grid has removed the projected need for new reliability measures for at least 10 years in the St. Albans region. Over the course of this geographic targeting project we saw an increase in customer interest and awareness in energy efficiency. We will stay involved in energy efficiency efforts in the area and ongoing projects will continue to benefit customers and the grid. This geographic targeting project demonstrated how a comprehensive approach to energy and demand savings can benefit varied individuals and businesses across a community, and it will serve as a foundation for future development of Efficiency Vermont programs and services.

What kind of energy savings would you like to see in your community? Use the comment section below to tell us what you think.

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