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University community exceeds 'Lights out!/Power down!' 2012 goal


graph A graph representing energy use on campus during Lights Out!/Power Down! 2012 held June 13. The dip shows the drop in energy use between 3 and 4 p.m.

BLACKSBURG, Va., June 26, 2012 – For the second year in a row, the Virginia Tech community rose to the challenge and exceeded the energy reduction goal set forth during Lights out!/Power down! 2012 held June 13, on the Blacksburg campus.

According to EnergyConnect, the company contracted by the Virginia Department of Mining, Minerals, and Energy to administer this program, Virginia Tech more than exceeded its goal by reducing campus demand to an average 16,450 kilowatts for the hour.

The ability to successfully demonstrate this reduction was a requirement for the university to receive a $136,521 phased-in payment as the result of its successful participation in this summer’s program.

“We are again extremely pleased with the results, and what is particularly noteworthy this year is the fact that the university achieved these reductions despite the Central Power Plant’s steam turbine-generator being unavailable due to its ongoing maintenance overhaul,” said Fred Selby, campus energy manager with Facilities Services. “In its place, several of the university’s larger back-up emergency generators were used during the hour.”

“But more importantly, a tremendous thank you has to go out to everyone at the university who not only helped coordinate and prepare ahead of time, but to all those who participated during the event as well, “added Selby. “Results like these can only come from the campus community working together as a team.”

Lights out!/Power down! 2012 was a campus-wide event designed to demonstrate the university’s ability to reduce energy load consumption in the event of an electrical grid emergency condition that could result in outages. It coincided with Virginia Tech’s scheduled demonstration test as part of its enrollment in the PJM Interconnection “Interruptible Load Reliability” (ILR) summer demand response program, which required campus electrical demand to be reduced to below 20,000 kilowatts for a minimum period of one hour.

The successful demonstration sets the stage for the rest of the 2012 summer peak demand season. The Office of Energy and Sustainability within Facilities Services is responsible for developing an ongoing electricity demand management and usage reduction program.

“Lessons learned from the reductions we achieve during these times will help us with our planned participation in PJM-sponsored economic demand response programs, where customers electively reduce demand in response to high wholesale electricity prices for compensation,” said Selby. “Demand response programs are good for both Virginia Tech and the environment.”

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.