Monday, April 20, 2009

Study Shows Georgia EMCs' $17 Million Investment Pays Off in Demand Reduction and Energy Savings

/PRNewswire/ -- A recently released study of Georgia's Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs) reports that in 2008 the EMCs spent $17.2 million on programs that reduced demand by 173 MW, an 11 percent increase in demand reduction from 2007, and created energy savings of 34,580,000 kWhs, an increase in savings of 21 percent from 2007. The spending includes the development, implementation, and communication of programs that help members save energy and reduce costs, such as energy audits, electric appliance incentives and financing plans, load control options, rate options, weatherization programs, and compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb distribution.

"The amount of energy the EMCs and their members saved in 2008 would serve over 2,200 homes for an entire year, or put another way, the amount of energy saved equals what is required to serve the population of a community the size of Adel, Georgia (population 5,399), for 2008," says Paul Wood, president/CEO of Georgia EMC.

The study, 2009 EMC Demand Side Management, Energy Conservation, and Energy Efficiency Report, produced annually by Georgia EMC, documents EMC energy efficiency, energy conservation, and demand side management (DSM) activities and quantifies the potential effects those activities have on reducing demand in the state.

The study also reveals that by year-end 2008, 100 percent of the state's electric cooperatives provided green energy in their overall resource mix to members. This commitment to renewable capacity represents more than 24 MW of green energy available to members by mid-2009.

"When you combine green energy, the demand reduction in 2008, and the potential we have for an additional 100 MW of demand reduction through interruptible rates for commercial/industrial accounts, we're looking at approximately 300 MW in demand reduction and renewable resources," says Wood. "That's about the size of two or three medium peaking generation plants," he adds.

Out of 42 Georgia EMCs, 38 offer customers renewable electricity through Green Power EMC, a non-profit cooperative formed by electric cooperatives to promote renewable energy from Georgia-based resources; three receive power from TVA and participate in TVA's Green Power Switch; and one receives renewable energy from a local farmer that uses an anaerobic digester to produce electricity.

"Georgia's EMCs have been active with demand side management, energy conservation, and energy efficiency for many years and are committed to investing in new and ongoing programs," says Wood. "Their leadership and level of participation in exploring green energy options is confirmation that renewable resources have an important role in meeting the future energy needs of this state."

Each of Georgia's EMCs tailors the programs they offer to meet the needs of their customers. For example, the report shows that most EMCs provide in-home energy audits while only a few have a manufactured home program. Because almost 90 percent of EMC customers are residential, the majority of energy conservation and efficiency programs are focused on those customers. Approximately 8.6 percent of EMC customers are considered commercial/industrial.

Other key findings from the report include:

-- Georgia EMCs have been leaders in installing automatic meter reading
(AMR) and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) systems, which
provide customers with more detailed billing information and
facilitate time-based rate options. At year-end 2008, 27 EMCs had some
level of AMR/AMI infrastructure installed, benefiting over 670,000 EMC
customers.
-- Georgia EMCs have had active load management programs for many years
and currently have 160,725 load management switches installed on their
customers' air conditioners, water heaters, and irrigation systems.
This represents an 11 percent increase in the total number of load
management switches that were in place in 2007. These systems can
reduce summer peak load by approximately 154 MWs.


"Overall, the EMCs' programs help decrease greenhouse gas emissions, help defer the need for building additional power plants, and help reduce transmission and operating costs," says Wood.

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