Regional Energy Conservation Drill Reduces Load by approximately 1.5 percent
Anchorage/Mat-Su/Kenai- Officials from regional governments and utilities estimate an across-the-board energy load reduction of 1.5 percent last Wednesday night between 6-8 p.m., during the fourth Energy Watch conservation drill. “Southcentral Alaska consumes approximately 70 BCF (Billion Cubic Feet) annually. The 1.5 percent conserved during the 2012 Energy Watch Test equates to approximately 1 BCF annually,” said Mayor Sullivan.
Conservation was measured by analyzing actual kilowatts used during the test and compared those figures against same-time, prior and post day usage.
Of note is the difficulty in determining precisely what load reductions were because of variations in temperature, daylight, potentially unrelated load reductions from large energy users, etc.
In addition to the measurements conducted by the utilities, a poll was conducted over the weekend. Out of the Southcentral Residents polled, 61.2 percent were aware of a possible natural gas delivery problem, and more than 42 percent were aware of the Oct. 30 conservation test.
“These numbers prove we have been largely successful in communicating the challenges associated with gas deliverability in Cook Inlet,” said Mayor Sullivan. “Citizens armed with the right conservation tools could make the difference in keeping the lights and heat on in the middle of a cold winter night. I want to thank our friends on the Kenai Peninsula and in Mat-Su for their support, as well as the enthusiastic participation from our utilities.
This has been a group effort and we all benefit as a result.”
This year, social media was a tool used in communication. The committee started a facebook page, in conjunction with individual pages from each participant.
The conservation drill was designed to gauge how much energy could be saved during a gas delivery shortfall. Should such a problem arise, residents of South central Alaska would first be asked to take actions in the Yellow or “Caution” section of the Energy Watch chart. Those actions include turning down the thermostat to 65 degrees in living areas; postponing laundry and dishes, lowering the water heater to “warm”, minimizing use of gas ranges and turning off unnecessary lights and electronics. A cooperative conservation effort will hopefully mitigate the last-resort need for rolling blackouts.
Utilities and governments that participated in the drill include: the Kenai Peninsula Borough; Mat-Su Borough; ENSTAR, Chugach Electric Association, Municipal Light & Power, Matanuska Electric Association, Homer Electric Association and the Municipality of Anchorage.