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NEWS | Dec. 9, 2010

CPS Energy rewards Randolph for summertime conservation efforts

By Robert Goetz 502nd Air Base Wing OL-B Public Affairs

For the second time this year, San Antonio's CPS Energy has rewarded Randolph for its energy conservation efforts.

This week John Barrow, the utility's energy solutions manager, presented a $21,255 mock check to Col. Scott Peel, 902nd Mission Support Group commander, for Randolph's participation in CPS Energy's Demand Response Program. The check represents a credit on the base's utility bill.

"This rebate shows how Team Randolph is committed to energy conservation on all that we do without negatively affecting our customers," said Ruben Ramos Jr., 902nd Civil Engineer Squadron utilities engineer. "We care about reducing our energy consumption. We're doing the right thing and getting money back for these actions. That's rewarding. In addition, any time we reduce our peak demand load, we reduce our utility bill significantly. Peak demand load accounts for two-thirds of our electrical utility bill."

A voluntary load curtailment program for commercial and industrial customers, demand response is designed to reduce CPS Energy's electric loads on peak summer days and help the utility reach its goal of saving 771 megawatts by 2020. Demand response season begins June 1 and ends Sept. 30; events occur on weekdays between 3 and 6 p.m., the peak times for summertime electricity consumption.

"We've signed an agreement with CPS Energy that says we will implement the program here when they call during peak times," Mr. Ramos said. "When that happens, we use our Energy Management Control System to run a program that controls the load at different buildings."

Bruce Dschuden, 902nd CES resource efficiency manager, said he expects Randolph to reap bigger savings in the future as the base intensifies its energy conservation efforts. One of Randolph' most ambitious projects is a system of centralized chilled water plants, thermal energy storage tanks and lines that will bring chilled water from the TES tanks to the base's commercial buildings.

"We're looking at this as being a big money maker for the base once the chilled-water loop is completed," he said. "We're just in the infancy of the program. We expect great things in the future."

Three strategically placed chillers will allow for the elimination of expensive-to-run independent chillers at individual buildings. One chiller and TES unit are already serving Air Education and Training Command facilities and other buildings in the vicinity.

Mr. Dschuden said the "best-case scenario" for completion of the chilled-water loop is two to three years.

"Once that happens, we won't be running chillers during peak times," he said. "CPS should love that."

Mr. Ramos said the base will benefit even more as more buildings are added to the Energy Management Control System.

"We'll be able to manage loads better," he said. "The demand for the base is 18,000 kilowatts, but now the system controls just 10 percent of the base, or 2,000 kilowatts."

Mr. Dschuden said CPS called Randolph just 12 times during the latest demand response season because the summer was relatively mild. He said Randolph benefits even more because the peak demand here occurs between noon and 2 p.m. while the demand response peak for CPS is from 3-6 p.m.

"If there is low demand, you pay less the rest of the year," he said. "You're charged for the energy you use and the rate at which you use it. If you curtail the demand component, that's where the savings are."

Randolph is also curtailing energy use through base-wide conservation and making improvements such as lighting retrofits, installing energy-efficient windows, improving heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems and replacing boilers, he said. Some of these improvements also qualify for CPS Energy rebates.

The base received a $67,500 credit earlier this year for the installation of two energy-efficient 250-ton chillers at the new base exchange.