The New York Botanical Garden has participated in Peak Load Demand Response since 2006, when the first program was introduced by the New York Power Authority. This program is a pre-planned commitment of “Jumbo-Users” of electrical power to reduce their electrical demand on the hottest days of the summer months in order to preserve the electrical grid.
Currently the program is run by the NYC Department of Energy Management and the monitoring contractor NuEnergen. The engineers from NuEnergen visited the Garden and together with the Garden’s Engineering Team determined a program of “planned reductions” when an Activation is called by the NYISO (New York Independent Systems Operators). The Garden is usually given 24 hours’ notice (based on weather/temperature predictions) and we begin the process of pre-cooling buildings and notifying the staff of the impending event.
One hour before the Activation takes place, the Garden’s Engineering Department starts to implement the preset plan to reduce electrical demand by turning off secondary pumps and motors, turning off air conditioning equipment, and shutting off general lighting. The Garden staff is asked to reduce office lighting and use task lighting when possible, turn down any AC window units, and avoid using the elevators and high-demand equipment such as vacuum cleaners and buffing machines. The PLM event can last up to eight hours and the Garden is notified when the event will be completed.
There is a benefit for the Garden’s participation; the contractor, NuEnergen has installed “real-time data monitoring” electrical meters that are tracked by satellite. The Garden can follow its participation on the NuEnergen database, and we receive a financial incentive for our participation. Currently the Garden is committed to a 500 kilowatt (kw) reduction that is approximately 25% of the average daily demand in the summer months.
The Garden also participates in the “Winter Demand Response” Program that is similar to the PLM summer program. The electrical demand in winter seldom approaches levels that can damage the electrical grid, but in preparation for an unplanned incident (i.e. a prolonged snow storm) the PLM team created this program to ensure preparedness among the participants. Currently the Garden is committed to a winter reduction of 425 kw.