Pennsylvania prepares to downsize economy rather than build more power plants

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports:

Using less electricity will become more lucrative for Pennsylvania universities, government agencies and industries when coal-fired power plants close during the next several years.

A regional power-management group is boosting payouts to organizations that conserve voluntarily, offering money if they curtail demand on summer’s hottest days. Maximum payouts will climb about 33 percent by 2017, management group PJM Interconnection told the Tribune-Review.

The move should help contain power prices for residential customers and small businesses by easing pressure on limited supply, industry observers said.

“It really is just supply and demand,” said Stu Bresler, a vice president with Montgomery County-based PJM. “If customers are able to shift their demand, there would be less need for additional capacity for generation or transmission.”

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6 thoughts on “Pennsylvania prepares to downsize economy rather than build more power plants”

  1. That was what I intended when I said that 5% is easy (change out lighting, add insulation, upgrade AC, etc). However, your big extruder/server/reactor/whatever isn’t going to change it’s power consumption at full blast. Changes and improvements come on decadal scales, if at all. Significant changes to energy consumption are nearly impossible.

    Sorry, if I wasn’t clear.

  2. Ben, the story doesn’t ring true. I was involved with industrial power cost for 20 years. None of my plants were in Pennsylvania, but I would be shocked if they worked differently than the 6 states I was involved with. Utility companies charge a demand charge to large customers, based on peak usage. I never heard of paying someone to use less. Whether you “pay” someone or reduce their charges, there is nothing new to this scheme.

    In practical use, it is virtually impossible to get people to cut their peak. Businesses that might be asked to cut their peak have all sorts important things going on all the time. A phone call on the afternoon of say August 13 saying we can pay/save you X dollars if you cut back on your use will be met with the business decision of what is best for the company (and for the supervisor who answers the call). What I’m saying is, they are not going to get the cuts they think they are.

  3. Point. At times, we do get a bit too cynical around here. As a rule, efficiency improvements are good, but the reasoning and rationale gall me. Furthermore, I think that they are seriously underestimating the magnitude of the amount of power consumption that they need to reduce. It’s easy to take 5-10% off your power bill. It’s much more difficult to take 20%. This is that same issue on a municipal scale.

  4. I got paid for adding insulation and dual pane windows to my house.
    This was before rebates were in effect.
    I got paid by using less gas and electricity.
    The government didn’t pay me, I paid me.

    If Pennsylvanians use less power, they will pay less too.
    (Well, until Obama’s promised energy cost skyrocket lifts off, that is.)

  5. Jimmy Carter approach: manage shortage.

    Ronald Reagen approach: SCREW THAT! We’re America! We can just make more!

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