Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Program: Ameren Missouri’s Business Demand Response program
DR Strategy: Curtailment (adjusting HVAC, shutting off lights)
Benefits: DR Revenue, grid relief, environmental impact
The Ritenour School District, located in Northwest St. Louis County, is one of the oldest school districts in the St. Louis area. The District encompasses 10 schools, an early childhood center, and other buildings that support the learning of children and adults. More than 6,300 students attend Ritenour schools.
Reducing Energy Spend for the District
Michael Smith, Director of Operations for the Ritenour School District, is in charge of facilities, including their maintenance, security, operations and construction. Smith is always looking for ways to help the District save money on operations, and when Enel X contacted him about demand response, he knew it was a great opportunity.
Ameren Missouri’s Business Demand Response (BDR) program provides payments to large energy users that agree to reduce their energy demand during times of grid stress. Ameren partners with Enel X, a leading energy solutions and demand response provider to manage the demand response program and help Ameren Missouri customers receive these simple payments.
For Smith, the benefits were clear right away:
“Receiving payments is always a plus,” Smith said. “It’s important for us to be good stewards of the financial resources that our community provides for the school district, so receiving a rebate for saving electricity is a win for the school district.”
Responsible Energy Use
The benefits are not only financial—Smith said the school district tries to be a model of responsible energy use for environmental reasons, too, and demand response helps in a variety of ways, including contributing to a more reliable local electric grid. In a district with so many young people, the school wants to ensure they set a positive example.
“We want to use our natural resources responsibly,” Smith said. “We have solar panels on our schools. We do our best to set good examples for students, and saving on electricity and using less electricity is a simple way to start.”
No Interruptions to Operations
Smith said that enrolling in DR was a simple process, and he has seen little disruption on the few occasions the schools have participated in a demand response event.
“Demand response doesn’t affect our normal operations much,” Smith said. “When we receive a call to participate it’s usually near the end of our school day and, since it’s usually during a time of year when we’re using cooling systems, all we have to do is make adjustments to the settings on our HVAC and make sure lights are turned off, although we turn them on when we clean classrooms that evening. Just those two simple things have been enough for us to see energy savings.”
“You can spend a lot of money on energy and electricity every month, so every little bit helps.”
Re-Investing the Savings for Repairs
Smith said they’re able to use their demand response payments to help make important upgrades to energy efficiency elsewhere in their facilities.
“Our utility payments all come out of the operations budget, so when we save money on electricity it allows us to spend a little bit more on general repairs. For instance, if we had a failing HVAC system, we can use the money we save and the money from rebates to replace it. And that increases our HVAC efficiency even more.”
Great Customer Service
Smith said he’s had a very positive experience with the Enel X team.
“The Enel X team has been very supportive—they’ve called me personally several times, and they provide excellent service. They’ve always been polite and explained exactly what they need and why. It’s a really great partnership that we have.”
Telling Other School Districts About DR
In the end, Smith said he’s been an advocate for Enel X among his peers.
“I’ve recommended Enel X and Ameren demand response to other school districts and mentioned to other directors of operations.“