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U.S. food wholesaler earns NT$800K+ annually with the Enel X VPP

Learn how food wholesalers with storage facilities develop a new revenue stream by participating in the energy market through Enel X’s VPP

Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) is the largest food wholesaler in the United States with a multi-state presence. Its Tennessee warehouse serves as the Nashville hub for storing and distributing groceries to its more than 300 co-op members. The AWG facility is enormous, including more than 500,000 square feet of dry storage and 250,000 square feet of refrigerated storage. Many items can withstand only a minor temperature variation, so AWG monitors its storage facilities carefully.

The need & challenge

AWG wanted to reduce energy costs, and support lower energy costs for its operation and the surrounding community. They have heard that this can be achieved by enrolling in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)-Enel X Demand Response (DR) program, which also allows them to help maintain a stable grid.


At first, Associated Wholesale Grocers(AWG) assumed that it would be impossible for the organization to participate in Demand Response. “We heard about Demand Response and liked the idea a lot,” recalls Benny Phillips, facilities manager at AWG’s Nashville division. “But it just seemed too risky, since we were storing very temperature-sensitive items, such as bananas.

The solution

Phillips and Enel X looked into their use of energy, and they found it can be more flexible than initially thought. They analyzed temperature readings and found that refrigerated storage areas could hold their temperatures for hours longer than initially seemed possible. During Demand Response dispatches, AWG moves temperature set points by approximately 3 degrees in its extensive cold storage area without affecting operations or the quality of the diverse goods it warehouses for co-op members.


They also began charging the batteries for their forklifts during off-peak times.


For us, Demand Response participation has turned out to be really easy,” says Phillips. “We simply make some adjustments, monitor carefully during the dispatch, and reset our refrigeration settings when it’s over. We’ve found that we’re able to make changes without any effect on the items we store—and we can put everything back to normal in minutes.

The benefits

During Demand Response dispatches, AWG curtails more than 850 kW by reducing lighting and raising temperature set points in its cold storage areas, creating $25,000 in annual Demand Response payments.


AWG sees DR as a way of earning money without making major changes or putting its produce and other stored commodities at risk. “Demand response makes a big difference to our bottom line. As a co-op, the more we save, the more we can pass along these savings to our members,” says Phillips. The money earned from DR goes directly into the general facilities fund, and helps pay for other cost-saving changes.

Why work with Enel X VPP?

Working with Enel X was a real pleasure,” says Phillips. “They did a great job during the whole implementation process. They worked with our people. They didn’t rush. And they kept our comfort level extremely high.


AWG is located in the middle of a largely residential area, and is the largest user of electricity in its community. “We feel strongly about not sucking up so much juice,” says Phillips. “With DR, we’re able to protect our company, but also help the community keep rates down."


AWG receives clear, prompt communication from Enel X, including timely notification of dispatches. “They give us plenty of advance warning so we can do everything we need to do to ensure quality and lower risk,” says Philips. “We’re in touch via phone and email, and Enel X’s commitment to communication really makes a difference.


This Associated Wholesale Grocers(AWG) case study is based on a project developed in Enel X North America. In Taiwan, Enel X supports commercial and industrial energy users to help them participate in the Energy Trading platform, further save on energy costs, earn a new revenue stream, and support Taiwan’s energy transition. Contact us to learn more.

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