Demand response programs enable energy consumers to earn payments for reducing consumption temporarily when called upon to help meet the electric grid’s needs during peak demand periods. These programs provide valuable standby capacity to prevent blackouts and other grid disturbances when the grid encounters emergency conditions, such as heat waves or extreme cold spells that put strain on the grid.
Participation in demand response also results in cleaner, more affordable electricity by helping to reduce the need for expensive, fossil fuel-dependent infrastructure to supply electricity when demand is high.
Gillette Stadium’s facilities staff worked closely with Enel to create an optimal strategy to maximize earnings from demand response programs in New England. The stadium’s energy reduction plan involves:
- Shutting down HVAC units in select areas of the stadium
- Shutting down non-essential lighting
- Reducing usage of water chillers
In exchange for powering down these non-essential areas when needed by the grid, the stadium receives standby payments for agreeing to participate, as well as payments for performance when called upon. Since 2017, the stadium has earned more than $125,000 by participating in multiple demand response programs.
Gillette Stadium’s energy reduction plan also helps to reduce capacity charges on the venue’s electricity bill, which are calculated based on the stadium’s peak electricity usage at the time when demand on the electric grid is its highest over the course of the year. This approach has significantly reduced the stadium’s electricity costs, while also making peak demand levels easier and less expensive to maintain for New England’s electric grid operator and utilities.