Earning new energy revenue with demand response
Vulcan first began working with Enel in 2007, by enrolling in demand response. Demand response programs enable large energy users to earn payments for reducing or shifting energy consumption, while supporting grid flexibility and reliability.
With Vulcan’s widespread geography and significant energy usage, they were able to benefit from Enel’s access to and experience in a wide variety of demand response markets throughout the country.
“We’ve had a fantastic relationship with Enel in demand response,” said Joel Huguley, Clouse’s predecessor at Vulcan who served as Procurement Energy Manager for 21 years before recently retiring. “Enel was the best in the business on both the technology and the service. So we built trust and a rapport and a conversation over time.”
As Vulcan has worked with Enel on demand response for over 15 years, they’ve seen how much Enel and Enel employees advocate for them.
“Kevin Green is our Account Manager for demand response,” Huguley said. “With Kevin, it’s like he is an employee of Vulcan. He handles everything and communicates well with our operations. He knows that if he does his job well, both of our companies benefit.”
Increasing bill savings with battery storage
Vulcan knew that they’d be a strong potential candidate for the benefits of battery storage because of the volume of energy they consume. Battery storage enables organizations to store and consume low-cost electricity to help them reduce time-based energy and capacity costs.
Enel had a long history of installing battery energy storage systems in California, where Vulcan has several sites. Vulcan was impressed by what they saw.
“I initially said it cannot be done, because I couldn’t believe you could buy a large enough battery system to reduce demand all the times it will be necessary,” Huguley said. “But once we started looking at the detailed analysis, there was opportunity there. Enel showed me some real-life examples with other plants and how the batteries were actually working. And I said, well, I’m sold.”
Vulcan now has 4 operational battery energy storage systems with Enel in California, with 3 more on the way. Two of those future systems will be paired with existing solar systems to create solar and battery storage systems, increasing the sustainability of the setup, a major concern for Vulcan as an organization.
“We recognize that if we’re pulling less grid electricity in the peak hours when more carbon-intensive resources are running, our GHG footprint is lessened,” said Clouse. “There is an ESG benefit that we’re championing around these battery storage projects. It’s not large in terms of the volume impact, but every little bit adds up as you’re marching to a 2030 goal and a longer-term goal.”
What’s next for the Enel-Vulcan partnership?
Vulcan hopes to continue expanding their usage of battery energy storage systems beyond California and throughout North America, with Clouse noting that there is no better proof point for other Vulcan sites than the success of these existing systems. In the meantime, they know their work with Enel will continue to provide them with important economic and sustainability benefits.
“Enel is going to do everything they can to get me what I need,” Clouse said. “That’s how Enel really puts Vulcan at a competitive advantage.”