For the fourth year in a row, the Virginia Tech community exceeded its goal during "Light’s Out!/Power Down!" 2013 held on the Blacksburg campus last Thursday between 3 and 4 p.m.

"Lights Out!/Power Down!" is an annual event that demonstrates the university’s ability to reduce energy consumption in the event of an electrical grid emergency condition that could result in grid outages. It coincides with Virginia Tech’s scheduled demonstration test as part of its enrollment in the PJM Interconnection Demand Response Capacity Market program, which requires the university to reduce campus electrical demand below 19,000 kilowatts for a minimum period of one hour.

Preliminary results from EnergyConnect Inc., the curtailment service provider company contracted by Virginia Department of Mining, Minerals, and Energy to administer this program, indicates the university more than exceeded its goal by reducing campus demand to an average 17,586 kilowatts for the hour.

The ability to successfully demonstrate this reduction is a requirement for the university to receive a $138,718 phased-in payment as the result of its successful participation in this summer’s program.

“Thanks go out again to everyone at the university who not only helped coordinate and prepare ahead of time, but to all those who participated during the event as well,” said Fred Selby, campus energy manager with Facilities Services. “Results like these can only come from the campus community working together as a team.”

“As we did last summer, the university achieved these reductions by focusing on reducing air conditioning in non-critical areas, turning off lighting, turning off or unplugging ‘plug loads” such as computers, appliances, and other electronics, and running several of the campus’ larger back-up emergency generators under transferred load during the hour,” said Selby.

The successful demonstration sets the stage for the rest of the 2013 summer peak demand season. As a program participant, the university remains on load reduction standby each Monday through Friday from noon to 8 p.m. through the end of September in the event of an actual grid emergency.

On July 17, 2012, at 1:37 p.m., for the first time since its initial summer 2010 enrollment, Virginia Tech was notified that PJM Interconnection had called for a “Load Reduction Emergency Event” that afternoon.

As a result, Virginia Tech was required to reduce its campus electrical demand from approximately 28,500 kilowatts at the time of the call to below 20,000 kilowatts by 4 p.m. and maintain that level through 8 p.m., which it did successfully.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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