Demand Response Program

Text asking people to turn off lights during certain hours
Message displayed on building signage network for the Demand Response Program

In Spring 2013, Niagara College became a participant in the Demand Response DR3 program for both the Welland Campus and Niagara on the Lake Campus. The Ontario Demand Response Program was designed by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to reduce the risk of the reliability of the electricity grid by having contracted participants who can reduce demand when called upon. The program compensates participating businesses for reducing energy demand during times of power system need, typically large peaks in demand.

This program will also call on participants to reduce demand during times of both planned and unplanned maintenance shutdowns at power generating plants. As a result of the program, all electricity users can benefit from the increased reliability in power supply. This program allows participants to take advantage of savings during these peak hours when wholesale market prices for electricity are typically high as well as the compensation that is received for being a participant.

Ontario Power Authority is able to achieve more control over power generation in Ontario through this program. Some of the benefits to this program include:

  • When OPA is approaching their maximum load for energy production, they can call upon Niagara College and other partners to reduce their energy consumption so as to avoid switching over to a less desirable fuel source to meet demand
  • Allows OPA to call in advance to their partners to reduce their demand if they have unexpected or expected maintenance or infrastructure upgrades
  • When partners are operating within a lower load ┬ácapacity, OPA is able to use higher efficiency, and cleaner energy sources. If the load increases, the risk of turning to more undesirable fuel may occur. Having participation in this program can support Ontario’s clean energy goals

As an educational institution, both the Welland Campus and the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus have a high dependence on the weather for electricity demand, making this program more challenging to participate in compared to an organization in the manufacturing sector for example, with more regulated usage. Niagara College has committed to overcoming the challenges as an educational institution that is associated with this program, to help make a difference in the community and increase the reliance of the electrical grid in Ontario.

The summer of 2013 is the first summer that Niagara College has been a participant in the DR3 program and has successfully completed a Demand Response dispatch. All of the monetary gains Niagara College receives through this program help to fund other sustainability related projects and initiatives.