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Donsco Melts Away Energy Costs With Demand Control, Response Like most metalcasting operations,

Donsco, Wrightsville, Penn., counts energy as its highest cost after raw materials. When the state’s 2010 util- ity deregulation resulted in a massive price increase, the company had to take action. Under deregulation, demand charg-

es would be calculated on a 24-hour schedule instead of the prior on-peak, off-peak cycle. Donsco, which operates two iron casting facilities in Wrights- ville and Mount Joy, Penn., realized its savings on energy generation charges would be more than offset by much higher distribution rates. “At Donsco-Wrightsville, we were

facing a distribution cost increase of more than $25,000, meaning we were going to see our distribution costs go up by an enormous percent- age,” said Chris Buck, Donsco plant manager. “Tat’s when we knew

demand control was the only way we were going to be able to reduce that portion of our electric bill. We felt we could control energy costs with better management.” Donsco-Wrightsville is a me- dium- to high-volume casting facility producing up to 150 tons a day of gray and ductile iron cast- ings ranging from 1 to 75 lbs. It saw opportunities to cut energy costs with demand control and response strategies. Managers calculated that with demand control alone, the company could save on its distri- bution charges. Participating in a demand response program called synchronous reserves could bring in helpful substantial payments from the region’s grid operator, PJM. Synchronous reserves participants in the PJM territory have 10 min- utes’ notice for a 30-minute event,

during which they must reduce their load by the amount of power they bid in the market. The more they bid, the more they earn. Donsco- Mount Joy was already participat- ing, but it had to shut down all its furnaces at the same time because operators didn’t know how much power they were using. Both Donsco facilities wanted

more efficient results, so they incor- porated Powerit Solutions’ Spara EMS energy management system. At Donsco-Wrightsville, holding fur- naces provide a buffer, so the facility can set a more aggressive setpoint to reduce its peak demand charges and shed loads multiple times per hour. It uses Spara for demand control and two forms of demand response: synchronous reserves and interrupt- ible load, which gives the facility two hours’ notification of an event and pays based on the difference between normal and reduced load. “When the Spara system receives

a signal from PJM, it goes into a demand response schedule we’ve de- fined,” Buck said. “We load a schedule 24/7, so Spara can go in and see if we are in the market at the time of the event. If we are, it will take load- shedding actions to lower the plant’s kilowatts by the prescribed amount. Once the event is called off, Spara re- leases control of the furnaces and they go back to full power.” Since incorporating Spara-EMS,

Donsco-Wrighstville is saving on its monthly electricity bill through demand control and demand response payments without affecting production. “We’ve never really had any down-

time for the demand control that we’re doing or for our demand response programs,” Buck said. And, the same is true at the Dons- co-Mount Joy operation, according to plant manager Jesse Fluck. “Our goal here is to melt five tons

Donsco-Wrightsville is cutting its electricity costs from melting with Powerit’s Spara energy management system.

44 | MODERN CASTING September 2012

an hour,” Fluck said. “I’ve seen us melt more than five tons an hour and shed eight times over the course of the day, so we’ve seen no reduction

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