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Big companies not required to conserve energy during peak grid demand, but there are incentive programs

There are some programs, like the 4CP Program, that will offer cost reductions to big companies if they reduce energy use during peak demand times.

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas is seeing record high temperatures and has also hit record-breaking energy demand on the grid multiple days just this past week.

On some of those days, ERCOT has asked people to conserve energy during the hot afternoons. So, are businesses also working to conserve energy?

“It's generally not required that anyone help conserve energy unless they've enrolled in formal programs, like formal demand response programs through the ERCOT grid,” said Joshua Rhodes, with Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin.

ERCOT sent this statement to KVUE: "There are no requirements for them to conserve. However, when ERCOT asks for conservation, we hope all businesses will heed our request, including miners."

So, just like households, businesses are only being asked to conserve energy.

“You know, sometimes it actually, it does work though,” said Rhodes. “Even just asking sometimes is helpful.”

The president of the Texas Blockchain Council, which is a Bitcoin industry association, told Bloomberg more than 1,000 megawatts worth of bitcoin mining load went offline on Monday to conserve energy for the grid.

Energy being conserved from both homes and businesses makes a difference.

“Residential makes about half, commercial makes up about a quarter, and industrial makes up about another quarter during these peak demand times,” said Rhodes.

These are some incentives for large companies to save energy. One of those is the state’s 4CP Program. As a part of this, if the companies reduce electricity use during peak times on summer days, their costs get reduced the following year, or increased if they use too much.

Riot Blockchain, which has a data center in Rockdale, sent KVUE the following statement when asked about energy consumption during peak demand hours:

“Riot's Data Center participates in supporting the citizens of Texas on the ERCOT grid by curtailing all power to help stabilize the grid during peak hours of demand. The Company recently began their annual participation in ERCOT’s Four Coincident Peak (“4CP”) program in which Riot’s Whinstone Facility located in Rockdale, Texas will curtail energy consumption when called on by ERCOT during the four summer months of peak energy demand. As part of Riot’s participation in the program, in June the Company curtailed energy consumption for a total of 8,648 megawatt hours.”


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