Balco Australia

Balco Australia is a leading processor and exporter of highgrade oaten and cereal hay, and has been participating in demand response (DR) in Western Australia (WA) since 2012. We chatted with WA Manager, Garry Pattinson, about their experience so far.

(ENOC) What made you interested in the program?

(Garry Pattinson) The Balco Australia way is to build a sustainable future within our local communities. With this idea at the forefront of our business, the Balco Western Australia processing plant is happy to help conserve power use where possible and contribute to keeping the grid stable through this program. The financial rewards have helped senior management weigh up the cost and benefits of participating, even if it means a loss of production.

Our organisation has a commitment to sustainability and participation is a part of a larger effort towards sustainability at the site, which also includes recycling and waste management.

How does your site reduce consumption during a DR dispatch?

EnerNOC’s program in WA provides us with 4-hours advanced notification to reduce our energy consumption when the electricity market operator anticipates the need for DR capacity. We follow the advice and clear instructions from EnerNOC, and reduce our electricity use according to our pre-determined energy reduction plan (ERP). Our ERP consists of curtailing numerous large and small electrical motors, cooling systems, dust extractors and lighting, all of which are controlled through our switchboard. When a demand response dispatch is called, production goes offline for a short time and the staff undertakes a cleaning and maintenance program until clearance from EnerNOC is received to restart operations. The compensation covers operational costs and the benefits to the community make participation worthwhile.

What support do you receive from your organisation?

Balco Australia enrolled its Western Australia processing plant in EnerNOC’s DR program in 2012. Our participation in the program is supported by senior management, even if it means forgoing a little production from time to time. The benefits from the program outweigh any disruptions.

Has your organisation benefited from using EnerNOC’s energy intelligence software (EIS)?

We have only taken the opportunity to utilise EnerNOC’s energy intelligence software during a dispatch in which it allowed us to closely monitor our power usage. The platform makes monitoring our electricity use very clear and accessible. Ongoing monitoring could really help us understand how we are using electricity on a regular basis, and we recognise that it could be another tool for us to use in the future outside of when DR is dispatched.

How would you characterise your organisation’s overall level of satisfaction with the EnerNOC engagement?

We’re very satisfied with the technology, support, and instructions from EnerNOC’s staff. Senior management believes that involvement in the program supports the message of our long-term commitment to the environment. We are looking forward to continuing with EnerNOC as our demand response partner in Western Australia.

Demand response is an initiative that rewards large users of electricity like Balco Australia for reducing consumption from the grid during periods of peak demand. Through this mechanism, the grid can count on EnerNOC’s network of DR participants to help balance supply and demand, and rely less on carbon-emitting power plants.