WA Bluemetal

Fast Facts

Industry: Mining
Location: Headquartered in Bibra Lake, WA
Program: EnerNOC Demand Response - Western Australia
DR Strategy: Curtailment only
Primary Curtailment Strategy: Operational shutdown for no more than 4 hours
Annual Payments: Approximately $17,000

The Big Picture

WA Bluemetal is a major supplier of hard rock products to the Perth metropolitan area. With a quarry located near Whitby, WA Bluemetal is a leading source for a wide range of granite products including concrete and asphalt aggregates, roadbase, armour rocks and spalls. Each hour, the plant moves more than 400 tonnes of material.

The company is part of WA Limestone, a family-owned business which has supplied Western Australia’s construction, government, and residential sectors with high quality raw materials for more than 30 years.

WA Bluemetal’s demand response participation began in 2010, as a key element of its commitment to enhance the environment and support the community.

The company participates in EnerNOC’s demand response program by temporarily shutting down rock crushing operations while normal sales and administrative functions continue uninterrupted. WA Bluemetal’s short term reduction in electrical demand provides stability to the WA electrical grid, supports the local community and earns significant annual payments.

Straightforward Support for Business and Community

WA Bluemetal’s environmental policy actively encourages energy conservation through increased efficiency and use of new technology. The company’s general manager, Wally Lukic, finds the EnerNOC program naturally supplements that policy by contributing to smarter supply resource management on the Western Australian grid.

Despite the excellent fit for the program and substantial boost in revenue, the initial decision to participate was not without close evaluation. “Commercially it all sounds good, but at an operational level it was a question of how much disruption to our business it would create,” says Lukic. Working with production personnel, he addressed concerns of additional demands on day-to-day operations and scheduling, and gained support for the program throughout the organisation.

“Now that we’ve been in the program for several years, it’s second nature to us... it’s been working really well.”

The Results

Two years into the program, WA Bluemetal has been dispatched to perform only three times due to emergency shortages on the Western Australian electric grid. Designated WA Bluemetal personnel receive SMS, email, and phone notifications of the upcoming demand response dispatch four hours in advance of the required load reduction.

According to Lukic, the program has been minimally disruptive, thanks in large part to the infrequency of dispatches and four hours of advanced notification: “We’ve had time to shut our plant down without causing too many problems. If we have a sudden shutdown, it’s a disaster for us. Having a planned shutdown opportunity makes everything a lot easier. It allows us to run all the material through the plant, clean and do the things we have to do to protect our equipment.”

Production operators then conduct the controlled shutdown of the crushing, screening, sorting and conveying equipment, which takes about one hour. The site’s sales and administration office operations continue normally, with personnel taking orders and dispatching deliveries. “We can continue selling even though we’re not producing,” adds Lukic.

The Benefits

EnerNOC delivers WA Bluemetal tangible revenue to lower its production costs, or as Lukic describes, “a negative cost to the business.” On top of the incremental revenue, WA Bluemetal enjoys additional benefits:

Equipment Protection

Sudden power outages and poor power quality can cause significant damage to expensive, critical equipment. Advanced warning of grid issues allows WA Bluemetal to protect valuable machinery—avoiding costly repairs and downtime.

Local Community Support

As a family-owned business, WA Bluemetal believes that good neighbours always look out for one another. The company takes pride in helping protect neighbouring businesses and residents from the negative impacts of electrical blackouts.

Environmental Policy Support

Providing employees with a better understanding of environmental issues and how to preserve the environment is a central component of WA Bluemetal’s corporate principles. The company’s participation in demand response provides practical awareness to employees in support of this mission to improve the environment.

Simplicity and Ease of Participation

Wally Lukic appreciates how easy EnerNOC makes it for WA Bluemetal to participate in demand response. His EnerNOC representatives provide ongoing support and coaching to help him maximise revenue from the program.

“During one dispatch, we received a call to advise us that we were running above expected load levels, when we were meant to reduce by at least 5 more kW. EnerNOC’s feedback was appreciated, as we were able to further manage our response and increase curtailment to our target levels.” By meeting curtailment targets, Wally ensured his firm earned its maximum payments from the dispatch.

The Future

Overall, Lukic recommends the program to other local businesses: “Have a close look at how your business functions and its power management. If curtailment is something that can be scheduled, get on board, because it’s low impact on the business and produces some additional revenue. In the end, it reduces your production cost, and you can participate with very little inconvenience.”

EnerNOC understands that WA Bluemetal’s strategy of shutting down operations does not work for every company, nor does it have to. EnerNOC listens to your specific business needs and works closely with clients to develop a tailored plan designed specifically for them.