MVTA Takes Advantage of Dakota Electric Peak Alert Program at Apple Valley Transit Station

Burnsville, Minn. – (Oct. 15, 2010) – The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA) has implemented a money-saving partnership with Dakota Electric Association, designed to reduce utility costs at the Apple Valley Transit Station.  As of Oct. 1, 2010, the MVTA will participate in Dakota Electric’s Peak-Alert Program.

The benefit of the Peak-Alert Program is that power at the Apple Valley Transit Station site can be automatically switched from the Dakota Electric system to on-site power generation supplied by an in-place 400KW emergency generator. Removing the site from Dakota Electric’s grid during periods of peak use allows the electric co-op to better manage generation capacity.  In return, MVTA receives a reduction in year-round utility rates estimated by Dakota Electric to be between 30 and 40 percent per month (estimated at $700 depending on energy usage in any given month).

By joining the program, the MVTA has received a cash a rebate from Dakota Electric of more than $7,000 which covers the cost of equipment and labor required to make the connections between the on-site generator and Dakota Electric’s automated control systems.

“This is definitely a ‘win-win’ situation for MVTA and Dakota Electric,” said MVTA Facilities Manager Tom Bright.  “Dakota Electric benefits because of reduced demand on their system at critical times; MVTA benefits through lower monthly utility costs and the installation rebate,” he said.

MVTA’s participation in the Peak-Alert Program resulted from working with Dakota Electric on an informal “energy audit” at the Apple Valley Transit Station.  The audit included a review of the past year’s bills, on-site observations of mechanical and electrical equipment/other sources of energy consumption, inspection of delivery and control equipment, and examination of data on energy costs and trends.

The MVTA also has a program similar to Peak-Alert in place with Xcel Energy at its Burnsville Bus Garage.

Dakota Electric has also completed an energy use survey at the Burnsville Transit Station (BTS).  It was determined that the two largest drivers of electrical costs at BTA were security/parking deck lighting and mechanical systems (HVAC).  “Our goal in looking at these programs is to improve efficiency and reduce energy costs,” said MVTA Executive Director Beverley Miller.  “We will continue to evaluate the safety, security and comfort of riders and others housed in these facilities,” she said.

In the coming months, the MVTA will implement cost-reduction measures at BTS by updating lighting controls for the building/parking deck, adding light-reflecting paint to interior surfaces of the parking deck (thus allowing reduced use of lighting during daylight hours), and upgrading HVAC system controls to provide improvements in scheduling and setback capabilities.  Similar updates to lighting controls and the addition of light-reflecting paint to interior surfaces of the Eagan Transit Station Parking Deck, are also planned.

“The MVTA will monitor the results of these efforts,” Bright said, “and will continue to work with Dakota Electric and others to ensure that we are reducing or containing energy-related costs.”

MVTA is the public transportation provider for residents and businesses of Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Rosemount, and Savage.

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