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State Farm Stadium Wins Big and Helps Conserve Energy, When Needed Most, with SRP Business Demand Response Program

State Farm Stadium — home of Arizona Cardinals’ gridiron action — knows how to play the game of making money while being a team player and conserving energy when it is in peak demand.

In March 2020, the 1.7 million square-foot arena joined the roster as a Salt River Project Business Demand Response participant, which means the utility pays the stadium to temporarily reduce energy use when an emergency threatens the stability of the power grid.

According to State Farm Stadium General Manager, Andy Gorchov energy costs at the five-story, multi-use facility account for “a significant portion of annual operating expenses.” He says, “participating in the demand response program was a simple, no-cost, no-risk strategy to help reduce annual energy costs.”

In conjunction with Enel X, SRP relies upon demand response business partners to temporarily reduce energy use when needed in instances of extreme summer weather, wholesale price spikes or unexpected system issues. By participating, a company earns payments without foregoing operational reliability, while helping SRP to strengthen its grid and increase sustainability efforts.

“SRP’s Business Demand Response program helps our community-based, not-for-profit utility meet increased electricity demand during the summer months in a sustainable way. The program is a key component in growing our portfolio of demand response resources,” said Dan Dreiling, SRP director of Customer Programs.

Gorchov says State Farm Stadium saved approximately $75,000 (in a year), which he calls “a really, really nice savings.” He also points out that participating in the program offers an annual savings without incurring any capital investments or costs.

“How rare is it to have no-cost, low-cost solutions to reduce your energy consumption and costs,” Gorchov said. “It works well (for us) to participate given the nature of the stadium’s operating hours because it doesn’t impact us during major events. The program is flexible. If an emergency is declared and you are unable to participate, you have the flexibility to make that decision on a case-by-case basis.”

Demand response participants receive advanced notice of potential events, which allows them to proactively prepare their facilities. Incentives for participation are customized to each company based on the scope of their plan and ability to reduce energy demand during the high-peak summer season from noon to 9 p.m. during the May 15 to October 15 timeframe.

Ideal Business Demand Response candidates include:

  • Large- and mid-size commercial customers with peak loads of at least 100 kilowatts
  • SRP customers not currently on interruptible price plans

State Farm Stadium hosts up to 150 events a year that range from the Fiesta Bowl to WrestleMania. As one of the premier destinations in Arizona Gorchov says, “for the stadium, it has always been and will always be a priority to be a good neighbor.” And in this case, being a good neighbor means doing their part to curtail energy use when needed.

“Participating in this program is simply the right thing to do,” added Gorchov. “For this type of program to be successful and effective, it’s all about participation. We are doing our part without any harm to our business or our operations to ensure the reliability of the electrical grid at important times when there is really high demand and it is essential for individuals and thousands of families to have reliable electric service.”

Through its participation in the program, State Farm Stadium curtails enough energy to support roughly 375 homes during conservation events. During the 2022 summer season, all participants within the SRP Business Demand Response program offset the energy needs of more than 8,500 homes during conservation events.

An informational webinar will be held for business leaders who are interested in learning more on September 1st. To enroll, click here or contact: eric.chang@enel.com. For more information, visit srpnet.com/BDR or enelx.com. Customers also can contact their SRP Strategic Energy Managers at bizcenter@srpnet.com.

Business Demand Response Stats:

  • Each event reduces the carbon equivalent of almost 79,000 miles driven by passenger vehicles.
  • Currently, 389 individual business sites are enrolled, which include the following categories:
    • Municipalities
    • School districts
    • Manufacturing
    • Mining
    • Retail
    • Entertainment venues
    • Food distribution

Editor’s Note: To set up an interview with a business in your coverage area, contact Kathleen Mascareñas at Kathleen.mascarenas@srpnet.com.

State Farm Stadium Fun Facts:

  • The 63,400-seat venue opened in August 2006; 15 years ago, this month.
  • The facility is five-stories high with a maximum height of 180 feet.
  • There are no obstructed view seats in the stadium.
  • It boasts the first retractable, natural grass field in North America.
  • It’s considered an architectural icon and Business Week named it as one of the ten “most impressive” sports facilities on the globe.
About SRP

SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers. SRP is also the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 750,000 acre-feet annually to municipal, urban and agricultural water users.