Storage space heating turns low temperatures into low bills

Some people go where the wind blows.

Arrowhead Electric and its wholesale power supplier, Great River Energy, are seeking ways to shift their members’ energy use to when the wind blows.

The wind is generating an increasing amount of energy and, during some periods of strong winds, there can be a significant amount of emission-free energy available.

However, the wind has proven to be at its strongest in the late evening and early morning hours when electricity demand is at its lowest. Therefore, in order to use wind energy more effectively, Arrowhead Electric is offering several programs to shift energy use to off-peak hours. One of those programs is storage space heating.

“Wind is driving down the market price of energy at night,” said Gary Connett, Great River Energy’s director of member services and demand side management. “As we increase our wind resources we continue to look for ways to optimize that energy, such as storage space heating.”

Storage space heating replaces traditional furnaces with electric thermal storage systems that contain electric heating elements, which lie within special, high-density ceramic bricks. Low-cost off-peak electricity heats the bricks between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. and the heat is stored to heat the home throughout the entire day.

Though storage heat does require a significant initial investment, the operating costs are significantly lower than propane and fuel oil, and are competitive with natural gas heat.

Arrowhead Electric offers rebates to defray the installation costs ($25 per kilowatt), but the initial investment is recovered over the life of the furnace. Compare the storage space heating rate for 2010 of 04.54 cents to the on-peak rate of 10.0 cents.

In addition to being a clean and affordable alternative to gas heat, storage space heating is safe for your home – there is no need for a chimney and no risk of carbon monoxide.

Contact Arrowhead Electric to learn more about storage space heating and find contractors who install it in your area.

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