Energy Efficiency Markets

Energy Efficiency Markets

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Elisa W.

Elisa

Should we even ask utilities to plug energy efficiency? Here's another approach.

Editor at Energy Efficiency Markets Top Contributor

Call it the great energy efficiency dilemma. Utilities make their profits selling energy. Government asks them to sell less. Here's a solution.

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  • 4 months ago
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  • Ted K.

    Ted

    Ted K.

    Partner at Energy Efficiency Specialists, LLC.

    Savings claim from modeled or measured actual savings?

    If modeled, do you know of realization studies? Realization rate?

    That it's based on Vermonts program isn't necessarily a bragging point...

    bit.ly/VTsucksToo
    (HPwES Programs; pg: es-9 Vermont realization - " the realization rate of 51% +/- 13% for fossil fuels was found to be within the range of some of the realization rates for natural gas savings found for other, similar programs" p es-1)

  • Richard B.

    Richard

    Richard B.

    Improving workplace performance, safety, and cost efficiency

    This is a refreshing change from Washington's usual program of fighting global warming. Clearly, saving energy through sustainable practices and making use of all available rebates, incentive, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs, On Bill Financing and other methods do work - and can get approval from the C-suite, and the resulting reduction in greenhouse gas production is significant.

  • Don L.

    Don

    Don L.

    Owner of Energy Upgrade Services

    Elisa - is this along the lines of de-coupling? I know that here in Ca and other places this has already been done. Beware though it does not make energy costs lower it just shifts them around. We have the same energy usage as we did in 1990 but have the highest rates in the country.

  • Elisa W.

    Elisa

    Elisa W.

    Editor at Energy Efficiency Markets

    Top Contributor

    No decoupling here, Don. The district has set up its own organization to adminster energy efficiency -- rather than having the utility handle programs.

  • Andy F.

    Andy

    Andy F.

    Founder and President at Sealed

    This is just similar to NYSERDA or other government-run energy efficiency organizations. The short term problem is that they are not a utility - they don't have direct access to energy usage data or the ability to bill on a monthly basis.

    The bigger problem is that it's hard for a centralized organization (utility or government) to directly solve a decentralized problem (energy efficiency). So it doesn't really matter if it is a government or utility charged with delivering energy efficiency, they are both going to struggle unless they are (a) super progressive (rare) or (b) catalyze market mechanisms, doing more good than harm.

    Unfortunately, many utility and government programs are not in the position to do this because PUCs impose rules that end up leading to too much bureaucracy, paperwork and horrible customer experiences.

    IMHO, the focus of the energy efficiency industry should be put squarely on the PUCs, getting them to focus much more on real-world applications of their policies, and doing common-sense changes like going from a Total Resource Cost (TRC) test, which assumes zero non-energy benefits, to a Program Administrator Cost (PAC) test, which only cares about whether rate-payer dollars are spent cost-effectively.

  • Don L.

    Don

    Don L.

    Owner of Energy Upgrade Services

    Andy states.....Unfortunately, many utility and government programs are not in the position to do this because PUCs impose rules that end up leading to too much bureaucracy, paperwork and horrible customer experiences.

    So true. The cost versus the realized benefits are out of balance. On the other hand, and I could be wrong, many EE projects have a history of not living up to what was advertised. I think the over bureaucratization was a function of standardizing a way to measure and verify, but sadly the results are more spent on MV with less available for actual EE improvements.

  • Andy F.

    Andy

    Andy F.

    Founder and President at Sealed

    Don, you are correct that M&V is one reason things are so bureaucratic. The problem is that (a) more M&V hasn't led to more accurate savings and (b) the TRC vs. PAC test has nothing to do with M&V directly.

    The PUCs are trying to solve the M&V problem with the wrong means ("deemed" engineering models) rather than large-scale analysis of energy usage data. So right now we are in the worst case scenario where there is little savings accuracy and a ton of bureaucracy. There are plenty of ways to reverse this state of affairs, but it takes re-thinking stale regulatory models.

  • Don L.

    Don

    Don L.

    Owner of Energy Upgrade Services

    Andy the Energy Upgrade California program may be different. We use utility data, perform BPI testing both "in" and "out". Not sure what more can be done. I have found that the models work pretty well, but there is a tendency not to save energy but to improve IAQ and comfort. In many cases the homeowner uses the same amount of energy, but lives more comfortably.

  • Ted K.

    Ted

    Ted K.

    Partner at Energy Efficiency Specialists, LLC.

    Spending $5,000 to $13,000 PER PROJECT and they can't allocate a few hundred for M&V of actual results?

    The form the consumer signs implies to both consumer and contractor that someone is watching results. That if results don't line up, something will be done about it.

    Kind of outrageous when you realize there is no intention to track, that "release" is pure smoke providing false sense of program integrity.

  • Don L.

    Don

    Don L.

    Owner of Energy Upgrade Services

    Ted - interested in how the M&V would be done. I am assuming that the test out serves some function at the verification level. Also do you mean that the $5K to $13K is the total project cost, or is that the administration cost?

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    Editor at Energy Efficiency Markets

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