- May 10 – Statement of Intent to participate in Western’s renewable energy certificate solicitation for 2013 - Deadline extended!
- May 26 – Early-bird registration deadline for ACEEE 2013 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry
- June 13 – EDA Economic Development Assistance Programs Federal Funding Opportunity (funding cycle 4)
- June 20 − Applications for Tribal Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Deployment Assistance
- June 27 − Applications for Community-Scale Clean Energy Projects in Indian Country
Archive for the ‘Energy efficiency’ Category
May 21, noon CDT
Go beyond weatherization kits and compact fluorescent light bulbs!
Too often, utility programs to help low-income customers begin and end with the tried-and-true measures. The Clean Energy Ambassadors free Lunchtime webinar for May highlights innovative energy-efficiency programs that can really make a difference on your low-income customers’ utility bills.
Join your utility colleagues online the third Tuesday of each month from 12-1 p.m. Central time. The Lunchtime Webinar Series offers candid, informal discussions that address the needs of consumer-owned power providers and their rate payers. Visit Clean Energy Ambassadors to register for this free event and to see the full line-up of CEA services and events. If you have any questions please contact Anthony Cutler at 406-969-1040.
The Emerging Technologies Showcase series continues with the free webinar, Advanced Lighting Control Systems.
With scheduling, dimming, occupancy sensing, demand response capabilities and more, these systems can capture big energy savings for commercial customers, especially large key accounts. This webinar explores a few of these systems – how they work, their benefits and drawbacks and recent case studies.
Register today to reserve your place.
The next Showcase, on Tuesday, April 30, will cover the National Energy Efficiency Technology Roadmap Portfolio. This collaborative tool identifies new energy-efficient products and services still in the research phase that need to be tested and verified before they can be introduced into the marketplace.
Sponsored by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) with support from Western, the Emerging Technologies Showcase webinars present the latest information about some promising energy-efficiency technologies and practices that BPA is considering for future research opportunities or focus areas.
All webinars are recorded, and available online .
Clean Energy Ambassadors (CEA) Lunchtime Webinar Series continues with a free webinar on designing demand-side management (DSM) programs that succeed.
Figuring out what makes a DSM program work can be tricky, to say the least. Different, and sometimes competing interests must be balanced: What goals does the utility have for the program? What do your customers want? What do they need? Learn secrets from utilities that have cracked the code to create innovative and award-winning programs.
Clean Energy Ambassadors presents the webinar series noon to 1 p.m. Central time (11 a.m. to noon Mountain) on the third Tuesday of the month. The webinars are designed to help utilities save money and better serve their customers. Presentations focus on the needs of consumer-owned utilities; and feature specific, candid and informal discussion. Register for this free webinar and check out the full line-up of CEA services and events. If you have any questions, please contact Anthony Cutler at 406-969-1040.
Western congratulates Southeast Electric Cooperative for earning the Community Service Award-Youth Division from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). Earlier this year, the Montana cooperative helped to coach a team of students from Carter County, Mont., to victory in America’s Home Energy Education Challenge .
The national student competition encourages students and their families to start saving money by saving energy. The judges, who are science teachers, evaluated entries based on the inclusion of multiple schools, student participation, energy savings and a final report. At least 94 schools and 120,000 students participated nationwide.
In June, Energy Services Bulletin reported on the Carter County School District’s triumph in the competition. Southeast Member Services Representative Marlene Waterland worked with five schools in the co-op’s territory to help them with their energy saving plans. Educational displays she borrowed from Western’s Equipment Loan Program helped to demonstrate concepts about energy use to third- through eighth-graders.
The Carter County team – Alzada Elementary School, Carter County High School, Ekalaka Elementary School (K-8th grade), Hammond School (K-8th grade) and Hawks Home School – won the national competition by successfully reducing their home energy use by 3.4 percent. Montana Electric Cooperatives Inc. submitted that program to NRECA for national consideration.
Waterland accepted the award at the 12th annual TechAdvantage Expo Feb. 20. NRECA CEO Glenn English praised the small rural utility, noting, ”Southeast Electric Cooperative has shown what it means to be a cooperative by engaging with the community – from age 5 on up – and finding new ways to improve the quality of life for their consumer members.”
As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to help Tribal communities across the country enhance their energy security and build a sustainable energy future, the Energy Department has announced the second round of the Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START) Program. Federally recognized Tribal governments can receive technical assistance to accelerate clean energy project deployment from this program. The Energy Department also plans to seek information from tribes interested in launching or expanding utility services in their own communities, which will help establish a new START Utility Program (START-UP).
The new technical assistance opportunities will strengthen the nation’s partnership with tribal communities, create good jobs and protect the planet, stated Office of Indian Energy Director Tracey LeBeau. “Working side by side with tribal energy leaders across the country, we are making sure Native American and Alaska Native Tribes have the tools and resources they need to foster economic competitiveness and promote tribal self-sufficiency,” she said.
Over the past year, the START Program helped nine tribal communities advance their clean energy technology and infrastructure projects, from solar and wind to biofuels and energy efficiency. In the current round of START projects, energy experts from the Energy Department’s national laboratories and other Federal agencies worked with tribal leaders to develop strategic community energy plans, conduct market research and identify financing mechanisms to support cost-effective renewable energy project development.
The next round of technical assistance awards will build upon the program’s initial successes. Native communities will receive further help increasing local generation capacity, enhancing energy-efficiency measures and creating local entrepreneurial and job opportunities. In the contiguous United States, awards will support tribes developing community-scale clean energy projects across the country. Alaska’s Denali Commission and Energy Department experts will help rural Alaska Native communities conduct energy awareness and training programs, and pursue new renewable energy and energy-efficiency opportunities.
New program for tribal utility planning
To support affordable and reliable electrical service to Indian lands and tribal communities, the Energy Department is launching a new tribal START Utility Program (START-UP). Expanding on the current START Program, START-UP will help tribes across the country develop their own utility services and increase ownership of local energy assets.
In an effort to tailor the program to the needs of Indian Country, the Department plans to gather information and public comment from tribes interested in developing, acquiring or expanding utility services in their own communities. Check the Office of Indian Energy website in the coming weeks for more details on this outreach. Source: DOE Office of Indian Energy, 1/29/13
Kitchen ventilation can run up big energy bills for restaurants, schools, hospitals and food packaging plants. Utilities that serve these types of facilities should join the Washington State University Energy Program Feb. 13 at 12:00 pm PST for Demand-Controlled Ventilation for Commercial Kitchens.
This webinar explores the reasons applications for demand-controlled ventilation (DCV) to commercial kitchen ventilation have been slow in coming. However, recent changes to ASHRAE Standard 90.1 – 2010 may make DCV a key component for energy-efficient commercial kitchens. Utilities may want to learn more about this option to reduce energy bills for large industrial kitchens in their territory.
Register now for February’s “Emerging Technologies Showcase” webinar. This monthly series sponsored by BPA, with support from Western, presents the latest information about promising energy-efficiency technologies and practices that BPA is considering for future research opportunities or focus areas.
The next Showcase in the series will be on March 20 at noon, PST.
Tuesday, Feb. 19
Lighting is becoming more and more energy efficient, and upgrades continue to offer low-hanging fruit that utilities aren’t capturing. Join utility program managers for the Lunchtime Webinar, Best Opportunities for Community-wide Lighting Upgrades to learn how they improved lighting efficiency, not just for a few businesses or homes, but for the entire community.
Clean Energy Ambassadors presents its Lunchtime Webinar series on the third Tuesday of each month. Candid, informal discussions center on ways consumer-owned utilities can save money and better serve their customers. Webinars are held from 12 to 1 p.m. Central time (11 a.m.-12 p.m. Mountain).
New technologies and innovative program designs are combining to create energy-efficiency programs that can meet the aggressive saving targets many states are setting, according to a new report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
Frontiers of Energy Efficiency: Next Generation Programs Reach for High Energy Savings finds that these next-generation technologies and programs can potentially achieve and sustain savings as high as 27 percent of forecasted electricity use and 19 percent of forecasted natural gas use by 2030. “As our report shows, new technologies and practices plus new program approaches unlock further opportunities to achieve large energy savings,” said Dan York, ACEEE utilities program director, and lead-author of the report.
Energy-efficiency programs for utility customers have been in place for over three decades in many areas in the United States. In the last 10 years, policies establishing high, specific energy savings targets have contributed to significant growth of these programs. For example, increasingly stringent building codes and energy-efficiency standards for appliances and other technologies are moving baselines for energy-efficiency performance higher.
The challenge facing these programs over the next two decades is to continue to achieve and sustain high savings levels. Certain types of programs in particular are having difficulty achieving high participation rates. The report profiles technologies and programs that offer an answer to these concerns.
While savings opportunities exist for all types of customers, the report finds some of the greatest potential exists for renovations and retrofits of homes and commercial buildings. Lighting also remains a large source of energy savings along with building mechanical systems and a variety of electronics.
Reaching more customers is another direction for next generation programs. Better data analytics improve understanding of more narrowly defined customer segments, enabling program administrators to focus incentives and marketing. Programs serving historically hard-to-reach customers, such as multifamily housing residents and manufactured home owners, are finding more success.
Another clear trend across program portfolios is an emphasis on better understanding customer behavior and motivations. Utilities are using such insights to design programs that engage greater numbers of customers to take actions that save energy.
The report examines a total of 22 different program types and concepts, from residential lighting to commercial buildings to industrial processes, along with a wide range of energy-efficiency technologies, including light-emitting diode (LED) lighting; high-efficiency heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment; and combined heat and power (CHP) systems. The authors interviewed a large number of experts on customer programs and technologies, and collected numerous examples of these leading principles and practices in action.
Maggie Molina, ACEEE state policy senior manager and report co-author, called the report a valuable resource for utilities looking to help consumers save money by using less energy. “With a wealth of information on the leading edge of program designs and energy-efficiency technologies, this report shows that program designers have an increasing number of options to achieve greater energy efficiency,” she said. Source: American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, 1/9/13
[Editor's note: This story was originally published in the January 2013 issue of Energy Services Bulletin.]
Holy Cross Energy recently chose Mary Wiener, a former energy advisor with Boulder County EnergySmart, to head up its energy-efficiency program. Throughout the year, Energy Services Bulletin will follow Wiener in her first utility job, as she develops programs to reduce members’ energy use and reach Holy Cross’s ambitious goals.
Utilities with established energy-efficiency programs must perform a balancing act. On one hand, offerings and strategies must be updated to reflect changes in technology, fuel prices and load and market conditions. On the other, few consumers have the time or inclination to follow an ever-changing menu of rebates and incentives.
Holy Cross’s carbon reduction program has successfully walked the tightrope since the Glenwood Springs, Colo.-based cooperative introduced it eight years ago. In the fall of 2012, Wiener joined the utility as its first energy-efficiency program administrator to take the program through its next evolution. “People are familiar with WE CARE, but the rebates are changing,” she explained. “We’re relaunching the program Jan. 2 with a new marketing plan and logo specifically to communicate those changes to our customers.”
The biggest change in Holy Cross’s program is its focus on the commercial sector. The utility’s plan to save 33,039 megawatt-hours (MWh) over five years is committing 60 percent of the WE CARE funding to an energy efficiency portfolio, and two-thirds of the portfolio funding to commercial programs.
Holy Cross will continue to offer incentives to help residential customers make their homes more comfortable and efficient, but the commercial sector uses far more energy. “Recreation and tourism are the biggest industries in the Roaring Fork and Vail valleys, and ski resorts are Holy Cross’s biggest customers,” Wiener pointed out. “If we are going to reach our goal of 6,600 megawatts of incremental savings annually, we have to reduce the biggest load.”
Opportunities in every business
The program takes aim at those customers with rebates for refrigeration, motor and lighting upgrades. “Lighting is a great place for businesses to reduce energy use, and it opens doors to talk about other improvements because it’s everywhere,” notes Wiener. “Ski resorts, hotels and restaurants may call about lighting upgrades, but learn that upgrading to more efficient motors or refrigeration systems offers even more savings.”
Motor loads may not be as obvious to a hospitality business as lighting, but they are just as important to saving energy. Improving motor efficiency in water treatment systems, air handlers, agricultural pumps and even cooling equipment could give Holy Cross a big push toward its goal. Coming from Colorado’s Front Range, and EnergySmart’s generous rebate for rooftop cooling units, Wiener learned that air conditioning in the mountains in the summer is a bigger load than most people realize.
One issue that is the same on either side of the Continental Divide is that commercial lighting has plenty of room for improvement. Wiener recalled that about 90 percent of the rebates EnergySmart paid out were for efficient lighting upgrades. Lighting became her specialty, and she has applied that expertise to developing more sophisticated incentives for Holy Cross. “Customers can still get rebates for LEDs and controls, but the rebates are for watts saved, rather than one-for-one lamp replacement,” she explained.
Wiener added that her experience is also helpful when dealing with contractors. “I can look at quotes and suggest different solutions,” she said. “Sometimes, contractors need a little push to think outside the box; for example, using low-wattage 28-watt T8s instead of 32-watt units.”
Unique residential challenge
Wiener admits to being less familiar with residential efficiency, but is learning fast from Holy Cross Energy Auditor Eileen Wysocki. Holy Cross offers residential customers complimentary walk-through audits with an infrared camera, and she has joined Wysocki on several occasions. The audits will continue to be part of Holy Cross’s residential efficiency program.
Even if she had more residential experience, Wiener would be encountering a different challenge in Holy Cross’s territory—the large, second-home property. Unlike primary residences on the Front Range, these homes sit unoccupied for long periods. With multiple refrigerators and freezers, entertainment systems, heating and cooling systems, spas, incandescent lighting, heat tape and snowmelt systems, these homes can use more energy than a small business. “It takes more than an understanding of building science to reduce the energy use in big vacation homes,” Wiener acknowledged. “We are actively working with property managers and homeowners to help minimize energy use in these homes when they are unoccupied.”
Ropes to learn
Wiener has set some other goals for the next year, both personally and professionally. Because she is new to the Roaring Fork Valley, as well as to the utility industry, she plans to get acquainted with as many businesses as possible. “Holy Cross has a reputation as a utility that cares about its customers, and I’m going to build on that,” she said.
Another priority is to make it as easy as possible for customers to submit rebate paperwork for prescriptive measures, or to design their own custom efficiency packages. “We’re in the market to buy ‘negawatts’— or more simply, we are paying for energy savings,” she said. “If they are already making the effort to reduce their energy load, they should be rewarded for their efforts.”
The biggest hurdle for Wiener, however, is just getting the word out and hitting Holy Cross’s goal. Western wishes Mary Wiener and Holy Cross good luck with the new energy-efficiency program and looks forward to following their progress.