New fact sheets from ACEEE focus on industrial energy use

Compared to programs targeted at other sectors, industrial efficiency programs offer significant energy-saving opportunities at a relatively low cost, yet many large energy users have barely tapped their industrial energy efficiency potential. To help communicate the value of commercial and industrial (C&I) energy efficiency, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy You are leaving Western's site. has released four new fact sheets examining different aspects of industrial efficiency programs.

According to a white paper by the State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network (SEE Action), on a national level, the industrial sector saves more energy per program dollar than do other customer classes. Industrial programs can help states comply with the Clean Power Plan, while improving productivity and competitiveness for manufacturers and keeping energy costs low for all customers.

Educate stakeholders
First, however, your board and large account representatives must fully understand the benefits of C&I programs and be prepared to make the business case for them to your customers. Start by sharing these fact sheets with your staff:

  • Industrial Efficiency Programs Can Achieve Large Energy Savings at Low Cost cites statistics from programs across the country supporting the cost-effectiveness of implementing industrial efficiency measures. Because industrial customers often represent the majority of a utility’s energy demand, building strong relationships with a few of the largest energy users is an effective use of program resources. You will also find tips from SEE Action for designing effective offerings.
  • The Dollars and Cents of Industrial Efficiency Program Investment explains how combining industrial customer investments in energy efficiency combine with utility infrastructure investments to yield deep energy savings with medium-term paybacks. Industrial customers can often be persuaded to make investments with longer payback periods when utility programs address capital planning processes and financial hurdles. A list of the broader benefits of energy efficiency to the business, the utility and the community could help to sell the partnering strategy to your board.

Support participation
All 50 states have mandated a ratepayer-funded energy-efficiency program that counts efficiency as a resource and provides a mechanism for funding customer projects that reduce energy use. However, some of these laws allow businesses to opt out of funding and participating in the programs, or that allow customers to control some or all of their efficiency fees. These fact sheets clarify these exemptions and discuss the often- misunderstood implications of such policies:

  • Overview of Large-Customer Self-Direct Options for Energy Efficiency Programs outlines the status of self-direct programs and opt-out provisions by state, and includes tips for designing successful self-direct programs. If the biggest energy consumers do not participate in a program designed to spread the cost of efficiency across all customer sectors, all customers miss out on the the benefits of efficiency. Alternatively, the self-direct option gives C&I customers the flexibility to design programs that meet their business needs while ensuring measurable and verifiable energy savings. The fact sheet also identifies key elements in successful self-direct provisions.
  • Myths and Facts about Industrial Opt-Out Provisions busts commonly held misconceptions that lead policy makers to include opt-out provisions in energy-efficiency programs. This fact sheet may be particularly useful where lawmakers and big energy users are pushing to add opt-out provisions to an effective existing program.

Links to all four of these fact sheets can be found in Energy Services publications, along with other resources on technology and programs.

DOE initiative connects manufacturers, no-cost energy audits

Most industrial customers could use some help trimming or managing their energy use, but small utilities serving those businesses often have their hands full just dealing with the day-to-day business of keeping the lights on. Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs), set up by the Energy Department’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, may have the solution you and your large key accounts need. 

IACs show small- and medium-sized manufacturers how to improve productivity, reduce waste and save energy. These steps can go a long way toward boosting the competitiveness of commercial and industrial customers. Through IAC offices, local university engineering departments and students work with manufacturers to identify energy-efficiency upgrade opportunities in their facilities. 

Teams of faculty and students perform assessments at no cost to the plants. The assessment begins with a one- or two-day site visit, during which engineering measurements are taken. The team then analyzes their results to make specific recommendations. Within a couple of months, the manufacturer receives a report from the team detailing the analysis, findings and recommendations, including estimates of costs, performance and payback times.

IAC recommendations have averaged about $55,000 in potential annual savings for each manufacturer.  IAC assessments are intended for manufacturers with Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes 20-39 located within 150 miles of a host campus. The business must have gross annual sales below $100 million, fewer than 500 employees at the plant site and annual energy bills more than $100,000 and less than $2 million.

There are four IACs located in Western’s territory:

  • Colorado State University
  • Iowa State University
  • San Diego State University
  • San Francisco State University

In addition to providing technical assistance to manufacturers, the program partner Rutgers University Center for Advanced Energy Systems maintains a massive database of IAC assessment summaries. Cases can be searched by year, SIC code, NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) code, energy cost, state, products or center. Each record describes the plant (but not the name), and includes a list of recommended measures with the estimated cost and saving of each.

Visitors can also find a description of the assessment process the industrial plant can expect. Additional resources, including a training manual, a self-assessment workbook for small manufacturers and case studies are also available.  Source: Energy Experts, 7/9/14