- Feb. 27 – Energy Infrastructure on Tribal Lands funding opportunity informational webinar
- March 9 – SRP renewable RFPs due
- March 9 – Nominations due for APPA Reliable Public Power Provider review panel
- March 15 – Environmental Education Local Grants Program for Regions 1-10: Solicitation Notice for 2018
- March 23 – ACEEE Linda Latham Scholarship applications due
- March 26 – U.S. Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium FOA
- April 7 – EPA Green Power Leadership award nominations due
- April 19 – Energy Infrastructure on Tribal Lands application due
- April 26 – Federal Energy and Water Management Awards nominations due
11 a.m. MT
Residential solar installations on single family homes have soared over the last 10 years, yet most multifamily dwellers are still unable to access energy powered by the sun.
California implemented virtual net metering (VNM) tariffs that allow solar to be installed on multifamily building rooftops and allocate the benefits between tenants and common area accounts via electricity bill credits. Other states have similar enabling policies, either through their own versions of VNM or broader community or shared solar programs. In jurisdictions with rent control, however, limitations on how much a landlord may increase tenants’ rents can present a barrier to multifamily solar uptake. (Rent control is a policy implemented by local governments that prevents rents from being charged above a certain level or predetermined percentage.)
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council is presenting a free webinar on Wednesday, Nov. 8, to discuss the benefits of solar on apartment buildings for tenants and property owners and the challenges presented by rent control policies.
Speakers will explore ways in which local jurisdictions could (and have) sought to overcome these challenges while still preserving the important role that rent control plays in keeping rents stable and affordable. IREC’s webinar will do a deep dive into California’s experience and provide insights for other jurisdictions with rent control.
The Virtual Net Metering Market Development Project, funded by the Department of Energy SunShot Initiative Solar Market Pathways, identified rent-controlled apartment buildings as one of several barriers to the success of California’s VNM program. The project team—Center for Sustainable Energy, IREC and the California Solar Energy Industries Association —seeks to help advance solar deployment in the multifamily building sector and provide access to tenants in California and across the U.S.
The three-year project is rooted in expanding the awareness, effectiveness and use of VNM. The main objective is to identify obstacles and opportunities associated with the currently underutilized VNM tariff to overcome the challenges of expanding solar PV adoption beyond traditional commercial and single-family rooftop systems.
Erica S. McConnell, special counsel with Shute Mihaly & Weinberger, LLP, is presenting the webinar. Co-presenter Edward Schexnayder is an associate attorney with Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, LLP.
As IREC’s representative on renewable energy regulatory matters, McConnell leads the council’s shared renewable energy policy engagement. She was also a major contributor to IREC’s Model Rules for Shared Renewable Energy Programs and Shared Renewable Energy for Low-to Moderate-Income Consumers: Policy Guidelines and Model Provisions.
Schexnayder’s practice includes multiple aspects of municipal law, as well as adjudicatory proceedings before the California Public Utilities Commission and California Energy Commission. He has advised municipal clients regarding rent stabilization ordinances and has successfully defended rent ordinances from legal challenges in court.
Source: Interstate Renewable Energy Council, 10/23/17
11 a.m.-12 p.m. MT
The Community Solar Value Project is back with a free live webinar on Oct. 5.
What Makes the Biggest Difference in Achieving Community Solar Success? will feature utility industry journalist Herman K. Trabish discussing case studies he covered for Utility Dive. CSVP leaders will join Trabish to share case studies that illustrate their best-practice picks.
The discussion will be divided into coverage of the following questions and more:
- Where’s the balance point between utility freedom and regulatory push?
- Which lessons-learned are most often ignored—and at what price?
- Which utilities have found the best pricing solutions, and how?
- How do you speed up the program-design process?
- Do pilot programs help or hinder?
Besides looking inside the machinery of successful community solar programs, speakers will explore the question of what kinds of policies most help—or hurt—community solar program innovation.
The webinar will also include an advanced look at CSVP’s new Solutions Toolkit, which offers practical approaches in the six top challenge areas CSVP has identified through its work with utility partners. In addition to some familiar analytic methods and guides that CSVP has field tested this year, the toolkit features brand new resources to help utility program designers make community solar better.
This webinar is free, but registration is required. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn the keys to making the most of your community solar project.
Source: Community Solar Value Project, 9/11/17
June 15, 2017
12:00-1:30 PM MT
San Francisco, California
July 1, 2017
As solar installations continue to grow exponentially, there is an increasing need for other professions to know more about solar technologies. Firefighters, local code officials and electrical and building inspectors need a thorough understanding about solar technologies if the solar sector is to continue growing in a safe and sustainable way.
To meet this need, the Department of Energy SunShot Initiative provided funding to the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) to develop Solar Training and Education for Professionals (STEP). Working with partners in related fields, IREC created a number of training resources for allied professionals whose jobs require some knowledge of solar technology.
IREC’s STEP partners are:
- The International Association of Fire Fighters and National Association of State Fire Marshals represent the fire service.
- The International Code Council’s Solar Rating & Certification Corporation and the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI) represent a wide range of code officials and building and electrical inspectors.
- Private sector partners Interplay Learning and Embedded Assessments support development, delivery and evaluation of training.
STEP is presenting Solar Updates in the 2017 National Electrical Code, an interactive webinar June 15. This interactive webinar will cover new articles, such as large scale photovoltaic (PV) electric supply stations and energy storage systems, and changes to existing provisions like rapid shutdown and grounding of PV systems. Participants will have the opportunity to submit questions in advance, or during the webinar. The event is free and continuing education units (CEUs) are available.
Training in person
For solar professionals in California, an in-person workshop has been scheduled in conjunction with Intersolar North America in San Francisco, July 12. The half-day training session is one in a series of national forums on solar codes and safety specifically for local building planners and inspectors, architects, builders, solar installers and others who will benefit, including fire officials.
National solar code and technical experts will discuss the most recent solar code updates and impact on those tasked with enforcement. The material will cover much of the same ground as the webinar but in more detail, with an eye on California. Other solar code enforcement considerations, including permitting and first responder safety, will be discussed. After attending this session, participants will be able to:
- Identify three or more solar code updates
- Explain the impact of one or more solar code changes
- Navigate to solar code resources, including best practices for permitting
The forum is also eligible for CEUs from the International Code Council, IAEI and North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners.
Training on demand
In addition to these upcoming training opportunities, STEP offers specific free online training courses for code officials PV Online Training for Code Officials and firefighters Solar PV Safety for Firefighters Online Course.
For questions about the Solar Codes and Safety Forum contact IREC at 518-621-7379.
Source: Interstate Renewable Energy Council, 5/22/17
Webinar April 26
1:30-2:45 p.m. MT
A new tool published by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Charging Ahead: An Energy Storage Guide for State Policymakers provides regulators and other decision makers with specific guidance on key issues for policy consideration, including foundational policies for advanced energy storage—a new generation of technologies characterized by flexible operating capabilities and diverse applications.
The characteristics that make energy storage so valuable and attractive also make it challenging to address in policy and regulatory contexts.
Despite its game-changing potential to transform the electricity system, energy storage is vastly underutilized in the U.S. electricity sector. Its deployment remains hampered by the current features of regional, state and federal regulatory frameworks, traditional utility planning and decision-making paradigms, electricity markets and aspects of the technology itself.
To date, state policymakers and electric system stakeholders have largely navigated energy storage issues without the benefit of a roadmap to inform key regulatory and policy pathways for widespread deployment.
Charging Ahead aims to address that gap by providing an in-depth discussion of the most urgent actions to take in order to enable viable energy storage markets that effectively empower states to take advantage of the full suite of advanced energy storage capabilities. The guide identifies four foundational policy actions states should consider taking:
- Clarify how energy storage systems are classified to enable shared ownership and operation functions in restructured markets
- Require proactive consideration of energy storage in utility planning effort
- Create mechanisms to capture the full value stream of storage services
- Ensure fair, streamlined and cost-effective grid access for energy storage system
In addition to these foundational policies, the report provides background on energy storage applications, analyzes regulatory actions states are currently taking, and also puts some context around the valuation of energy storage. Read more.
A free webinar on April 26 will look at how the report can equip regulators and other stakeholders to integrate energy storage technologies onto the grid. Recommended state policy actions to address energy storage barriers will also be discussed.
Source: Interstate Renewable Energy Council, 4/19/17
Update: If you were unable to participate in Market Research and Market Segmentation for Community Solar Program Success, March 1, visit the webinar archive at the Community Value Solar Project. You can download the presentation to learn about the five-step process to drill down from general to specific research and to organize findings into an action plan.
According to a GTM Research report cited in Public Power Daily, the community solar market is poised for significant growth in the coming year. However, interest in community solar among utility customers varies widely based on demographic, regional and lifestyle factors. Utilities might be wondering how to design and implement a community solar program that appeals to customers across market segments.
Five Steps to Tailored Market Research, sponsored by the Community Solar Value Project (CSVP), will move quickly from general guidance to five specific steps that utilities can take to achieve results. The webinar features Jennifer Mitchell-Jackson, a partner in Grounded Research and Consulting and lead author of a new CSVP market research and market segmentation guide.
Market Research and Market Segmentation for Community Solar Program Success shows how to get a better understanding of different customers’ motivations before you offer a community solar program. This guide describes a five-step process, beginning with assessing research needs and tapping outside sources of community-solar market intelligence, through leveraging available utility data, and carefully designing or obtaining new customer research to address specific needs. It can be downloaded for free from the CSVP website.
The Community Solar Value Project represents leading energy thinkers and do-ers, ready to “make community solar better,” from both the sponsoring-utility and customer perspective. Members are working to develop a decision framework for community-solar program design, focusing first on optimal siting and project design, procurement, target marketing and matching with companion measures that attack solar-integration challenges.
WAPA is pleased to once again sponsor the Tribal Energy Webinar Series with the Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs (IE). The series begins Feb. 22 at 11 a.m. MT with Indian Energy: Looking Back and Moving Forward.
“Expanding Tribal Energy Development through Partnerships” is the theme for the 2017 series of 11 webinars. Tribal leaders and staff, as well as anyone interested in working in Indian Country, can participate in the free events. The series supports fiscally responsible energy business and economic development decision-making and promotes information exchange with the 565 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native sovereign nations, bands, villages and communities.
As national concerns about energy sufficiency and security have risen, American Indians and Alaska Natives have recognized the potential economic and self-determination benefits of energy resource development on their lands. Tribal lands consist of more than 56 million acres, or 2.3 percent of all land throughout the U.S. An estimated 17.1 million acres hold existing and potential fossil energy and mineral resources and about 5 percent of the country’s technically feasible renewable energy resource potential. Tribes with minimal fossil energy, mineral resources or renewable energy potential could benefit from other energy options, such as energy efficiency, demand-side technologies and collaborative supply arrangements.
Now in its fifth year, the Tribal Energy Webinar Series continues to meet critically important educational needs for tribal communities. Attendees will discover tools and resources for developing and implementing tribal energy plans, programs and projects. Webinars will provide case histories and business strategies tribes can use to expand their energy options and develop sustainable local economies.
The webinars are scheduled February through December on the last Wednesday of the month at 11 a.m. MT. Topics include:
- Feb. 22 – Indian Energy: Looking Back and Moving Forward
The first webinar in the series provides an overview of Indian energy in the U.S. and the mission of the IE office. Speakers will cover past successes, future plans and how to add value and streamline government procedures for tribes interested in energy development and self-determination.
- March 29 – Federal and State Policy Impacts to Tribal Energy Partnerships
Developing energy resources through partnerships is complex and can affect both tribal and non-tribal communities. Learn about state and federal requirements that could impact energy projects on tribal lands depending on the type of project, location, size and other considerations.
- April 26 – Spending Energy Dollars Wisely
Presentations will explore strategies, tools and technical assistance opportunities to develop a deliberate approach to maximizing energy dollars. Tribal guest speakers will share their successes and lessons learned in pursuing, developing and implementing strategic approaches to wise energy investments.
- May 31 – What Energy Project is Right for my Tribe?
Learn how to identify appropriate energy projects, from a small renewable generator for a single residence or building to a utility-scale project requiring transmission interconnection and a purchase power agreement. The pros and cons of ownership and leasing, differences among various renewable and conventional technologies and potential project barriers will be covered.
- June 28 – Tribal Project Partnerships
Hear about successful partnerships and how the successes can be replicated throughout the U.S. This webinar will be of particular interest to tribal nations and energy industry professionals interested in expanding their energy resource options and increasing economic development and self-determination.
- July 26 – Powering Your Community with Tribal Energy
Speakers will address the steps to developing a 1- to 2-megawatt energy project on tribally owned or controlled property to serve the energy needs of the tribal community.
- Aug. 30 – University Resources for Tribal Partnerships
Explore how relationships between universities and tribal nations can foster greater economic development, self-determination and energy independence for the tribes. Speakers will talk about successful university programs and initiatives on energy and the environment that are valuable resources to tribes.
- Sept. 27 – Fundamentals of Organized Energy Markets for Tribes
Find out how the expansion of establishments such as the Southwest Power Pool and the California Independent System Operator is will create opportunities for those looking for more energy resource options or to buy and sell energy resources, especially on tribal lands.
- Oct. 25 – Tribes Working Together
Generation and transmission and joint-action agencies offer business models for jointly owning, procuring and building new transmission and power generation projects Learn about these and other partnership opportunities that can support tribal energy independence and self-determination on tribal lands.
- Nov. 29 – Partnerships for Utilities and Tribes Initiative
This webinar introduces a new initiative to facilitate stronger and improved relationships between tribes and the utilities or energy companies that serve them. Another possible benefit of this effort is improved employment of tribal members in utility and energy sector jobs.
- Dec. 13 – Economic Market Potential on Tribal Lands and Interactive Tools for Assessments
Learn about the significant untapped economic potential from developing conventional and renewable energy resources on tribal lands, and the tools available for economic and energy supply assessments.
Be a part of expanding energy self-determination among our country’s American Indians and Alaska Natives by registering for any or all webinars. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required. Attendees must have internet access, computer compatibility with GoToWebinar software (free download) and a phone line. Recordings of the 2016 webinar series and archived recordings from past years are available to download.
Dec. 8, 2016
12:00–1:30 p.m. MT
The quarterly meeting of the Distributed Generation Interconnection Collaborative highlights the experiences of two utilities who applied for and received assistance from the DOE’s Utility Solar Technical Assistance program pilot. Register today to learn about two of these in-depth projects:
- Financial viability of co-located solar-plus-storage facilities in Pasadena, California
- Project finance for community solar in the U.S. Midwest
The technical assistance recipients and NREL subject matter experts will discuss the key outcomes and lessons learned from these experiences.
Source: WAPA Renewable Energy Program, 12/1/16
Webinar: Serving All Customers with Utility Energy Efficiency Programs
1 p.m. MT
Small businesses represent 90 percent of US businesses, consume about 20 percent of the energy and are of vital importance to our national economy, even more so in small towns and rural areas. Yet, utilities spend less than 4 percent of their energy-efficiency budget on these customers.
A new report from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) looks at ways utilities can tap that potential for energy and demand savings in the small business sector. Big Opportunities for Small Business: Successful Practices of Utility Small Commercial Energy Efficiency Programs identifies successful practices and emerging approaches for reaching those notoriously hard-to-access customers. The report then covers the major structural and organizational barriers that continue to stand in the way of fulfilling the energy needs of small businesses.
Diversity creates challenges
Those barriers include lack of staff, time and money, and the fact that many small businesses rent or lease, rather than own, their buildings. Customers across all sectors are often unaware of utility program offerings and the benefits of energy efficiency in general, and small business owners are no different in this respect.
But even addressing these challenges may not be enough to persuade small business customers to make upgrades that capture deep savings. Utility program managers, as well, may lack the resources to design, promote and provide programs that garner broad participation. The diversity of the small business sector, in terms of industry, energy uses, savings opportunities, financial needs, languages spoken, building types and cultures have important implications for program design.
Don’t stop at lighting
Facing such a broad range of needs, many utilities take a “one-size-fits-all” approach, focusing on the low hanging fruit of lighting upgrades. ACEEE research showed that even among several well-established programs, 90 percent of electric savings come from lighting—and not without good reason.
Almost every type of small, non-residential utility customer sees a quick payback and cost-effective savings from installing such measures as linear fluorescent and LED lamps, fixtures and controls. Adding direct—or even free—installation of qualified measures and high rebates make participation easier, and business owners start saving money right away.
Yet, utilities miss many opportunities by not looking at a wider variety of energy end-uses. In small grocery stores, for example, refrigeration can represent as much as 57 percent of the total electricity consumption. Also, most small business programs are electric only, and don’t provide any natural gas- and water-saving measures for space and water heating or cooking. Electric-only utilities might consider partnering with water and natural gas providers to create integrated efficiency programs.
Report authors studied leading small business efficiency programs to find emerging trends that are delivering results today and point to a future for program designs and features. A more customized and customer-centric model is the key, according to the report. Recommendations include:
- Segment your market and design customized offerings for each sub-segment
- Provide personalized and relevant messages through targeted marketing and communications
- Offer zero- or low-interest financing to encourage comprehensive retrofits and deeper savings
- Offer a wide set of eligible measures, for multiple end-uses, based on target market research and data analytics
- Where possible, assign dedicated project managers to give customers direct technical assistance, education and support
- Establish partnerships with the local Chamber of Commerce, small business advocacy organizations and community groups to gain access to more commercial customers and engage them as trusted local partners
Download the report to learn more, or register for Serving All Customers with Utility Energy Efficiency Programs on Dec. 6. This upcoming webinar looks at providing energy efficiency for hard-to-reach customer groups, including small businesses. ACEEE is partnering with Efficiency Cities Network to present a series of webinars on cities and the transformation of the utility industry. Past topics include:
- Meeting Climate Goals with Energy Efficiency: Cities and the Clean Power Plan
- City and Utility Partnerships: Minneapolis Case Study
- Cities and the Transformation of the Utility Industry
Source: American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, 11/21/16
Community plus Storage Solutions
Sept. 29, 12 p.m. CDT
As more utilities install projects that allow customers to get their own “piece of the sun,” new approaches and new challenges keep arising. You can learn more about designing solar projects and creating community solar programs by attending a free webinar series presented by the Community Solar Value Project (CSVP).
The 2016 lunchtime webinars explore innovations expected to grow quickly in the utility-driven community-solar market. The CSVP team invites guest experts to discuss better solar project design and procurement; strategies to manage solar variability, such as demand response and storage companion measures; program design for targeted customer appeals and win-win programs for low-income communities.
The hot trend of Community plus Storage Solutions is the topic of the Sept. 29 webinar. While the idea of integrating storage options directly into community solar gardens has been slow to gain traction, a few innovative utilities and third parties have begun to explore such designs on both sides of the utility meter. Find out how industry leaders are facilitating renewables integration in communities around the world. A discussion with provocative what-if questions will follow the presentations.
Shortly after each webinar, either a video or slides in PDF format are posted to the CSVP archive. You can also find webinar recordings from the 2015 series.
The two remaining webinars remaining in the 2016 series are:
- Thursday October 27 – The Value of Going Local.
- Thursday December 1 – Smarter Procurement for Community Solar Solutions.
The webinars take place at 12 p.m. Central Time.
Source: Community Solar Value Project, 9/15/16