Free webinar – Surviving the coming utility revolution

Sept. 9, 2014
1 PM Mountain time

Suzanne Shelton of The Shelton Group energy consultants will be moderating a free webcast called Surviving the Coming Utility Revolution,Redirecting to a non-government site sponsored by Greenbiz.com, that will host energy management leaders from Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson and Wal-Mart. They’ll share their sustainability goals and how utilities can help them achieve those goals.

This webcast will show utilities how they can best serve and retain their largest commercial and industrial customers as they increasingly seek to generate their own energy and reduce their environmental footprint. If you work in strategic planning, energy efficiency or distributed generation program management, product development, or customer service/key accounts in an electric or gas utility, this webcast will give you excellent insight into how to position your utility and your product/service portfolio to be most appealing to your largest customers. Read more.Redirecting to a non-government site Source: The Shelton Group, 9/4/14

You can hear more of Suzanne Shelton’s insights into strategies for improving customer relationships at the Rocky Mountain Utility Efficiency Exchange.

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

Residential efficiency program snapshots

Black Hills Energy has a three-year industrial efficiency program for large customers. They are working with the Industrial Assessment Center at Colorado State University.  Student engineers spend a whole day doing extensive testing to see what energy efficiency gains can be attained. They ask owners where they see the business going, and put that into the report. Utility representatives follow up with the business owners on prescriptive measures.

The program is now completing its first year and evaluating the results. They are starting to see some implementation, although a lot of industrial customers are just hanging on. The low-hanging fruit is being implemented. Black Hills is mandated to do proven cost-effective measures.

The engineering program at Red Rocks has found more efficiency gains from doing infiltration evaluation on the whole building. The CSU program includes whole-building analysis, but does not look at backdraft. Auditors have found high CO levels in buildings. Red Rocks has just completed work on a 40-year-old Net Zero building in Lakewood, Colo.

Envelope measures on existing buildings may not pass the cost-effectiveness screen test, especially for investor-owned utilities. Custom programs may be the best way to capture those savings.