Energy Solutions and ASW Engineering Selected to Implement PG&E’s Automated DR Program
Automated demand response (ADR) builds on the best of energy efficiency programs to push toward a truly smart grid. The increasing adoption of ADR-capable products is establishing DR infrastructure that can cost-effectively capture a large customer base, while providing customers and utilities with enhanced product functionality they desire.
We were, therefore, delighted to learn that Energy Solutions, and our partner ASW Engineering Management Consultants (ASW), were selected to implement PG&E’s ADR Enabling Technology Incentive program for the 2012-2014 program cycle. One of our market-based innovations includes working with equipment vendors to identify potential customers. In addition to providing our team with viable project leads, this strategy has helped vendors market their equipment because they can include the value of DR participation and utility DR incentives to help buy down the cost of DR enabled, energy efficient equipment.
The program launched on September 17; we have already received verbal commitments from large commercial and industrial facilities that have a combined load shed potential of 15 MW – almost 30% of program goal!
Innovating and Integrating ADR
We are currently working with HVAC equipment and controls manufacturers to integrate pre-programmed ADR-capable controls with efficient packaged HVAC equipment.
As our economy rebounds and small and medium businesses (SMB) get back on their feet, the CPUC mandated rollout of Time Varying Pricing (TVP) is a significant event for utilities, their customers, and the energy services industry as a whole. While in the past SMBs have had little participation in utility load shed programs, we believe the rollout of TVP in California will create an opportunity to include SMBs in utility DR programs.
We recently completed a pilot project that tested the ADR capabilities of a ductless mini split system that has a simple built-in control to automate control over the compressor speed and zone by zone setback control. When an ADR event was initiated the average load shed was 27 percent. The simplicity and various commercial applications of the control imply that there are cost-effective load shed strategies for small and medium size businesses (SMB) that may lack complex energy management equipment.
To demonstrate this approach to a larger market, we are currently working with HVAC equipment and controls manufacturers to integrate pre-programmed ADR-capable controls into efficient packaged HVAC equipment. This first-of-its-kind measure will streamline application processes and make participation in utility DR programs a viable option for SMBs. This measure could be piloted in select California HVAC programs in 2013.
We are also collaborating on a whitepaper with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) Demand Response Resource Center assessing VRF equipment’s ability to respond to demand events without compromising occupant comfort. The paper is examining the equipment’s sophisticated control options that enable Auto-DR initiation of a variety of intelligent load shedding schemes. This paper will be available to our clients and colleagues in early 2013.
Catalyzing Innovation through Early Commercialization Programs
Emerging technologies of today are the lifeblood of effective mass market energy efficiency programs of tomorrow. Utilities across the country are investing in emerging technology assessments and demonstrations with much success. Unfortunately, many new technologies that enjoyed emerging technology program success have not been successfully transitioned into mass market incentive programs. In many cases, stakeholders have not adequately planned for the unique requirements of this transitional phase. This “chasm” between emerging technology program success and full commercialization could grow into a distressing shortage of new measures for future mass market incentive programs.
Successful early commercialization of new technologies that are not simply “plug and play” drop-in substitutes require strategic intervention for a limited time at various points in the chain of commerce. These points of intervention are determined by the key barriers unique to the new technology in question. The goal of an early commercialization program is to identify larger market implications, improve the products, build consumer awareness and confidence, and scale up manufacturing volume in order to timely transition new technologies from emerging technology program success to mass market incentive program uptake.
Energy Solutions has designed and implemented early commercialization programs with our utility and government clients spanning technologies such as LED PAR/MR/Troffers, wireless controlled Lighting and HVAC equipment, and bi-level garage and stairwell lighting. Our experiences managing these programs indicate that there is no uniform intervention strategy that can be applied across all technologies, but several program approaches are consistent.
Energy Solutions more than held the County’s hand throughout the process to ensure that our lighting retrofit and controls project was successfully completed and rebated. …This expert perspective on the technical and economic feasibility of the project was incredibly helpful and essential for the County, because we do not have the in-house resources to delve deeply into the project economics.
Lin Ortega – Utilities Engineer/Program Manager
Santa Clara County
Early commercialization programs need to offer proactive facilitation between customers and the trade allies to ensure customer needs are met, and provide technical support and vendor and/or contractor training to build up the competence and capacity of the “supply side” of the market. For example, the rapidly changing LED market requires a great deal of coordination between manufacturers and end users because the end users who purchase the equipment have a limited understanding of the savings potential and product quality – which is ever changing with respect to both quality and efficiency. To accelerate customer demand, early commercialization programs must ensure that the early installations are successful and target visible customers (e.g., retail chains and public facilities) that are opinion leaders in their industry.
Given this level of intervention during the brief early commercialization phase, savings impacts are far more cost effective than savings achieved in emerging technology demonstrations, but less cost-effective than typical mass market programs. Furthermore, designing and implementing single measure early commercialization programs with short lifespans won’t optimize utility investments. An ongoing, multi-measure, early commercialization program, however, can increase program cost-effectiveness and simplify the process for utilities to transition a stream of emerging technologies as they successfully pass out of the demonstration stage. By structuring such a program, utilities can greatly reduce early commercialization program uncertainties and costs compared to ramping up and down programs for individual commercialization efforts.
The goal of an early commercialization program is a short, effective transition to the point where the new measure can succeed in the context of a mass market program, without the nuanced and intensive intervention required during early commercialization. With constant and rapid innovation in the energy efficiency field, we believe early commercialization programs will be more widely applied in future portfolio cycles – both in California and across the country.
Building Code Enhancements – Impacts in California & the Nation
More and more utilities across the country are exploring strategies to use Codes and Standards (C&S) enhancements to raise baselines, catalyze market transformation and save ratepayers billions of dollars a year. Active for more than a decade, our C&S team recently wrapped up three years initiative supporting the California Investor Owner Utilities’ involvement in the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) 2013 Title 24 building code revision process that was officially adopted by the CEC in May 2012 and will take effect in 2014.
This past cycle in particular, we worked on some very progressive ideas that once implemented, will help keep the Golden State at the forefront of building efficiency. We helped to developed the first-of-its-kind mandatory “PV-ready” requirements for commercial buildings, as well as a proposal for the first mandatory water savings measure in the CA building energy code.
We also addressed a significant barrier to EV adoption – infrastructure costs – by developing a proposal for electric vehicle (EV) charging readiness measures. For example, it costs roughly $250 to include a 220 volt power source in a garage during new construction; however, as a retrofit the cost for an equivalent installation averages $2,000. We are excited to help eliminate these barriers and facilitate deep market penetration of EVs.
To view the 2013 Title 24 Building Code press release click here.
Emerging Transportation Practice
Electric and plug in hybrid vehicles (EV and PHEVs) present formidable challenges and opportunities for utilities and society. While the pace of change may seem slow today, the race is on. Energy Solutions has launched a new practice area to help our clients plan for and address these major transportation and grid infrastructure transitions. Our first project addressed the barriers to integrating charging station infrastructure into the grid. For our California utility clients, our staff developed an EV charging readiness building code proposal for residential new construction in California. The proposal was submitted to the California Energy Commission and influenced the voluntary EV charging amendments approved in the 2012 version of CALGreen. Building from this experience, we developed and presented a paper at the 2012 ACEEE Summer Study Conference titled, “Reducing Barriers to Electric Vehicle Adoption through Building Codes”. To read the full paper, please click here.
Ed Pike, P.E. recently joined our team to expand our capabilities in the transportation field. He joined us after five years of transportation technical and policy research at the International Council on Clean Transportation and 15 years of air quality experience with the US Environmental Protection Agency. Ed recently co-authored a paper on strategies to leverage plug-in EV programs to also enhance energy efficiency and match EV charging demand with off-peak wind production; as well as presentations on determining the energy efficiency of electric vehicles, and California EV infrastructure status and policies, to a United Nations EV workshop.
We are excited to have Ed join our growing transportation practice and leverage his work with the California Zero Emission Vehicle program to provide expertise in areas such as facilitating EV infrastructure and targeting end-user vehicle efficiency.
Meaningful Metrics from Data on California’s Renewables
It still rings true that “knowledge is power.” Yet oddly, in the power industry, we collect heaps of data and are only now recognizing the value and potential to turn raw data into information that informs best practices and motivates more conscious behaviors. Energy Solutions has worked since 2008 with the California Solar Initiative (CSI) Program Administrators (PA) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to design, implement, and maintain the California Solar Statistics website, an interactive public reporting website for the CSI General Market solar rebate program.
The California Solar Statistics website provides statistics vital to helping the CSI program meet both its goal of installing 1,750 MW by 2016, and its goal of transforming California’s solar energy market by displaying, in a user-friendly way, solar industry metrics such as trends in PV system pricing, system ownership trends, and progress towards meeting capacity goals. Users of the site can search the entire CSI database for solar data, and find and price solar contractors based on geographic area.
In the summer of this year, our Team worked with the general market PAs, as well as the PAs for the CSI low-income solar rebate programs –the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) and Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) programs—to make data for the low-income programs available on the site.
With the additions of the MASH and SASH programs, California Solar Statistics now provides a more complete picture of the distributed generation solar market in California, allowing PAs to more efficiently manage their programs; regulators to more easily evaluate program performance; and consumers to more readily access solar market information.
As a testament to the value of this visualized CSI data, the CPUC recently awarded our team – E3, Black and Veatch, Energy Solutions, Energy Exemplar, and Ecotech Resources – a contract to develop a website similar to California Solar Statistics, to report performance and progress of California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) program. We look forward to working with the CPUC to launch the site in early 2013.
Congratulations to the California Codes and Standards Team for winning an ACEEE Champion of Energy Efficiency Award
At its 17th biennial Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) presented four Champion of Energy Efficiency Awards, recognizing leadership and accomplishment in the energy efficiency field. From over 120 nominations, ACEEE selected the California Utilities’ Statewide C&S Team for one of these awards. Energy Solutions is proud to be a key part of the California utilities’ team, having worked as one of the primary contractors for the California Utilities’ Statewide C&S programs for many years.
As explained by ACEEE, the winners of this prestigious award are selected “based on demonstrated excellence in program implementation, research and development, energy policy, or private sector initiatives.” It has been a privilege to work with our clients to advance innovative energy codes and standards both in California and at the Federal level these past years. We are honored to be part of the team receiving this recognition by ACEEE.