Given the nationwide interest in Midstream and Upstream program designs at the last AESP national conference, the AESP Program Implementation Topic Committee decided to collaborate to author a four part series of AESP Strategies Newsletter articles on Midstream program strategies and program examples. See below for the first in the series covering Upstream and Midstream program elements, terminology, myths, and benefits. Subsequent articles will cover challenges, opportunities, and examples from programs implemented at utilities nationwide.
Moving to the Middle – How to Navigate the Ins and Outs of C&I Midstream Programs
By Dave Backen, Christopher Burmester and Mary Ann Sheehan
Upstream. Midstream. Downstream. What’s the difference in a Commercial & Industrial energy efficiency program? Or is there any difference at all?
While program implementers use these terms in various instant rebate programs, that use isn’t always clear, and many use upstream/midstream interchangeably, which can cause confusion in the industry. For the purpose of this article, then, we will use the following definitions:
- Upstream program – In the supply distribution chain, incentives are paid/directed at the manufacturer level, which typically passes along a “reduced price” or enhanced support or availability for premium products to the distributor:
– Typical market actors include manufacturers and suppliers.
- Midstream program – In the supply distribution chain, incentives are paid/directed to the distributor level, with impacts typically passed along to the contractor or downstream self-install customer:
– Typical market actors include distributors, retailers and other vendors positioned between the manufacturer and the customer/end user.
- Downstream program – In the supply distribution chain, program promotion focus and incentives are paid to the utility customer (sometimes an incentive can be signed over to the contractor):
– Typically, the focus is the utility customer, although contractors/installers are often involved in installing the equipment or measure(s).
In this installment, we examine the benefits from and challenges to implementing C&I midstream programs as part of an energy
While any product or measure could be delivered through a midstream or upstream channel, those typically included are:
- Lighting, which can include LED bulbs and fixtures, CFLs, linear fluorescents and ballasts, streetlights, and commercial display signs;
- HVAC measures including package units, heat pumps, room AC, split systems, and chillers;
- Motors and variable frequency drives;
- Gas measures that include boilers, water heating, and food service.
Due to the success of midstream programs, more products are being continually piloted and added in other end-use categories…
You can read the rest of the Newsletter article on the AESP website here.