Winter 2015 Forum    

Improving Energy Efficiency Now & In the Years to Come

December 4, 2015

City of Vancouver’s Water Resources Education Center
4600 SE Columbia Way, Vancouver, WA 98661

The day’s first presentation was by Charlie Grist, with the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NWPCC), to discuss “The Power Council’s Seventh Power Plan & Energy Trust.”

Mr. Grist did a wonderful job first speaking to the Pacific Northwest’s regional power history (WA, OR, ID, and MT) and how energy planning and delivery works. Post 1960, when it took 20 years to build a power plant, forecasting power delivery was tough. The regions electric system became overbuilt which lead to the NW Power Planning and Conservation Act of 1980. The Act helped provide transparency to the decision making behind energy forecasting while making better more informed forecasting decisions.

Next Mr. Grist discussed ‘how efficiency as a resource turns into conservation programs’ through an amazingly complex ‘Implementation Web’ slide of all the regional stakeholders that players that influence and/or shape energy efficiency policy. From NWPCC to the Regional Technical Forum, to Bonneville Power Administration to State Regulatory Commissions to public and private utility companies, to the Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO) and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) are all involved in the energy process. Not to mention federal, state, and local government’s role in efficiency, market transformation, and codes and standards. And then of course the End Use Consumers. As complicated as this all seems, Mr. Grist acknowledged the system works and is flexible but the process may be a bit cumbersome at times.

Mr. Grist then moved on to discuss components of the Draft Seventh Power Plan – under public comment until December 18, 2015. Mr. Grist highlighted the Regional Power Plan’s key findings and the resource strategy key elements. Two main key findings include:

1.)    Least cost resource strategies rely on conservation and demand response to meet nearly all forecast growth in regional energy and capacity needs, and

2.)    NW loads after energy efficiency are forecast to remain at or below current levels until 2035.

Mr. Grist commented on the resource strategies and costs associated with these key findings. Energy conservation makes up most of the energy and capacity needs over the next 20 years. He went on to describe high-level energy conservation measure potential across commercial, residential, industrial, utility and agriculture sectors. The most efficiency gain potential lies in solid state lighting and controls, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and electronics and plug loads.

There will be a push for demand response but this only makes up a part of the energy equation. And renewable energy investment is a very small slice of the pie since not all renewables are equal in how they benefit the power system. Wind and solar are not dependable for peak capacity. Additionally, wind and solar do not impact CO2 as much as other lower cost methods.

Energy conservation is not the entire answer, some new generation sources will need to be established but the projected medium load growth forecast has been downgraded from 1.1% to 0.8%.

Mr. Grist closed by stating that since 1978 utility funded programs and codes and standards have produced nearly 5800 average megawatts (aMW) of savings with an estimated value of $3.73 billion in 2014 and lowered carbon emissions in the Pacific NW by an estimated 22.2 million MTE.  Also that energy efficiency was the region’s 2nd largest resource in 2014. Second to hydropower generation itself.

At the end of the presentation, Mr. Grist asked a very powerful question to the audience of energy professionals, “What would you like see or what do you need from us at the Power Council?” The responses to this were so good that enough that we are considering making that a format change in future forums.


The next presenter for the day was Mr. J.P. Batmale, with the Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO). Mr. Batmale provided an organizational overview, role comparison, the influence of Power Council, and discussed current commercial incentives. He discussed ETO’s role in the Power Council’s 7th Power Plan.

The ETO is an independent non-profit serving 1.5 million rate players under Portland General Electric (PGE), Pacific Power, NW Natural Gas, and Cascade Natural Gas Utilities. Since its founding, the Energy Trust has saved 492 average Megawatts (aMW) of electricty, generated 115 aMW, saved 39 million therms of natural gas. This is enough savings to power 470,000 homes and heat 77,000 homes for a year while avoiding 14.6 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Mr. Batmale discussed how the Power Councils 7th plan influences ETO’s mission, how the ETO can better impact peak demand, what new technologies should be encouraged, and how the ETO may better capture the value of energy efficiency and renewable energy resources. There are 10 Strategic Plan Goals over the next 5 years designed to achieve 24 million therms gas savings, 240 aMW electric savings and 10 aMW of savings through renewable energy implementation.

Regional Technology Forum (RTF) leverages energy efficiency measure development as much as possible. The Energy Trust is responsible for delivering cost-effect measures, “We can’t fund what is not cost effective.” Mr. Batmale went on to explain the cost-effectiveness (C/E) test that are conducted at both the measure and program level. This translates into levelized costs in units of $ per kWh – “what we think we can get cost-effectively” - an effective limit $0.053 per kWh. The 7th Plan impacts C/E calculations through increased granularity of load shaping, shifting from 48 load profiles to 864 load profiles.

For 2016, total incentives $107.9 million will be spent on total incentives, $55.5 million on External Program Delivery, and 17.80 million on Internal Program Delivery.  2016 Commercial Sector Highlights include $33 million in incentives. Incentives include expanding direct install offerings, expanding pay-for performance, including retro-commissioning, additional Strategic Energy Management (SEM) and training tools and free consultants and technical studies available based on potential savings.

Mr. Batmale closed by speaking to four (4) angles of impact the Council emphasize for the commercial sector – the rise of SEM, demand response, lighting savings, and technology adoption.


The final presentation of the day came from Aaron Leatherwood, LC, Program Manager and Lighting Spacialist of the Evergreen Consulting Group working on behalf of the Energy Trust of Oregon.

Mr. Leatherwood provided an overview of lighting program offerings for existing buildings and multi-family and associated incentives. He discussed the breakdown on how an ETO program works:

1.       Call you Trade Ally

2.       ETO will scope your project

3.       Receive your incentive offer

4.       Install your project

5.       ETO verifies your project

6.       Receive your cash incentive from ETO

Suggestion #1: Get ETO involve early – do not buy first and ask questions later.

Suggestion #2: Get help with qualified products list (QPLs) – lighting design lab, design light consortium, energy star, CEE, and UL standards (are they safe?). Watch to make sure the entire fixture is listed!

Suggestion #3:  Look at multiple light options – ‘corn cobb’ style LED lights are getting better and better.

Mr. Leatherwood received a very good question/ suggestion on building incentives into product like light bulbs versus installing projects and then having to apply for an incentive check. How many projects have not received incentive checks because they were too late?

The conversation shifted to lighting technology specifically LED and lighting controls advancements. Occupancy sensors are not only being built into the fixture but these fixtures are now WiFi-enabled, may collect behavior patterns and automatically shed load.

Mr. Leatherwood closed with ‘fun stuff in the near future’ – data and design. LiFi – data over light – is an advancing technology may soon be coupled with the ‘internet of things’ (IOT) that could spawn massive consumer data. Big data through light fixtures! Who would have thought?


Charlie Grist

JP Batmale

Aaron Leatherwood

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