New Efficiency Smart Options Focused on Demand Reduction4 min read
Efficiency Smart® understands that the energy needs of communities evolve over time. As such, it continuously reviews and improves its energy efficiency services to fit the needs of AMP member utilities and their electric customers.
Recently, more and more AMP member utilities have expressed a desire for services that can help control increasing transmission costs. For Efficiency Smart, this requires a shift in focus from its traditional megawatt hour (MWh) savings program to one that also includes options for reducing peak demand.
Based on this feedback, Efficiency Smart has designed two new demand reduction options that are aimed at helping members control these costs: Demand Focused Comprehensive and Demand Response with Smart Thermostats.
Demand Focused Comprehensive
To date, Efficiency Smart’s services have focused on promoting energy efficiency upgrades that maximize MWh savings. Now, Efficiency Smart has modified its comprehensive program options to offer both energy and demand savings goals.
Communities that subscribe to Efficiency Smart at the High-Performance level will now have the option to select from either the Energy Focus Program or Demand Focus Program. Both options provide an annual 0.4 percent load reduction and an annual 0.4 percent summer peak reduction. Those communities that choose the Energy Focus will receive an additional 0.1 percent of load reduction (this is the traditional Efficiency Smart offering). Those that choose the Demand Focus will receive an additional 0.2 percent summer peak reduction. In other words, communities selecting the Demand Focus Program will receive a 50 percent greater demand reduction target, while the Energy Focus Program generates 25 percent more MWh savings.
To achieve these demand savings, Efficiency Smart will emphasize working with businesses whose electric usage coincides with summer peak hours (late afternoons on weekdays).
Increased incentives will be offered for technology improvements that result in greater demand reduction.
The result for subscribing communities will be long-term — sustained kilowatt (kW) peak reduction that occur year-over-year. These cumulative savings provide additional economic benefits for every year of participation.
Whether communities select the Demand Focus Program or the Energy Focus Program, the consultative and hands-on approach will remain the same. Residents and businesses will still receive technical advice and guidance to reduce costs and save electricity. Communities will continue to enjoy the customer engagement advantages of Efficiency Smart, which serves as an extension of their local utilities. Both options also offer communities the economic development benefits of Efficiency Smart, such as using the services as a selling point to attract new businesses.
Both High-Performance options will:
- Guarantee energy savings and demand reduction goals
- Be a great value — returning more than $2.00 for every dollar invested
- Cost $1.40 per MWh of annual electric sales, the same as the High-Performance Comprehensive Program currently costs
For those who want more aggressive savings goals, Efficiency Smart will also offer an option to combine the Demand Focus and Energy Focus programs for $1.65 per MWh of annual electric sales. The combined option will provide 0.5 percent annual load reduction and 0.6 percent summer peak reduction.
Demand Response with Smart Thermostats
Another new service that is being finalized for AMP members is a residential demand response program that cycles air conditioners to reduce peak demand. Residents with central air conditioning who own an eligible smart thermostat will be offered an incentive to join the program. Several different smart thermostat manufacturers will be eligible to be used in this program.
Participants will allow their local utility to control their thermostats through WiFi during specific hours when a utility calls a peak event. To maximize comfort for residents, homes will be pre-cooled prior to peak events. During the peak event hours, the thermostat will be set to a higher temperature, and once the peak event is over, thermostats will be returned to their normal setting. Residents can manually override changes to their air conditioning either partially or completely during an event. This reduction in air conditioning load will result in energy and cost savings for the participating community, which can help keep rates low.
The program includes customer support, rebate processing and marketing efforts to promote this service to residents. Communities that participate will have the ability to monitor and assess performance of the program.
Participating communities will be charged on a per thermostat basis and the program is expected to result in a benefit-to-cost ratio of greater than 2 to 1.
Efficiency Smart welcomes the opportunity to discuss the specific needs of individual communities and to help identify services that work best for them.
To learn more about Efficiency Smart, visit www.efficiencysmart.org or www.amppartners.org/sustainability/programs/efficiency-smart.
Article submitted by Sean Clement, VEIC Efficiency Smart director of operations. For more information about these services, and to learn more about the requirements for each, contact Sean at [email protected] or Erin Miller, AMP assistant vice president of energy policy and sustainability, at [email protected].