3/16 Public Sector Sub-Committee Meeting Recap, Highlights, Resources

News

Yesterday’s meeting of the Energy Efficiency Coordinating Committee’s Public Sector Sub-Committee reviewed the analysis of the Program Administrators that will feed the five-year business plans of energy efficiency program offerings and strategies due from Administrators to the CPUC September 1st. Presentations of public sector needs and potential, challenges and opportunities were made by SDG&E, SCE, Southern California Regional Energy Network (SoCalREN), and PG&E. Some highlights of interest to local governments:

General Meeting Information:

  • The Coordinating Committee led an introduction with the meeting’s goals: to show what data Program Administrators are using to influence their business plan development, and give the Subcommittee (which is open to the public to participate in at any point) and any other stakeholder an opportunity to provide feedback. The Coordinating Committee reminded attendees that the business plans that Program Administrators develop should be focused on following the goals of Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, AB 758, SB 350, and AB 802.
  • Feedback can be provided in the meeting, to the Coordinating Committee, or to the Public Sector Subcommittee Co-Chairs, Courtney Kalashian of SJVCEO and Michael Nguyen of SoCalREN. (It’s recommended that public sector-specific feedback be directed to the Subcommittee Co-Chairs.) Feedback should be provided as soon as possible following the 3/16 meeting, so that Program Administrators may address it and incorporate as needed for their mid-April presentations.
  • Questions arose regarding the CPUC’s Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan and its potential further updates. It was clarified that the Program Administrators will move forward on their business plans based on the existing 2011 Plan.

The Program Administrator Presentations:

For reference, PA presentations are available on the new EE Coordinating Committee website.

  • Program Administrators presented on analysis from across their “public sector” infrastructure portfolios – which, along with local governments, includes federal government/military, state government facilities, K-12 schools, higher education, hospitals/healthcare facilities, and water/wastewater districts infrastructure. Distinctions between these categories varied slightly across Program Administrators. Program Administrators cited the low levels of analysis to-date on the public sector (e.g., through saturation/potential studies and market analysis) compared to other sectors.
  • Across the presentations data showed that local government represent a large slice of public sector utility accounts, but are usually on average consuming significantly less energy per account.
  • All presentations mentioned the very high use and importance of on-bill financing as a tool for projects in local governments, and the public sector at large. Presentations also referenced that on-bill financing has limitations – including caps per meter, and limitations on the public sector accounting side (if the financing must be listed as debt, debt limits may apply).
  • Program Administrators mentioned the challenges of public sector entities being more sensitive to lead times and changes in schedule or project timelines, lengthy and expensive procurement processes, numerous stakeholders, and competing priorities and state-level requirements of local governments. Challenges were also mentioned of working in the new and relatively unknown Zero Net Energy space to ensure all are aware of energy efficiency’s role as the most cost-effective foundation.
  • Program Administrators also mentioned the challenge of energy data needs – especially for the whole building approach championed under AB 802 – and identified barriers including privacy issues and master metering.
  • Program Administrators mentioned key areas where the public sector is carrying out projects and finding savings – including lighting upgrades, HVAC retrofits, water heating, pool covers, and food service.
  • Program Administrators mentioned opportunities, including finding ways to ensure energy efficiency savings is made available for reinvestment in further energy efficiency projects, exploring how to improve on-bill financing options, increasing program timeline flexibility, and staying engaged past the completion of a discrete project – often through utility local government partnerships (LGPs).
  • SoCal Gas specifically highlighted a new direct install program in development that will offer the public sector new direct install services that have been to-date inaccessible.

Discussion Highlights:

  • The challenge of bringing sufficient programming to rural, hard-to-reach communities was discussed by Program Administrators and local government stakeholders alike – with focus on how the importance of cost-effectiveness impacts programming, given the additional costs often found of bringing programming, contractors, etc. to rural areas.
  • It was requested that Program Administrators provide a deeper level of data granularity for the next round of meetings, to better understand – for example – how many local governments have climate action plans in place, how many schools have been retrofitted or benefitted from programs.
  • Questions were raised regarding what programming is considered “resource” vs “non-resource” (“Resource” programs representing programs delivering savings that represents avoided procurement needs of utilities. The “resource” and “non-resource” categories of programs are reviewed differently.)
  • Questions were raised regarding the boundaries of what energy efficiency funds can fund – for example, staff capacity for energy code compliance.
  • Questions were also raised regarding measurement of energy savings, given master metering and other energy data challenges, in programs such as monitoring-based commissioning (MBCx). Resources were mentioned, including an upcoming CEC workshop to plan for AB 802 program implementation, and a CPUC technical assistance white paper expected later this month (see CPUC rolling portfolio schedule here).

The Public Sector Subcommittee will reconvene in mid-April.

Interested in participating, or submitting comments on any of the above details? Click here for information on how to get involved (see the bottom of the post).

Looking for other information on the EE Coordinating Committee? Search “coordinating committee” in the search box to the upper right. You can also visit the EE Coordinating Committee’s new website, www.caeecc.org, for utility and other Program Administrator presentations and other Committee documents.

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