Monday, March 29, 2010

Free For All! EVO’s Newest Documents Now Available to General Public

In 2009 EVO released a number of documents that were initially available to Subscribers only. Many of these are now available to the general public for free download, including:

2009 IPMVP – English & FrenchEVO released an amended edition of IPMVP Volume I in September, 2009. This 2009 edition is re-structured to add an appendix with US- and France-specific references – and to allow for the addition of other region-specific materials. The US references were moved from the 2007 main document into the appendix, while the France materials are brand new. This modification invites local customization of the IPMVP and demonstrates EVO’s interest in making it reflect local differences or special local resources. This practical example of “thinking globally and acting locally,” enhances the IPMVP’s value to the energy efficiency community worldwide. It is now available to the general public on EVO’s Web site under Products-IPMVP.

2009 IPMVP – Spanish
EVO released the Spanish translation of the 2009 amended IPMVP Volume I, with Spain-specific references included in Appendix C, in late 2009 to Subscribers only. This Spanish translation was made possible with the support of Union Fenosa - an integrated energy company which operates on gas and electricity markets. It is now available for free download to the general public on on EVO’s Web site under Products-IPMVP.

IEEFP- English  EVO also published the International Energy Efficiency Financing Protocol (IEEFP) in 2009, which provides guidelines for financiers around the world to evaluate and finance energy efficiency and savings-based renewable energy projects. While the IEEFP is now available to the general public, only Subscribers will be able to use EVO’s electronic Subscriber Repository for tools and resources to help financiers capitalize on energy efficiency opportunities (currently being developed). The IEEFP is available for free download on EVO's Web site under Products – IEEFP

Betsy Wilkins
EVO Communications

Friday, March 26, 2010

Risky Business? How-tos for Investing in Building Upgrades

The ENERGY STAR® Building Upgrade Manual, a "strategic guide to help plan and implement profitable energy saving building upgrades,” claims that businesses can maximize energy savings by sequentially following its five building upgrade stages (1) retrocommisioning; 2) lighting; 3) supplemental load reductions; 4) air distribution systems; and 5) heating and cooling systems). It also states that business “[e]nergy management begins with a senior-level commitment to continuous improvement in energy efficiency. Executive leadership demonstrates this commitment by issuing a formal energy policy for the organization and by supporting the energy objectives with adequate financial and staffing resources.” But how do executives know what adequate financing is – and how can they best secure the capital needed to implement energy saving changes to buildings?

The process recommended in the ENERGY STAR manual begins with management and planning steps. First among them is benchmarking to identify the best opportunities for energy savings. Since these upgrades will represent an investment, you’ll next need to conduct financial analysis based on the company’s cash flow to rank and select from the opportunities revealed in the benchmarking process.

Your project analysis should consider that, in addition to dollar savings, there are several other benefits from incorporating energy efficiency into your business strategy. One of those is that ENERGY STAR upgrades offer “superior returns at a lower risk than many other investments,” as illustrated in Figure 1 of the 2004 edition of the Manual (p. 3). As the EPA points out, improving energy performance is a multi-faceted investment, offering long-term, low-risk returns, reductions in energy consumption and costs, increases in worker productivity, and improved asset value.

Once you’ve determined that energy efficiency upgrades are a good investment for your business, you’ll likely want to seek financing for them. Options include grants, rebates and loans now being offered by utilities, governments and non-profit organizations, as well as more traditional sources like financial institutions and capital markets.

EVO has developed the International Energy Efficiency Financing Protocol (IEEFP) which provides guidelines for Local Financing Institutions (LFI) around the world to evaluate and finance energy efficiency and savings-based renewable projects (Energy Savings Projects). The IEEFP is a long-term "grass roots" solution to financing Energy Savings Projects. It is envisioned that the IEEFP will ultimately become the global "blue print" for educating and training LFIs around the world on the special intricacies and benefits of financing Energy Savings Projects.

The IEEFP's objective is to create a better understanding by LFIs and other global stakeholders on how Energy Savings Projects generate savings from existing operating expenses of end-use consumers, and how this equates to new cash flow and increased credit capacity for end-use consumers to repay EEP loans.

At the core of the IEEFP is the need to measure and verify energy savings created by the Energy Savings Projects to ensure sustainability of the reduced energy costs and the resulting available cash flow to repay the LFIs. The International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol (IPMVP) provides an overview of current best practice techniques available for verifying results of energy efficiency, water efficiency, and renewable energy projects in commercial and industrial facilities. It may also be used by facility operators to assess and improve facility performance.

Listen to the EVO Insights podcast interview with EVO Board member Tom Dreesen in which he discusses the background and purpose of the IEEFP – including responses to the challenges posed by: corporate capital funding methods, commercial lending practices, and subsidies for energy efficient behavior.

--Betsy Wilkins
EVO Communications

Seeking Ideas for California Self-Generation Incentive Program M&E

As part of its planning process for future program M&E, the M&E Subcommittee of the Working Group of California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) is reaching out to a broad industry audience to find out what types of studies and reporting tools others working in the DG arena are currently conducting and using – or wish they were.

The SGIP has provided capacity-based incentives to support existing, new, and emerging distributed energy resources in California since 2001, after its creation as a peak load reduction program in response to California Assembly Bill (AB) 970 (Ducheny, 2000). The program provides rebates for qualifying distributed energy systems installed on the customer's side of the utility meter. Initial qualifying technologies included photovoltaics (PV), wind turbines, fuel cells, internal combustion engines, microturbines, and gas turbines. Beginning January 1, 2008, the SGIP was limited by statute to providing incentives for wind and fuel cell technologies only. Current qualifying technologies include wind turbines, fuel cells, and corresponding energy storage systems.

On October 11, 2009, California Senate Bill (SB) 412 (Kehoe, 2009) was signed into law to take effect in January 2010. SB 412 authorizes the CPUC, in consultation with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), to determine eligible technologies for the SGIP based on the requirement that they “achieve reductions of greenhouse gas emissions pursuant to the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.”

With the shift in program goals and purposes (and related changes in eligible technologies), along with the continuing increase in interest in and growth of the DG market in California and around the globe, it was deemed appropriate to consider a potentially parallel shift in M&E activities – both for studies conducted, as well as the way their results and related information is reported and made accessible to interested parties.

Past and current SGIP M&E efforts include:
Annual Impact Evaluations: Analyses of the impacts of the SGIP in each year of operation. Areas of assessment include: Electrical energy production and demand reduction; operating and reliability performance characteristics; electrical, thermal and overall efficiencies and the contribution of SGIP technologies to electricity system efficiency and reliability; the impact of employment of renewable fuels by SGIP technologies; the extent to which SGIP technologies provide net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions; and the relationship between DG technologies and operation, and T&D system performance and operations.

Process and Retention Evaluations (including Program Administrator (PA) Comparative Assessments): Analyses of SGIP processes and the interaction between these processes and current market needs. Process evaluations and PA comparative assessments include reviews of administrative styles and processes, marketing and outreach, implications of different approaches, and external variations. Retention studies assess the long-term persistence of impacts from self-generation technologies, and find the technical degradation factor (time and use related change in efficiency) and the effective useful life (the median number of years that the technologies are still in place and operational).

Cost-Effectiveness Studies: Assessments of the cost-effectiveness of the SGIP, based on SGIP-specific projects and incentive structures. The September 2005 preliminary cost-effectiveness assessment was based on the cost-effectiveness analysis framework report using metered project performance information. In accordance with that framework, cost-effectiveness was evaluated from three perspectives: participant (project owners within the SGIP), nonparticipant (ratepayers), and society as a whole. The 2007 report on solar PV costs and incentive factors is intended to provide information on metered PV performance and reported PV system costs for PV systems implemented under the SGIP, and is meant to examine the relationships of PV performance, cost, and incentive design.

Renewable Fuel Use Reports: Assessments of the extent to which SGIP technologies employ renewable fuels. Reports include analysis of the compliance of renewable fuel use projects receiving incentives under the SGIP with renewable fuel use requirements, identification of the operational and cost characteristics of RFU projects, and evaluation of the implications of increased renewable fuel use on the SGIP.

Miscellaneous Topical Studies: Including an in-depth analysis of useful waste heat recovery and level 3/3N performance, performance degradation studies of SGIP PV and CHP projects, and studies on improving dispatch of SGIP technologies, and strategic location of DG technologies in highly congested T&D areas.

M&E Reporting tools are currently primarily written reports which are distributed electronically to the SGIP Working Group and related stakeholders, and posted on the CPUC and PA sites. Related presentations are typically given to the Working Group, PA staff, CPUC Energy Division staff, and, sometimes, at public workshops hosted by the CPUC.

To download published SGIP M&E reports, visit

The SGIP M&E Subcommittee seeks your input on:
-- M&E studies you have either been involved with or think would be of use as the SGIP moves into its next phase, as governed by CA SB 412 legislation
-- M&E reporting tools that might make it easier to share the wealth of information the program has and will continue to garner and develop.

Please share your ideas by posting a comment.

Betsy Wilkins
EVO Communications