VAEEC and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Efforts

On Friday, July 20, members of the VAEEC Steering Committee participated as project team members at the 2011 State Energy Program grant award meeting in Washington D.C. to discuss ways to accelerate commercial energy efficiency retrofits.  They met with representatives from Virginia and Maryland businesses, local governments, and energy offices to discuss the obstacles and opportunities in the energy efficiency market.

Meeting attendees were briefed on the VAEEC’s efforts to revise our state’s current Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) legislation. For PACE to work effectively, legislation needs to be amended to ensure PACE liens are senior to mortgages on the property. Lien seniority allows for third party capital to participate in the process, instead of relying solely on municipalities to fund these improvements. Addressing this political hurdle would require outreach and education with stakeholder groups to overcome.

Many of the stakeholders wanted to participate in a convening the largest commercial real estate owners in the NOVA area to begin a discussion on what it would take for them to invest in energy efficiency. As part of the SEP grant award, the Chesapeake Crescent Initiative will work with team members to hold these meetings in September – one for the general commercial market and one for the MUSH market. The VAEEC is particularly interested in learning more about the potential uptake for PACE loans from commercial property owners.

Industry Spotlight: Comverge

VAEEC is pleased to spotlight the companies, organizations, utilities and municipalities it works with to advance energy efficiency in Virginia.

August 2012: Comverge
http://www.comverge.com

With more than 500 utility and 2,100 commercial customers, as well as five million residential deployments, Comverge brings unparalleled industry knowledge and experience to offer the most reliable, easy-to-use, and cost-effective intelligent energy management programs. We deliver the insight and control that enables energy providers and consumers to optimize their power usage through the industry’s only proven, comprehensive set of technology, services and information management solutions.

In what ways does your company promote or service energy efficiency in Virginia?

Comverge works with a variety of customers across the country to deploy intelligent energy management solutions that optimize the deployment and execution of demand response programs such as direct load control and dynamic pricing. In Virginia, Comverge provides services to Dominion Virginia Power by providing the technology, both hardware and software, to enable its AC cycling program. This program allows Dominion to call upon the AC cycling switches to reduce the energy load during peak demand hours.

What do you tell your customers is the value of energy efficiency?

The solutions that utilities incorporate into their energy efficiency and demand response programs are important resources.  Demand for energy is growing rapidly in areas of Virginia and it will take a portfolio of generation, efficiency and demand reduction efforts to ensure a reliable, affordable supply is available.

What innovations or trends do you hope to see in the near future? 

As technology and energy policy continue to evolve in Virginia, we will see exciting new energy management solutions. With the expansion of smart grid and advanced metering infrastructure throughout the country, we will have unprecedented information and control over the energy we use in both residential and commercial applications.  As the consumer learns more about where they are using energy, and when they are provided with the appropriate incentives, their usage habits will change to be more efficient.  Additionally, with advanced metering technology, distributed generation will become a reality and alternate energy sources such as solar and wind will be able to contribute more cost-effectively to the energy portfolio.

What do you hope to accomplish as part of the VAEEC? 

We hope to continue the great work begun by the Virginia utilities and the SCC in raising awareness across industry, consumer and political groups on the advantages of energy efficiency and demand response solutions.  We hope to combine our know-how, market reach and ideas with the stakeholders across the state to develop the compelling story of energy efficiency and promote efforts to enable the market to grow for this critical element of Virginia’s energy solution.


Industry Spotlight: Comverge

VAEEC is pleased to spotlight the companies, organizations, utilities and municipalities it works with to advance energy efficiency in Virginia.

August 2012 Industry Spotlight: Comverge
http://www.comverge.com

With more than 500 utility and 2,100 commercial customers, as well as five million residential deployments, Comverge brings unparalleled industry knowledge and experience to offer the most reliable, easy-to-use, and cost-effective intelligent energy management programs. We deliver the insight and control that enables energy providers and consumers to optimize their power usage through the industry’s only proven, comprehensive set of technology, services and information management solutions.

In what ways does your company promote or service energy efficiency in Virginia?

Comverge works with a variety of customers across the country to deploy intelligent energy management solutions that optimize the deployment and execution of demand response programs such as direct load control and dynamic pricing. In Virginia, Comverge provides services to Dominion Virginia Power by providing the technology, both hardware and software, to enable its AC cycling program. This program allows Dominion to call upon the AC cycling switches to reduce the energy load during peak demand hours.

What do you tell your customers is the value of energy efficiency?

The solutions that utilities incorporate into their energy efficiency and demand response programs are important resources.  Demand for energy is growing rapidly in areas of Virginia and it will take a portfolio of generation, efficiency and demand reduction efforts to ensure a reliable, affordable supply is available.

What innovations or trends do you hope to see in the near future? 

As technology and energy policy continue to evolve in Virginia, we will see exciting new energy management solutions. With the expansion of smart grid and advanced metering infrastructure throughout the country, we will have unprecedented information and control over the energy we use in both residential and commercial applications.  As the consumer learns more about where they are using energy, and when they are provided with the appropriate incentives, their usage habits will change to be more efficient.  Additionally, with advanced metering technology, distributed generation will become a reality and alternate energy sources such as solar and wind will be able to contribute more cost-effectively to the energy portfolio.

What do you hope to accomplish as part of the VAEEC? 

We hope to continue the great work begun by the Virginia utilities and the SCC in raising awareness across industry, consumer and political groups on the advantages of energy efficiency and demand response solutions.  We hope to combine our know-how, market reach and ideas with the stakeholders across the state to develop the compelling story of energy efficiency and promote efforts to enable the market to grow for this critical element of Virginia’s energy solution.

Award Announcement from U.S. Dept of Energy

AWARD ANNOUNCEMENT FROM U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY – Update from Al Christopher of the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME)

The DMME’s application for State Energy Program (SEP) funds has been selected in a highly competitive procurement for negotiation of an award. The successful proposal, supported by Charlottesville LEAP, Clean Energy Solutions, Inc., and BLT Sustainable Energy Inc., is to “Make Energy Conservation Self-Sustaining” in public facilities. This capitalizes on recent Virginia policy initiatives intended to make the Virginia Energy Management Program (VEMP) a replicable and self-sustaining enterprise based on a fee-for-services model. DMME also proposed to make a significant contribution to the development and demonstration of the next generation of energy performance contracts specifically tailored to public facilities; to accelerate the program and increase its scope in order to more quickly create jobs, achieve greater energy cost savings and receive more environmental benefits; and to extend the mostly state-focused program to include local government and other buildings and facilities.

The proposal supports implementation of Governor Bob McDonnell’s Executive Order 19 and Executive Directive 2, which targeted a 5% reduction in energy spending and supports converting VEMP into a permanent fee-for-service enterprise, greatly expanding access to public and private capital sources and centralizing responsibility for state energy management and investments. The CESI/LEAP/BLT Team will support VEMP in outreach to state agencies, design of new performance contracting vehicles, identification of optimum financing methods, development of new revenue sources, and provision of support services to participating agencies.

Accelerating Energy Efficiency in the Commonwealth

Cynthia Adams
Executive Director, Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP); VAEEC Steering Committee

We’ve come a long way from our first Energy Efficiency Roundtable a year ago. Energy efficiency policies, initiatives and funding have definitely picked up steam, including the following:

  • Formation of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council
  • A second and third Department of Energy competitive award to grow energy efficiency to our Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (2010 for residential programs, 2011 for commercial programs, 2012 for a state-owned building program)
  • Successful passage of the energy efficiency bill included in Governor McDonnell’s energy package
  • Launch of new residential programs in three regions of the state funded by grants from a State Energy Program award
  • State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) approval of new residential and commercial energy efficiency programs for Dominion Virginia Power
  • Old Dominion Electric Cooperative and Rappahannock Electric Cooperative working together to launch a residential energy efficiency pilot with the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP)

That’s just a sampling of what’s happened here in Virginia. These efforts have been complemented by other developments on a national scale, including the Green Button initiative to make sharing utility data easier and the national launch of the Home Energy Score, an energy assessment and MPG-like rating for homes.

Even as we celebrate the impressive pace and scope of energy efficiency activity, we have much more to do to achieve the state’s voluntary goal of a 10% efficiency gain from the 2006 baseline by 2022. To overcome hurdles that remain, it is all the more important that we help our communities and the legislators who represent them understand the lower cost per kilowatt hour energy efficiency can deliver compared to other resource options. We must be vigilant as we champion the “pros” of energy efficiency – like the local jobs it supports and the potential for reinvesting dollars that might be spent on energy bills back into local households and businesses.

And key questions linger as to how to weave together energy efficiency initiatives implemented here in Virginia. How can we best coordinate to make more cost effective our efforts? How can we leverage marketing, contractor approvals, certifications and trainings? How can we best help business or residential customers stay informed of their options for rebates or tax credits – local, utility, national? How can building owners capture the value of those improvements should they decide to sell their property at a future date? Who will independently verify the right improvements were made to the level of quality that the projected efficiency gains become actual?

Most business owners will agree that a strategic plan is a critical part of successfully running a commercial enterprise. Such a plan for synergizing efforts of stakeholders and partners makes sense. This begs the question, “What is our strategic plan for energy efficiency in Virginia?” The VAEEC must both ask and help answer this question. We stakeholders in Virginia’s energy efficiency future must expand the internal dialogue on coordinating our efforts and make recommendations to our state and local governments, the State Corporation Commission, and other interested parties on what could be done to support consistent messaging and growth of energy efficiency programs, particularly in the residential sector. This is one important reason why the VAEEC is needed – to develop a consensus voice on energy efficiency industry issues – and I look forward to conversation on this subject with my colleagues during our fall VAEEC meeting.

Accelerating Energy Efficiency in the Commonwealth

Accelerating Energy Efficiency in the Commonwealth

Cynthia Adams
Executive Director, Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP); VAEEC Steering Committee

We’ve come a long way from our first Energy Efficiency Roundtable a year ago. Energy efficiency policies, initiatives and funding have definitely picked up steam, including the following:

  • Formation of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council
  • A second and third Department of Energy competitive award to grow energy efficiency to our Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (2010 for residential programs, 2011 for commercial programs, 2012 for a state-owned building program)
  • Successful passage of the energy efficiency bill included in Governor McDonnell’s energy package
  • Launch of new residential programs in three regions of the state funded by grants from a State Energy Program award
  • State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) approval of new residential and commercial energy efficiency programs for Dominion Virginia Power
  • Old Dominion Electric Cooperative and Rappahannock Electric Cooperative working together to launch a residential energy efficiency pilot with the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP)

That’s just a sampling of what’s happened here in Virginia. These efforts have been complemented by other developments on a national scale, including the Green Button initiative to make sharing utility data easier and the national launch of the Home Energy Score, an energy assessment and MPG-like rating for homes.

Even as we celebrate the impressive pace and scope of energy efficiency activity, we have much more to do to achieve the state’s voluntary goal of a 10% efficiency gain from the 2006 baseline by 2022. To overcome hurdles that remain, it is all the more important that we help our communities and the legislators who represent them understand the lower cost per kilowatt hour energy efficiency can deliver compared to other resource options. We must be vigilant as we champion the “pros” of energy efficiency – like the local jobs it supports and the potential for reinvesting dollars that might be spent on energy bills back into local households and businesses.

And key questions linger as to how to weave together energy efficiency initiatives implemented here in Virginia. How can we best coordinate to make more cost effective our efforts? How can we leverage marketing, contractor approvals, certifications and trainings? How can we best help business or residential customers stay informed of their options for rebates or tax credits – local, utility, national? How can building owners capture the value of those improvements should they decide to sell their property at a future date? Who will independently verify the right improvements were made to the level of quality that the projected efficiency gains become actual?

Most business owners will agree that a strategic plan is a critical part of successfully running a commercial enterprise. Such a plan for synergizing efforts of stakeholders and partners makes sense. This begs the question, “What is our strategic plan for energy efficiency in Virginia?” The VAEEC must both ask and help answer this question. We stakeholders in Virginia’s energy efficiency future must expand the internal dialogue on coordinating our efforts and make recommendations to our state and local governments, the State Corporation Commission, and other interested parties on what could be done to support consistent messaging and growth of energy efficiency programs, particularly in the residential sector. This is one important reason why the VAEEC is needed – to develop a consensus voice on energy efficiency industry issues – and I look forward to conversation on this subject with my colleagues during our fall VAEEC meeting.

Report: Major New U.S. Energy Find Could Offset Nearly a Quarter of Nation's Power Use

(June 2012) America now has a major new source of energy that could rial the contribution made to the economy by natural gas, coal and nuclear power, according to a report released by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), which concludes that up to about a quarter (22 percent) of current US energy consumption could be replaced by what experts are calling “intelligent efficiency.”

Read the story. 

Policy Update from 2012 Legislative Session

2012 General Assembly

The General Assembly convened on January 11, 2012 for a 60-day long session.  It adjourned Sine Die on March 11th, but went immediately into Special Session to further discuss the budget.  The General Assembly will reconvene on April 18th for “Veto Session.”  Below are highlights from the Session.

 

 Bills that passed:

  • Energy Efficiency Programs (SB 493 Watkinsand HB 894 L. Ware) – Mandates that the State Corporation Commission (SCC) shall not use only one cost-benefit test when conducting approvals of demand-side management programs for both  electric and gas utilities.  All four tests (RIM, TRC, Utility and Participant) shall be evaluated.  This bill affects those applications filed after March 8th
  • Natural Gas Infrastructure Expansion for Economic Development (HB 559 D. Marshall and SB 511 Wagner) – Allows natural gas utilities to expand infrastructure as necessary to provide natural gas to economic development projects where it is not already available and when a project developer commits to at least a five-year contract for natural gas use.  
  • Improved Regulatory Approval Process for Electric Transmission (HB 587 Merricks and SB 418 Stanley) – Authorizes a utility to seek approval for a 138kv transmission line from either the State Corporation Commission or the locality or localities in which the transmission line will be located. These transmission lines are frequently used for economic development projects.  
  • Enable Research and Development for Renewable Energy (HB 1102 J. Miller and SB 413 Norment)- Encourages investment in renewable energy research and development by providing renewable energy certificates to utilities for investment in research projects to advance renewable energy technologies. The proposal will allow a utility to meet no more than 20 percent of its annual voluntary renewable energy goal with investments in such research and development projects. The awarded certificates will be based on the amount of the investment divided by the average price of a Tier 1 and Tier 2 renewable energy certificate in PJM, the regional transmission organization of which Virginia’s electric utilities are members, for the previous year.
  • High Performance Buildings Act (HB 1167 Jones, SB 160 Petersen) –  Requires executive branch agencies and institutions entering the design phase for the construction of a new building greater than 5,000 gross square feet in size, or renovating such a building where the cost of renovation exceeds 50 percent of the value of the building, to conform to Virginia Energy Conservation and Environmental Standards developed by the Department of General Services considering the U.S. Green Building Council (LEED) green building rating and other appropriate requirements.

 

Failed to pass:

  • Federal residential energy efficiency standards (HB 27 R. Marshall) Exempts any residential building from the application of federal legislation relating to residential energy efficiency standards if such building complies with the Statewide Uniform Building Code. Except to the extent required by the Statewide Uniform Building Code, the owner of such a building shall not be required by the federal government to (i) have an energy efficiency analysis conducted on his residence, (ii) have his residence meet federal energy efficiency standards, (iii) participate in a building performance labeling program, (iv) make modifications to the residence in accordance with federal legislation, or (v) post a label showing the energy efficiency of his home prior to its sale. Failed to pass Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.
  • Renewable energy portfolio standard (HB 69 Englin) – Requires each investor-owned electric utility and distribution cooperative to participate in a renewable energy portfolio standard program commencing with calendar year 2013. Under the program, each utility is required to generate renewable energy or to purchase renewable energy certificates, or both, in amounts that start in 2013 at three percent of the total electric energy sold in the base year of 2007 and that increase to 20 percent of such amount in 2020 and thereafter. Failed to pass House Commerce and Labor Committee. 
  • Energy conservation and efficiency goal (HB 70 Englin) –  Establishes a statewide goal of reducing the consumption of electric energy within the Commonwealth, through energy conservation and efficiency actions taken by government, electric utilities, and retail customers, by 2025 to a level that is 19 percent less than the quantity of electricity that would reasonably be projected to be consumed in the Commonwealth in 2025 in the absence of such actions.  Failed to pass House Commerce and Labor Committee.
  • Electric utilities; retail competition; purchases from net metering sellers (HB 129 Kilgore) –  Authorizes individual retail customers who are eligible customer-generators under Virginia’s net energy metering program to purchase electricity provided 100 percent from renewable energy exclusively for their own consumption from a net metering seller.  Failed to pass Senate Commerce and Labor.
  • Electric utilities; integrated resource plans (SB 381 McEachin) – Provides that an electric utility’s integrated resource plan should identify a portfolio of electric generation supply resources that is most likely to provide the electric generation supply needed to meet forecasted demand, net of any reductions from demand side programs, so that over the long term the utility will continue to provide reliable service at reasonable prices that take into consideration public health impacts. Failed to pass Senate Commerce and Labor. 

Update from 2012 General Assembly

2012 General Assembly

The General Assembly convened on January 11, 2012 for a 60-day long session.  It adjourned Sine Die on March 11th, but went immediately into Special Session to further discuss the budget.  The General Assembly will reconvene on April 18th for “Veto Session.”  Below are highlights from the Session.

 

 Bills that passed:

  • Energy Efficiency Programs (SB 493 Watkinsand HB 894 L. Ware) – Mandates that the State Corporation Commission (SCC) shall not use only one cost-benefit test when conducting approvals of demand-side management programs for both  electric and gas utilities.  All four tests (RIM, TRC, Utility and Participant) shall be evaluated.  This bill affects those applications filed after March 8th
  • Natural Gas Infrastructure Expansion for Economic Development (HB 559 D. Marshall and SB 511 Wagner) – Allows natural gas utilities to expand infrastructure as necessary to provide natural gas to economic development projects where it is not already available and when a project developer commits to at least a five-year contract for natural gas use.  
  • Improved Regulatory Approval Process for Electric Transmission (HB 587 Merricks and SB 418 Stanley) – Authorizes a utility to seek approval for a 138kv transmission line from either the State Corporation Commission or the locality or localities in which the transmission line will be located. These transmission lines are frequently used for economic development projects.  
  • Enable Research and Development for Renewable Energy (HB 1102 J. Miller and SB 413 Norment)- Encourages investment in renewable energy research and development by providing renewable energy certificates to utilities for investment in research projects to advance renewable energy technologies. The proposal will allow a utility to meet no more than 20 percent of its annual voluntary renewable energy goal with investments in such research and development projects. The awarded certificates will be based on the amount of the investment divided by the average price of a Tier 1 and Tier 2 renewable energy certificate in PJM, the regional transmission organization of which Virginia’s electric utilities are members, for the previous year.
  • High Performance Buildings Act (HB 1167 Jones, SB 160 Petersen) –  Requires executive branch agencies and institutions entering the design phase for the construction of a new building greater than 5,000 gross square feet in size, or renovating such a building where the cost of renovation exceeds 50 percent of the value of the building, to conform to Virginia Energy Conservation and Environmental Standards developed by the Department of General Services considering the U.S. Green Building Council (LEED) green building rating and other appropriate requirements.

 

Failed to pass:

  • Federal residential energy efficiency standards (HB 27 R. Marshall) –  Exempts any residential building from the application of federal legislation relating to residential energy efficiency standards if such building complies with the Statewide Uniform Building Code. Except to the extent required by the Statewide Uniform Building Code, the owner of such a building shall not be required by the federal government to (i) have an energy efficiency analysis conducted on his residence, (ii) have his residence meet federal energy efficiency standards, (iii) participate in a building performance labeling program, (iv) make modifications to the residence in accordance with federal legislation, or (v) post a label showing the energy efficiency of his home prior to its sale. Failed to pass Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.
  • Renewable energy portfolio standard (HB 69 Englin) – Requires each investor-owned electric utility and distribution cooperative to participate in a renewable energy portfolio standard program commencing with calendar year 2013. Under the program, each utility is required to generate renewable energy or to purchase renewable energy certificates, or both, in amounts that start in 2013 at three percent of the total electric energy sold in the base year of 2007 and that increase to 20 percent of such amount in 2020 and thereafter. Failed to pass House Commerce and Labor Committee. 
  • Energy conservation and efficiency goal (HB 70 Englin) –  Establishes a statewide goal of reducing the consumption of electric energy within the Commonwealth, through energy conservation and efficiency actions taken by government, electric utilities, and retail customers, by 2025 to a level that is 19 percent less than the quantity of electricity that would reasonably be projected to be consumed in the Commonwealth in 2025 in the absence of such actions.  Failed to pass House Commerce and Labor Committee.
  • Electric utilities; retail competition; purchases from net metering sellers (HB 129 Kilgore) –  Authorizes individual retail customers who are eligible customer-generators under Virginia’s net energy metering program to purchase electricity provided 100 percent from renewable energy exclusively for their own consumption from a net metering seller.  Failed to pass Senate Commerce and Labor.
  • Electric utilities; integrated resource plans (SB 381 McEachin) – Provides that an electric utility’s integrated resource plan should identify a portfolio of electric generation supply resources that is most likely to provide the electric generation supply needed to meet forecasted demand, net of any reductions from demand side programs, so that over the long term the utility will continue to provide reliable service at reasonable prices that take into consideration public health impacts. Failed to pass Senate Commerce and Labor. 
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