Industry Spotlight: Rappahannock Electric Cooperative

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

September 2012 Industry Spotlight: Rappahannock Electric Cooperative

http://www.myrec.coop

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) delivers electricity to over 155,000 connections throughout portions of 22 counties in Virginia. As an industry leader, REC brings innovative technology, programs and services to its members, allowing them to easily incorporate and adopt energy efficiency initiatives into their daily routines.

 

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

As a not-for-profit electric utility, REC focuses on providing its members with solutions they can rely on to improve their quality of life and the comfort of their home. REC works directly with its members through education programs (like the Together We Save campaign) and initiatives (such as its new Home Performance with ENERGY STAR pilot program) that focus on energy efficiency. As an industry leader, REC has been offering members the opportunity to participate in demand response programs since 1978, when it launched its water heater load management program. As a provider of both water heater and air conditioning load management programs, REC members are able to voluntarily contribute to Co-op wide load reduction.

How do you describe the value of energy efficiency to your customers and members?

REC recognizes that energy efficiency is the key to managing energy usage and lowering energy bills, and serves as a primary supplement to new generation resources. Through consistent and comprehensive programs, services and communications about little changes adding up to big energy savings, REC is making its members, and the communities it serves, contributors to efforts to ensure electricity remains reliable and affordable.

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

Awareness and availability of information are crucial elements for REC’s members as the Cooperative strives to empower them to take advantage of energy efficiency services and energy management. With evolving tools and resources, REC expects to offer advanced technology, enabling members to better understand how they are using electricity, when they are using electricity and how to make adjustments to meet their desired expense goals. These efforts will allow members to make lasting changes to their lifestyles, and to make effective decisions about how they are using devices and equipment within their homes and about where their dollars go. As energy policies are formed at the local, state and national levels, members will likely begin to see increased opportunities to utilize renewable energy within their power grid.

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

REC wants to position itself as an industry leader in energy efficiency and to help guide statewide initiatives already in place or ones that will be developed in the future. The Cooperative is looking out for the best interests of its members, while working with other organizations and companies to develop consistent statewide messages, programs and services that benefit all consumers in Virginia. With a 75-year history, REC’s experience, knowledgeable team of employees, and nationwide network of electric cooperatives, REC aims to assist the state in becoming a model for energy efficiency.

Industry Spotlight: Rappahannock Electric Cooperative

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

September 2012: Rappahannock Electric Cooperative

http://www.myrec.coop

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) delivers electricity to over 155,000 connections throughout portions of 22 counties in Virginia. As an industry leader, REC brings innovative technology, programs and services to its members, allowing them to easily incorporate and adopt energy efficiency initiatives into their daily routines.

 

 

 

 

 

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

As a not-for-profit electric utility, REC focuses on providing its members with solutions they can rely on to improve their quality of life and the comfort of their home. REC works directly with its members through education programs (like the Together We Save campaign) and initiatives (such as its new Home Performance with ENERGY STAR pilot program) that focus on energy efficiency. As an industry leader, REC has been offering members the opportunity to participate in demand response programs since 1978, when it launched its water heater load management program. As a provider of both water heater and air conditioning load management programs, REC members are able to voluntarily contribute to Co-op wide load reduction.

How do you describe the value of energy efficiency to your customers and members?

REC recognizes that energy efficiency is the key to managing energy usage and lowering energy bills, and serves as a primary supplement to new generation resources. Through consistent and comprehensive programs, services and communications about little changes adding up to big energy savings, REC is making its members, and the communities it serves, contributors to efforts to ensure electricity remains reliable and affordable.

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

Awareness and availability of information are crucial elements for REC’s members as the Cooperative strives to empower them to take advantage of energy efficiency services and energy management. With evolving tools and resources, REC expects to offer advanced technology, enabling members to better understand how they are using electricity, when they are using electricity and how to make adjustments to meet their desired expense goals. These efforts will allow members to make lasting changes to their lifestyles, and to make effective decisions about how they are using devices and equipment within their homes and about where their dollars go. As energy policies are formed at the local, state and national levels, members will likely begin to see increased opportunities to utilize renewable energy within their power grid.

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

REC wants to position itself as an industry leader in energy efficiency and to help guide statewide initiatives already in place or ones that will be developed in the future. The Cooperative is looking out for the best interests of its members, while working with other organizations and companies to develop consistent statewide messages, programs and services that benefit all consumers in Virginia. With a 75-year history, REC’s experience, knowledgeable team of employees, and nationwide network of electric cooperatives, REC aims to assist the state in becoming a model for energy efficiency.

Save the Date for VAEEC Meeting 10/2

Hello,
Please save the date.  Your organization is invited to join other energy efficiency stakeholders at the October meeting for the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council on Tuesday October 2 from 10:30-1:00pm. We are finalizing the location but will send a reminder email with an agenda and address in the coming weeks.
The Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) is a newly formed organization whose mission is to promote policies, programs, and technologies that expand investment in energy efficiency – our cleanest and most affordable domestic energy resource – to create sustainable jobs, support long-term economic growth, and help deliver stable, reliable, and reasonably priced energy to residents and businesses in the Commonwealth. Our members include major contracting companies, investor and co-op owned utilities, vendors, energy efficiency program implementers, and interested stakeholders.
As with past meetings, we will have informative speakers and serve lunch. The meeting agenda will include updates from the Steering Committee on regional developments in our industry and a discussion of upcoming energy efficiency policy as it pertains to Virginia’s 2013 General Assembly session. We will also be voting on Bylaws and our Board of Directors, so this meeting is your opportunity to participate through nominations and voting.
To RSVP or find out more information about VAEEC, please email info@vaeec.org.
Kind regards,
VAEEC Membership Committee

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.

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.

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