Now more than ever, MCR has found in its current and recent work that gas utility energy efficiency products and services are a strategic opportunity, perhaps a strategic imperative, for local distribution companies (LDC). Gas energy efficiency is an impactful tool in the LDC’s load growth and retention toolbox. Also, as the influence of ESG on cost of capital, shareholder activism, and state and federal policy increases, gas energy efficiency is a big part of improving ESG scores and demonstrating a positive impact on energy and environmental justice priorities.
Utilities nationwide are launching beneficial electrification (BE) initiatives, both to respond to market and policy evolutions and to enhance the growth of their electric business. Success begins with a well-thought out strategy.
Electric vehicles (EV) used to be something utilities thought of as on the horizon, but today they are very much here. The potential for significant increases in electricity sales is obvious, but EV also bring opportunities for enhanced customer engagement and experience. However, there are also considerable challenges related to infrastructure requirements to serve new EV loads, and how to manage or optimize the loads. Retail rates for charging, leasing chargers, charging subscriptions and customer-facing incentive programs function hand-in-hand to harness the opportunities and address the challenges.
MCR is providing a three-part series on EV for utilities, starting with conceptual and strategic issues, to be followed by a tariff-oriented paper and a client case study early in 2023.
Recently, there has been federal activity at the Department of Energy (“DOE”) regarding general service lighting (“GSL”), the Energy Independence and Security Act (“EISA”) efficiency standard, and the 45 lumen per watt backstop for GSL. This activity creates for a timely opportunity for MCR to revisit standards, lighting, and “Life After Lighting” for utilities and their EE programs. In a new, short paper we share:
The challenges, demands, and scope of utility energy efficiency (EE) programming are all rapidly changing, bringing a need for real innovation. All parties designing and approving EE plans have been focused on the problem of how to make up for energy and demand savings no longer available from screw-in LED and other lighting, but there are other factors making innovation an imperative. In this piece, we take a look at how MCR combines regulatory and stakeholder expertise with cross-cutting EE services to ensure innovation continues to be successfully developed and implemented at our utility clients.
On August 19, 2020, the organization E4TheFuture, whose mission is to “promote residential clean energy and sustainable resource solutions to advance climate protection and economic fairness by influencing… policies,” released a new publication titled, “National Standard Practice Manual for Benefit-Cost Analysis of Distributed Energy Resources” (“NPSM for DER”). Under the direction of E4TheFuture, advocacy-oriented firms such as Synapse Energy Economics and Energy Futures Group, as well as the agenda-driven Smart Electric Power Alliance, authored this manual. E4TheFuture is working with regulatory commissions and other stakeholders to encourage adoption of the ideas presented in the NSPM for DER; if embraced by policy and regulatory actions, the NSPM for DER will dramatically affect how electric and gas utilities plan, make investments and create earnings.
All energy efficiency professionals know it is challenging to design a portfolio of energy efficiency programs that will withstand tough scrutiny by third-party evaluators and achieve high realization rates. But, you can achieve that goal with high cost effectiveness if you follow our guideline: Programs designed to be measured … measure well. MCR’s case study explores the methods for creating a portfolio of programs that feature evaluation at the core of the program design.
Running a portfolio of energy efficiency programs is a data intensive business. Baseline and replacement technologies, measure lives, deemed savings, budgets, program and cost effectiveness tests results: these represent a small sample of the energy efficiency business information. The users of this information are diverse and support a wide range of processes, including program management, regulatory reporting and customer relationship management.
Having accurate, timely and accessible data is critical to running an energy efficiency portfolio. However, MCR`s research suggests there is no standard set of data management strategies or software systems to manage this important business information. Instead, a wide range of incomplete solutions are being used across the industry.
Electric vehicle (EV) sales increased dramatically in 2022, with more than 750,000 new all-electric cars registered in the United States – a 55% increase over 2021 sales. Although forecasts vary widely, many analysts expect strong acceleration in EV adoption. Some analysts forecast EVs could represent 50% of total U.S. passenger car sales by 2030.
If growth rates to 2030 are even close to those projected, electric distribution systems will face massive challenges as most are not equipped to handle the increased load. One effective action utilities can take is to design tariffs to manage the charging load, fairly recover costs, and empower customers with flexible rate alternatives. To better understand these pricing solutions, we identified and analyzed several modern EV rate designs and explored how to implement them.
This white paper is Part 2 of the series, “Is Your EV Strategy Ready – Yet?
It is time for gas companies to ask themselves a critical question: Can gas energy efficiency programming be used as a strategic opportunity to grow and retain load? Customer-funded natural gas energy efficiency (EE) spending via utility EE programs has risen from approximately $300 million per year in 2006 to over $1.5 billion today. Largely as a regulatory compliance obligation. The current focus on electrification, and other market and political dynamics, create a strategic imperative for gas utilities to reexamine energy efficiency products and services.
In this Point of View piece, exclusively for gas utilities, MCR’s Ed Schmidt discusses use of energy efficiency to maintain and even grow natural gas load.