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Energy Management Confabs: Energy Storage in New York, Energy Efficiency in the Southeast

Energy Manage Agrion logoIn August 2013, AGRION, a business network for energy and cleantech professionals, launched its Energy Storage Initiative, a working group to streamline and promote energy storage. The task force is creating a website to outline the technologies, processes and opportunities in the New York metro-area storage market and guide facility managers, service providers and others in the energy storage chain with updated information on incentives, financing and business case modeling. On November 19 in New York City, AGRION will hold a meeting to give an update on the progress of the task force. Speakers will include group leaders from NYSERDA, Chadbourne & Parke, NY Battery & Energy Storage Technology Consortium, Safari Energy, and Viridity Energy.

For three years, the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) has been working to implement community-based energy efficiency retrofit programs across a 16-city consortium in the Southeast with 10,000 audits and 6,000 home retrofits completed as a result of this effort. SEEA released its findings from this work at the Energy Pro3 Conference last week in Atlanta. Some of the findings include:

  • There is no “one size fits all approach” to developing an effective, self-sustaining energy efficiency retrofit program. Management structure, timelines and incentive pools must align with local market scope, resources, needs and opportunities.
  • To attract consumer interest, energy efficiency financing products must be streamlined, visible and competitive. Still, no matter how attractive the product, it is unlikely to succeed without an active, engaged lending partner.
  • In the Southeast, partnering with trusted, third-party groups with deep roots in the community is often one of the most effective ways of reaching customers. Across the Consortium, program information delivered through existing channels, including community groups, met with more success than traditional advertising and promotional approaches.
  • In many parts of the region, there is a pronounced lack of credentialed, well-trained individuals to carry out high quality building retrofit work. This is a significant barrier to program delivery, but it also presents an opportunity to align programmatic activities with technical and community colleges, as well as related community development initiatives, including workforce reentry and veteran training programs.
  • By and large, the regional energy policy environment does not currently support scaled energy efficiency programming because there are few mechanisms in place to incentivize utility investment. Until it makes business sense for utilities to broadly invest in energy efficiency as a least-cost resource, the full potential and opportunity of energy efficiency within the Southeast will not be realized. Nearly all Consortium members met with challenges stemming from this fundamental policy misalignment, but the most successful ones were able to bring local utilities to the table by maintaining a constant dialogue and focusing on win-win partnership opportunities.

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