Utilities’ Role in Energy Efficiency Technology Adoption

Commercial energy efficiency measures generally gain wide-spread adoption through utilities — either with their use of the technology or with their approval.

But how do utilities filter through all of the products and options available to decide on what energy efficiency measures to support? What do utility managers want to see when they’re considering new technologies?

In our experience at Legend Power, utilities look for technology that is proven to save energy and that won’t cause problems on the power grid (harmonics, poor power factor etc.). They also look at the cost effectiveness of the technology when making their decisions.

The following items help show a product is proven and won’t cause problems to the grid:

  • UL approval. This may be costly but well worth the investment.
  • Case studies & pilot projects with third party verification of energy savings.
  • Well researched whitepapers.
  • Patience. Many utilities often move slow and businesses like to move fast. It is possible to push a utility to move quickly, but a delicate approach is needed.

The key is that the technology must be able to be implemented by the customer. In terms of demand-side management (DSM) the utility may provide incentive funds that can be used to encourage or speed up adoption of DSM technology. It is important that the customer is able to implement the technology — if they can’t, then it doesn’t qualify as DSM.

The other key point is Measurement & Verification. Many utilities have to answer to a government body and have conservation targets to achieve, so the ability to verify the savings achieved is very valuable.

What are your experiences with utilities? Are they similar to ours or do they differ?

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/seattlemunicipalarchives/ / CC BY 2.0