A policy perspective on savings measurement software, new data analytics that will lead to greater transparency and better stewardship of utility ratepayer funds.
By: Jake Oster, Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs
The measurement of energy efficiency has two distinct constituencies. The first includes program administrators, utilities and energy efficiency providers tasked with delivering energy savings. The other audience is made up of regulators responsible for overseeing the prudent use of ratepayer dollars to reduce demand side energy consumption. This paper is intended for that second audience, regulators who are accustomed to receiving reports on the evaluation of energy efficiency programs.
Despite the success of energy efficiency and demand-side management more broadly, the measurement of energy efficiency remains an after-the-fact exercise that provides data to both audiences after projects and programs are completed.
But change is on the horizon.
Technology is leading a transformation in the way energy savings are measured. The arrival of powerful data analytics, cloud computing, parallel processing and cutting edge software is capable of generating insights faster, cheaper and more effectively than ever before. These advances have produced an innovative new approach: savings measurement software.
Savings measurement software enhances the measurement of energy efficiency with three important changes to the average status quo.
- Census measurement: rather than looking at a sampling of projects, savings measurement software is capable of analyzing every piece of available data from every project.
- Metered measurement: instead of relying on pre-set standardized values (aka: deemed savings) savings measurement software calculates results based on the meter.
- Continuous measurement: near real-time measurement quantifies results throughout the program year.
For both audiences this means faster insights, greater detail and granular results, opportunities to improve program performance, automated and streamlined measurement, as well as the increased confidence in rolling out new energy efficiency pilots. Savings measurement software also offers powerful analytics to support formal energy efficiency evaluation and provide data to update regional or state technical resource manuals.
And as utilities and regulators jointly embark on restructuring how energy is generated, valued, delivered and used, savings measurement software enables energy efficiency to serve as a resource to address grid constraints, further engage customers and experiment with new models for financing energy efficiency projects.
Savings measurement is an essential tool for the future DSM industry. Regardless which audience you fall into – regulators or utilities – this white paper explains the fundamental changes underway for energy efficiency measurement, the role of “2.0” approaches to measurement and how those changes are impacting the industry and will impact the regulators that oversee DSM. Both regulators and energy efficiency providers can both agree that a faster, more detailed analysis of energy savings is an important innovation for the energy efficiency industry and the changing nature of the energy industry.