NY Gov’s Reforming Energy Vision

The goal of the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Reforming Energy Vision is to have the Public Service Commission (PSC) “improve system efficiency, empower customer choice, and encourage greater penetration of clean generation and energy efficiency technologies and practices”.

REV is a response to current issues such as:

  • Consumers spend hundreds of millions annually to maintain the full capabilities of a system that is needed only on the very hottest days of the summer.
  • The need for utilities to actively manage and coordinate a wide range of distributed resources, or generate electricity from many small energy sources
  • Lack of existing market enabling customers to optimize their energy priorities, provide system benefits, and be compensated for providing such system benefit


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Roundtable Recap: Money vs. Power | Urban Green Blog

Cecil Scheib, in his recent blog, highlights a growing concern that “simply comparing total energy use per square foot between different buildings omits important context”.

At a recent “Money Vs. Power” roundtable,Steven Baumgartner (Buro Happold) wondered, “wouldn’t thinking about what the building is used for be a good part of the discussion?”  More specifically, what would it mean to “compare building energy usage to the tenant’s contribution to the economy”. Building Economic Energy Coefficient, or BEEC, a new metric developed by Baumgartner based on comparing overall building economic impact (consisting of tenants weighted impact)  to its total energy use per square foot. A building with higher BEEC indicates tenants that have a larger contribution to the economy than another building with the same energy use per square foot but with tenants whose business types provide fewer economic benefits.

Baumgartner says that “BEEC hasn’t been put on the table to drive policy. It’s been put on the table to spark discussion.”

Cecil raises two limitations of the BEEC:

  1. Not actual financial data thus “BEEC number is a general indicator, not a precise measure”
  2. Tenant activity, moving in/out, behavior etc can impact the BEEC

What are your thoughts?

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Natural gas suppliers unable to meet peak winter loads in NE

“For two days in late January, New England generated nearly one quarter of its electricity using oil, according to the Independent System Operator for New England (ISO-NE).  The icing on the cake is that New England residents had to pay oil-fired power plants a subsidy of about $75 million to ensure those plants bought enough fuel oil to keep the lights on this winter.”– Pentland of Forbes

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Peak-to-average electricity demand ratio rising

According to US EIA, “the highest peak-hour electric demand for the year in 1993 was 52% above the hourly average level while in 2012 peak-hour demand had risen to 78% above the hourly average level.”

So what does this mean and what are the implications? Well US EIA says:

  • “generators called on to meet peak-hour demand are running fewer hours and/or at lower output levels the rest of the year”
  • “likely cutting into generator revenues and increasing the importance of capacity market payments to generators”

US EIA demonstrates to the reader the changes in hourly demand between 1993 and 2012 using a load duration curve.  Some possible reasons for the change that are discussed in the article are:

  • Lifting peak demand levels in the summer relative to average levels for the year
  • Energy efficient electrical equipment and appliances that reduce average electric demand
  • Shifts to a more service-based economy


Check out the Load Duration Curve and Video.

Your Window Air Conditioner May Finally Become Part of the Connected Home : Greentech Media

“In the past two years, ConEd had equipped window ACs with ThinkEco’s modlet smart plug and a SmartAC thermostat kit, which essentially turns the room AC unit into something that can be controlled via the internet or smartphone.”

Wouldn’t it be great to beable to turn on your a/c just before you leave the office so that you could arrive to your apartment and it is already cooled down?  Even better, what if you could get paid for turning off your A/C during peak times.  Note that there is ample notification before you have to turn off your unit so you can plan a trip to the grocery store, movie theater or local community pool and stay cool while you get paid.


The Deregulated Electricity Market

The electricity market appears to have little regulation, low penalties and possibly higher rates for the consumer.

“Retail electric companies aren’t really power companies. Instead, they’re middlemen who buy power in the wholesale market, largely from the same power plants once owned and operated by the monopoly utilities that were broken apart in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Retail firms then sell the electricity to consumers, delivering it via the transmission lines still owned by traditional utilities….A traditional utility like Con Ed can’t raise electric rates without justifying the need to regulators and the public. Retail companies have no such requirement, meaning they can jack up prices at will. These companies have aggressively employed telemarketing, door-to-door visits, TV ads, and pamphlets, luring customers into restrictive contracts promising savings that did not materialize. “–