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Funding Support from the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance


1) PacifiCorp Seeks 100 aMW of DSM Resources
2) Montana's Public-Purposes Funding Extended through 2005
3) Avista Takes First Look at Wind as Potential Future Energy Resource
4) New Oregon High School Uses Daylighting, Natural Ventilation as Key Energy-Saving Strategies
5) Energy Trust Reports Describe Examples of Successful Efficiency, Renewables Programs
6) Northwest States Receive D’s in National ‘Report Card’ on Renewables Commitments
7) News Bytes: Awards, Green Power, Renewables, Keeping Score, Green Building and More


Big, Open Solicitation

PacifiCorp Seeks 100 aMW
of DSM Resources

PacifiCorp is seeking 100 average megawatts of demand-side management to help meet its resource needs over the next decade.

In one of the region's largest and broadest energy-saving solicitations, the Portland-based investor-owned utility plans to issue a request for proposals June 30 for at least 100 aMW of cost-effective DSM over 10 years. PacifiCorp is not specifying prospective programs, measures or customer sectors.

"We're looking for resources, just like you would with a [power] plant," said Mike Koszalka, DSM director in the utility's resource planning group.

This RFP stems from PacifiCorp's 2003 integrated resource plan, which finds the six-state utility will need 4,000 MW of additional capacity by 2014, primarily from supply-side resources. Up to 450 aMW is anticipated from demand-side measures; Koszalka said PacifiCorp expects to acquire 150 aMW from its own programs and about 123 aMW from the Energy Trust of Oregon, with the rest to originate elsewhere. The utility may issue more than one solicitation to reach its DSM target.

"This first RFP we're expecting contractors and companies that run programs in other service areas to propose that program for our service area," Koszalka said.

Although open to a wide range of DSM plans, PacifiCorp will vet them for cost-effectiveness, energy savings, resource characteristics, measurability and other criteria. DSM providers also must demonstrate their experience and financial means.

The utility wants to begin running selected ventures by the first half of 2004.

Resource Needs

PacifiCorp's IRP predicts the utility will need about 4,000 MW of additional energy between by 2014, to serve anticipated load growth of about 2 percent annually in its dispersed service territory. The plan calls for a diverse mix of new resources: 2,100 MW of baseload generation, 1,400 MW of renewables, 1,200 MW of peaking power, 700 MW of shaped resources to fill specified needs, and as much as 450 aMW of DSM.

This upcoming RFP is intended to capture up to 100 aMW or more of the DSM portfolio. PacifiCorp also will solicit supply-side resources, Koszalka said.

The 100 aMW goal nearly equals the 120 aMW of conservation acquired by PacifiCorp in its Northwest service areas from 1978 through 2002, according to figures compiled by the Northwest Power Planning Council.

Seeking DSM

On the demand side, this represents PacifiCorp's biggest RFP and the most free-ranging, Koszalka said. The message to potential bidders: "We need resources and we want you to bring us the programs you've run in other areas and we'll see if they're cost-effective."

There will be some limititations, however. Koszalka said the utility won't accept traditional conservation initiatives from Oregon, where the Energy Trust runs programs in PacifiCorp service territory with public-purposes funding under the state's electric industry restructuring. But bidders can offer dispatchable load-controlling measures in the Beaver State.

PacifiCorp also isn't in the market for DSM pricing incentive or customer education programs, which it continues to provide on its own, but which "are not something you can rely on long-term as a resource," said Koszalka.

"We're focused more on hardware-type measures that you can measure and monitor not only the amount of DSM you get now, but persistence over time," he said. "Those are big issues." PacifiCorp will require a six-year minimum for measure lives.

Although many RFP requirements are still under development, a preliminary notice states: "The value to PacifiCorp of the resources proposed by the DSM provider will depend on the (1) peak MW demand reduction, (2) aggregate MWh [megawatt-hour] reduction, and the (3) hourly annual shape of the load reduction and (4) location. Indicate values of these components may be found" in PacifiCorp's IRP.

PacifiCorp's far-flung system generally experiences summer peaks in the Rocky Mountain states of Utah, Wyoming and Idaho, and winter peaks in Washington, Oregon and California, Koszalka said.

The preliminary notice also outlines criteria for DSM providers: "1. Experience delivering turn-key DSM programs employing proven technologies. 2. References proving their delivery capability. 3. Possess a strong financial position and creditworthiness. 4. Enjoy a proven focus on customer service." PacifiCorp plans to distribute a request for qualifications by the end of May, before the RFP goes out at the end of June (for more information, e-mail dsm.rfp@pacificorp.com).

PacifiCorp will need state regulatory approval for chosen programs, Koszalka said. PacifiCorp expects to begin ventures in the first or second quarters of next year.--Mark Ohrenschall

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More Time

Montana's Public-Purposes Funding
Extended through 2005

Montana's public-purposes funding will continue at least through 2005, under state legislation recently signed by Gov. Judy Martz.

Two separate bills ensure the near-term future of Montana's Universal System Benefits Charge (USBC), an element of the state's electric industry restructuring that earmarks 2.4 percent of utility retail revenues to support energy-saving, renewable energy and low-income programs. The USBC generates about $13 million a year statewide, including $8.2 million collected in 2002 by the state's biggest utility, NorthWestern Energy.

The wide margin of legislative passage of Senate Bill 77 and House Bill 509--both of which extended the USBC through 2005--indicates support for Montana's public-purposes funding, said legislative research analyst Mary Vandenbosch. At the same time, she told Con.WEB, "There's always concerns about rates and ratepayers."

The Montana State Legislature this session also considered, but rejected in committee, a renewable energy standard for NorthWestern, proposed at a minimum 7 percent of the investor-owned utility's power supply for retail sales.

HB 509 also requires NorthWestern to offer a retail green power program.

In addition, Treasure State lawmakers approved demand reduction programs for NorthWestern, renewables/conservation tax changes, and resolutions to evaluate energy efficiency policies and practices, support extension of the federal wind energy production tax credit and encourage Montana's move to a hydrogen-based economy.

Montana Public-Purposes Funding Continues

Montana's public-purposes funding began in January 1999, allocating 2.4 percent of 1995 utility revenues for conservation, renewables and low-income energy initiatives. It also allowed large customers to spend their public-purposes dollars on their own qualifying activities, and cooperative utilities to pool their credits to meet USBC funding requirements.

The USBC was scheduled to expire July 1, but lawmakers generally supported its continuation, Vandenbosch said.

Two proposed House bills would have extended the USBC through 2009, and another would have eliminated a termination date altogether, but all three failed to pass.

Montana's Electric Utility Restructuring Transition Advisory Committee recommended a 2-1/2-year USBC extension, through Dec. 31, 2005, which eventually became law in SB 77, sponsored by Sen. Royal Johnson, a Republican. It passed the Senate 46-4 and the House 88-12. Martz signed the bill April 11.

In addition to extending public-purposes funding, SB 77 retained the basic USBC provisions. "There was an effort afoot to reallocate among the categories of USB funding, specifically probably away from some of the conservation and renewables and towards more direct low-income bill assistance," said energy policy director Patrick Judge of the Montana Environmental Information Center. The legislation requires at least 17 percent of USBC funding for low-income energy and weatherization assistance, but sets no other specific spending requirements.

NorthWestern's USBC mix is based on the utility's program experiences, regional market transformation activities, input from a USBC advisory committee, Public Service Commission direction, and various USBC rules and laws, according to a utility summary.

Judge said his organization supports additional low-income funding through the USB in conjunction with additional total revenues.

The USBC extension achieved what MEIC called "its most important proactive energy goal this session."

For NorthWestern, the additional 2-1/2 years "gives us the certainty of keeping the programs, rather than ending on July 1," NorthWestern's Deb Young told Con.WEB.

In 2002 the IOU collected $8.2 million in USB funds. That brings the utility's total USB collections since 1999 to more than $32 million, according to the NorthWestern summary.

"Prior to implementation of USB funding in 1999, these electric customers had historically supported energy conservation and low income assistance in rates," the utility summary said. "Since the USB Charge went into effect in January 1999, the funding support for low income has increased, new renewable energy activities have been initiated, and modified activities for energy conservation and market transformation have been sustained."

Of the $8.2 million gathered from electric customers in 2002 (the utility also has a natural gas USBC), $1.43 million went for local conservation efforts, including home energy audits and surveys, commercial audits and funding for new and retrofit efficiencies in commercial, institutional, industrial, agricultural and multifamily residential facilities. Another $950,714 was allocated for market transformation, through commercial lighting rebates and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.

Large customers self-directed $2.3 million in 2002, while low-income bill assistance and weatherization totaled $1.9 million. Renewables added up to $952,586 and irrigated agriculture conservation came to $494,246.

A typical NorthWestern residential customer pays $1 monthly for the USBC, according to the utility summary.

Renewable Energy Standard, Retail Green Power

The Montana Legislature also considered a renewable energy standard for NorthWestern, defined in proposed SB 365 as "a minimum of 7% of the utility's electricity supply for retail electricity sales from qualifying renewable energy resources or qualifying renewable energy credits," beginning in July 2007.

But the bill garnered only two yes votes on the 10-member Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, Judge said, despite support from environmentalists, farmers, labor, churches and the secretary of state. The 7-percent standard translates to about 150 MW--the same amount of capacity sought by NorthWestern in its initial wind power solicitation. "It was more of a, 'Hold NorthWestern's feet to the fire to follow through with its original wind proposal,'" he said. (Results from the utility's second wind solicitation were pending as of late May.)

Another bill passed by the Legislature and signed by Martz, HB 509, also endorsed the USBC extension through 2005. In addition, HB 509 includes a requirement for NorthWestern, as a default power supplier under restructuring, to give customers "the option of purchasing a product composed of or supporting power from certified environmentally preferred resources that include but are not limited to wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass," subject to PSC approval. This takes effect July 1. The bill also allows NorthWestern to implement demand reduction programs, under PSC-established terms. And the bill explicitly lists demand-side management and energy efficiency as electricity supply costs eligible for cost-recovery by NorthWestern in its role as default supplier.

Other Legislative Action

In other action, the Legislature and Martz endorsed revisions to tax laws on renewables and conservation, in SB 138. This takes away a property tax exemption for renewables larger than 1 MW, but they "still would be eligible for the property tax reduction for new or expanded industries," according to a legislative fiscal note. SB 138 also states that residential income tax credits for energy-saving investments cannot be carried forward, as previously allowed for up to seven years.

Among resolutions adopted by legislators, SJ 13 calls for an evaluation of the state's energy-efficient building policies and practices, and examination of options for improving efficiency. The state's energy codes have not been updated since 1995, the resolution said. This study, however, is contingent on a legislative funding prioritization process, Vandenbosch said.

Montana legislators also endorsed resolutions supporting an extension of the federal wind energy production tax credit and advocating "the state of Montana supporting all necessary steps to move Montana into a hydrogen-based economy."--Mark Ohrenschall

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Integrated Resource Planning

Avista Takes First Look at Wind as
Potential Future Energy Resource

For the first time since Avista Utilities started integrated resource planning in 1989, the Spokane-based investor-owned utility has included wind power as a future energy resource.

Avista's 2003 integrated resource plan, filed in late April with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission and the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, indicates the utility has enough generation to meet customer demand until at least 2007.

When it comes time to add more resources, Avista will consider up to 25 average megawatts of wind energy, 197 aMW of coal-fired power and 189 aMW of natural gas-fired combustion turbines, both combined-cycle and single-cycle. Conservation and demand-side management are also part of Avista's resource mix, now and in the future, targeted at about 5 aMW annually.

Evaluating Resources

Avista Utilities has sufficient generation to meet retail loads through 2007, even under low water conditions, and has no immediate need for additional long-term resources. Future generation shortfalls will be covered with a combination of combustion turbines, wind energy and coal-fired generation, the utility said in its 2003 IRP.

Avista also said it views the plan as a "resource evaluation process rather than a specific resource acquisition plan, as significant deficiencies are many years ahead of today."

Avista develops an updated IRP every two years, using a 20-year planning horizon. The 2003 plan predicts no significant energy deficits, on an annual average basis, until 2008, and no significant capacity deficits until 2010. The utility looks to have surplus capacity through 2009.

In 2010, however, winter peak loads are predicted to exceed peak resource capability by more than 100 MW. Those deficits are anticipated to grow as peaking needs increase with load growth, which is predicted at an annual average of 3.2 percent. Also, Avista's existing resource base is set to decline with the expiration of market purchases and reductions in power received under contracts for power from the mid-Columbia hydropower projects.

Resource Strategy

During the first 10 years of the plan--through 2013--Avista expects to acquire about 411 aMW of resources, primarily from combined-cycle and single-cycle combustion turbines, wind energy and coal.

Under the utility's preferred resource strategy, Avista would acquire a total of 149 aMW of electricity from combined-cycle combustion turbines, 40 aMW from single-cycle plants, 25 aMW from wind and 197 aMW from coal. After 2013, Avista would rely only on coal for additional resources, because of a "change in relationship between natural gas and coal prices," the IRP said. Natural gas prices are predicted to increase more quickly than coal, making coal generation less costly in later years, the plan said. Avista expects to acquire an additional 566 aMW of new coal generation between 2014 and 2023.

Coal is attractive because technology advances are leading to improved heat rates and more efficiency, and because fuel costs are predicted to remain modest, said Clint Kalich, Avista Utilities' manager of power supply analysis. Combined-cycle combustion turbines are the cheapest to build, Kalich said, but are riskier because of uncertainties over fuel costs. "Putting more coal in didn't affect the cost, but reduced risk," he said. That includes environmental mitigation costs associated with coal, he added.

Just as significant, however, "for the first time wind energy has popped into the bubble," Kalich said. Avista intends to start acquiring wind generation in 2008.

Energy conservation and demand-side management remain an important part of the resource picture as well. Avista intends to maintain its current commitment of acquiring about 5 aMW through conservation and DSM each year, Kalich said. An Avista news release said utility efficiency efforts should save about 90 aMW over the 20-year planning period covered in the IRP.

Action Planning

Under the IRP's 2003 action plan, Avista will evaluate the resource potential and cost-effectiveness of conservation voltage reduction on its system, with plans to develop a pilot CVR program with the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. The utility will also focus on low-cost and no-cost DSM measures; traditional energy efficiency measures that are commercially available, reliable and predictable in terms of energy savings; and lost opportunity measures.

Because Avista does not need to acquire resources right now, no final decisions have been made, either on the exact makeup of the resource mix or on any specific projects. The IRP's 2003 action plan calls for continued assessment of the cost-effectiveness of new resource additions, including evaluating the potential of adding coal facilities to the company's mix of resources, and continuing to evaluate the effects and costs of integrating wind generation into Avista's system.

The company said its preferred resource strategy significantly reduces risk, with a modest impact on expected costs. The average variation from net power supply expenses is expected to drop from about 18 percent in 2004 to 8 percent in 2011, the IRP forecast.

At the same time, the IRP said the preferred strategy will require "significant additional investments over time," about $725 million in new capital in the next 10 years and a total of $2.4 billion over the next 20 years--nearly twice the figure for current utility-owned generating plants supplying power to customers.

Avista developed its 2003 IRP over the past 18 months, with the help of a technical advisory committee comprised of consumer groups, conservation advocates, regulators and outside technical groups. Both the WUTC and the IPUC will take public comments on the IRP over the next several months.--Jude Noland

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Green by Design

New Oregon High School Uses Daylighting,
Natural Ventilation as Key Energy-Saving Strategies

A new Oregon high school took exceptional advantage of natural conditions to help provide lighting and a comfortable indoor environment--and it came with a conventional price tag.

Clackamas High School opened in April 2002 with daylighting and natural ventilation/cooling strategies, assisted by sensors, computer controls and mechanical technologies. It consumes roughly 40 percent less energy than required under Oregon's non-residential energy code. The 1,850-student school southeast of Portland is in line for a silver rating under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards from the U.S. Green Building Council, which would make it the first LEED-silver school in the Northwest.

The Clackamas green school took years to reach fruition. It survived three failed bond issues in the mid-1990s and a dormant design process, then a slower-than-expected construction period that led to the firing of the original contractor. It also encountered some initial operating glitches.

Clackamas High School from the outside.
(Photo by Mark Ohrenschall)

But North Clackamas School District now owns a new secondary school that is highly resource-efficient, functional and decentralized. It is designed to serve generations of students, faculty, staff and community members, at significantly lower-than-usual energy operating costs.

Principal Dean Winder thinks the natural ventilation and daylighting will help student learning, and the energy savings will eventually benefit the district financially. "This building ranks right up there as one of the best designed and most efficient I've ever seen," he told Con.WEB.

Clackamas High also demonstrates an integrated design approach, along with the unusual idea of potential financial incentives for designers based on energy-efficient performance.

And, in a state beset by school funding woes, North Clackamas paid no premium to go green. "The building actually didn't cost any more than a normal building; it actually cost less," said Dave Church, director of the district's physical plant department. "Whether that was a fluke in the economy or whatever, we got a very, very nice building at probably the least cost per square foot of any high school in the Portland area done in that time period." It cost $32.5 million, less than $123 per square foot.


The notion of a super-energy-efficient high school for North Clackamas dates to the mid-1990s, involving organizations including the Rocky Mountain Institute, BOORA Architects, Portland General Electric's Earth Smart resource efficiency program, Eley Associates and the school district. They conceptualized an energy-conserving facility created through an integrated design approach with energy performance-based financial incentives for designers. Daylighting and natural ventilation were considered promising strategies. (See Con.WEB, Oct. 24, 1996 for more on the school's initial design plans).

Daylight streams into the Clackamas High School entry
on a cloudy afternoon in early March.
(Photo by Mark Ohrenschall)

"We always were desirous of having a fairly large building broken down into smaller instructional houses--schools within schools--to try to reduce the scale of such a large building," said Church. "The concept of the energy savings and the green building came kind of at the middle of the process. We were told, originally, 'It's a good idea. We can save you some money.' Our concern, of course, from the get-go was, 'Yes, but how much is it going to cost us?'"

North Clackamas eventually agreed to boost the design fees ($80,000, or about 4 percent of the design budget) to account for efficiency strategizing, "in hopes that we could design a greener building that would be more energy-efficient and pay for itself over the years," said Church.

However, North Clackamas voters turned down three proposed bond issues in the mid-1990s, which postponed construction of the planned new high school. On the district's fourth try, in November 1998, voters approved a $94 million bond issue to pay for more than 100 projects, including the new high school, said district official Joe Krumm.

The project's delay gave designers a chance to integrate recent advances in T-5 lighting technology and better information on natural ventilation convection, according to BOORA's Heinz Rudolf, the principal architect for Clackamas High. It also enabled the use of newer lighting controls.

Rudolf described some of the designers' general principles for the new facility: functionalism, simplicity, use of readily available materials, collaborative work among the different professions and "strict adherence" to a budget of $125 per square foot.

In the end, "I think we have a beautiful building, very clear in organization, very compact, that relies on natural resources," he told Con.WEB.

Rudolf believes in linking natural forces to the built environment. "In my opinion, it's the only way to come close to some really wonderful design--use nature as your ally," he said.

Clackamas High Features

The biggest natural allies in Clackamas High are light from the sky and natural airflow. Both are guided to optimal effect by sensors and computer controls, and augmented by energy-efficient lighting and downsized mechanical systems. A tight building envelope with highly efficient windows and insulation contributes to the package.

"It's low-tech and high-tech together," said Church.

So, too, the daylighting and natural ventilation features mesh. "The primary energy strategy is daylighting integrated into the building orientation and form. The result of the orientation and use of high tech glazing--different on each exposure--is less dependence on mechanical systems for cooling and ventilation. The ‘soft' energy demand of the building permits cooling and ventilation via natural convection for a majority of the school, for a majority of the time," CBG Consulting Engineers, the project's mechanical contractor, explained on its Web site.

Clackamas High's green design took advantage of an undeveloped 41.6-acre site, which allowed flexibility in building orientation as well as room for parking and sports fields. The 265,355-square-foot, two-story school includes classrooms, media center and teacher work spaces on the north side, athletic facilities on the southeast, art areas on the southwest, and admininistrative offices, commons and courtyards in the middle. From above, the design resembles a squat robot with big feet.


The building's configuration is receptive to daylighting, in the long east-west axis of the classroom/media center wing on the north, and the central area with its large window walls. "We spent a lot of time orienting it and modeled a lot of windows for sun angle, to avoid glare," said Church. He added that the interior light "doesn't seem to be bothersome. That's the best sign. You don't see a lot of glare when there's blinding sun and you don't wish you had more windows on a dull day."

Shallow V-shaped ceilings help daylight spread farther into
spaces at Clackamas High School. (Photo by Mark Ohrenschall)

Indeed, the light was quite suitable in the late afternoon of a cloudy day in early March. And it compares very favorably with Clackamas' former 1950s-era high school, with its low ceilings, narrow hallways and some interior rooms with no windows. "You felt like a mole," recalled Winder.

Daylighting also is enhanced through exterior and interior light shelves (except in north-facing rooms), ceilings inverted into a shallow "V" shape to better reflect light farther inside, manually controlled blinds, occupancy sensors and automatic dimming. Energy-efficient T-5 fluorescent lamps provide much of the electric lighting, along with compact fluorescents in many high-bay fixtures in the lobby and commons area, metal-halide lighting in the gyms and outside, and high pressure sodium exterior lighting.

The Synergy lighting control system is sophisticated and comprehensive, designed to monitor interior light and provide electric lighting only as needed. It's considered one of the most extensive such systems in North America, according to Interface Engineering, which did the project's electrical design, lighting and commissioning. And it stretches the balance between complexity and operability, Interface's Jerry Yudelson told Con.WEB.

Clackamas did bump into some initial difficulties with this system. In early March, Church estimated control problems affected about 5 percent of the thousands of light fixtures in the school. Those troubles involved programming, hard-wiring, relays and sensors, he said later, and they had been almost entirely solved by mid-April.

All this diffuse daylighting reduces electric lighting use by about 57 percent below code requirements, Yudelson said. One significant consequence is less demand for cooling, which in turn improves the conditions for natural ventilation--which Yudelson described as a key approach to achieve energy savings of 40 percent or more below code requirements.


The basic goal is "minimized mechanical ventilation to the greatest degree possible," Church said.

Clackamas High relies substantially on natural convection to move air through classrooms, common areas and gymnasiums. When temperatures are within appropriate ranges--about 50 degrees to 70 degrees outside--louvered windows open and allow fresh air to flow inside and then flow up into openings at higher elevations on the far side of the space, explained Doug Brown of CBG Consulting. Church described this as a "convection current." Classrooms have both manual and automatically controlled dampers, Brown said, while motorized dampers control airflow in the common areas and gyms. Temperature sensors throughout, and carbon-dioxide sensors in classrooms and the auditorium, gauge ventilation needs.

"If the outside air temperatures are favorable, and they are a lot here in Oregon, then we shut down mechanical ventilation and the fans that serve those spaces turn off," said Brown.

This is a relatively unusual application in recent years, he said, though common before the advent of air conditioning.

The natural ventilation generally performs well, Winder said. "I haven't heard a whole lot of complaints from our staff or students that the airflow is too hot or cold. I think for the most part the building is working as it was designed to work."

Dave Church, physical plant director for North Clackamas School
District, stands inside the mechanical room at Clackamas High
School. The school’s mechanical system is considerably smaller
than for a comparably sized conventional facility, because
of the daylighting and natural ventilation features.
(Photo by Mark Ohrenschall)

Clackamas High's mechanical system is much smaller than for a comparably sized conventional school. It has a 200-ton chiller, roughly half as much capacity as needed to simultaneously cool an entire facility of this size, according to Brown. But the system can still cover such occasional packed-house events as indoor sports and graduation. "We can take the cooling and put it to the piece of building that they want to. It's completely user-definable," with exceptional flexibility, Brown said. The system also is designed to accommodate additional chiller capacity.

Four gas-fired boilers and a gas-fired hot water heater, all high efficiency, serve the school's heating requirements, Church said.

Installing a smaller mechanical system saved the district about 10 percent on overall construction costs, according to Church. Using the same piping system for hot and cold water contributes to savings, Brown said.

"We got the benefits of the energy systems without having to pay a premium in the cost," said Church. The new school uses about the same amount of energy as the facility it replaced--which was half as large and "not a hog."

Electric savings were designed at about 40 percent below Oregon's non-residential energy code, which Church expects will cut annual total energy bills by about $60,000. Although a year's worth of data was not yet available, "I can say that anecdotally I feel like we're going to be significantly better than our other two high schools and we're going to be approaching the anticipated savings, but we can't prove it yet," Church said.

North Clackamas will equally split with the design team the first two years worth of energy bill savings beyond code levels. "We said, 'No, let's not give a penalty. Let's just share in the savings ... an incentive for them to do a good job,'" said Church.

No Renewables

For all its energy-saving features, Clackamas High lacks renewably produced energy. Solar, wind and geothermal were initially examined, Rudolf said, but "none of these systems could compare with the passive systems of daylighting and natural ventilation through natural convection." PGE has funded a 4-kilowatt solar electric installation at the school for instructional purposes.

The high school also incorporates a number of other green building features, including recycled rubber flooring, plastic toilet partitions, acoustical tiles and upholstery fabric; low-toxicity paints, adhesives, sealants, laminates and paneling; native plant landscaping; preserved natural wetlands and the use of local tile, brick and concrete.

Asked in hindsight what he might have done differently with the new school, Winder said, "Nothing major," although more parking spaces would have helped. The bike racks "are not used as much as you'd want them to be used," he said. But at the same time, the saved wetlands were not paved. Clackamas High is also now more centrally located in the community, and draws more neighbors to school events, he said. "Culturally and otherwise, this facility has really ended up to be just a very pleasant building."

Clackamas High students seem grateful for their new school, according to Brown. Other new facilities tend to be damaged by kids, but not here. "Because they built a beautiful building that is more adult, because the kids were part of this and brought along as part of this team, they appreciated it and they didn't have this horrendous scarring of the new building," he said. "It surprises me, and very pleasantly so." --Mark Ohrenschall

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Best Practices

Energy Trust Reports Describe Examples of
Successful Efficiency, Renewables Programs

One of the first jobs the Energy Trust of Oregon undertook after opening in March 2002 was to find out how other states and nations have promoted energy efficiency and renewable resources development.

An ensuing "best practices" report for energy efficiency described 35 residential, commercial, and industrial programs and 10 administrative practices, including three from the Northwest--the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Tacoma Power and Benton County PUD. Examples from beyond the region included programs run by Northeast Utilities, National Grid, Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Xcel Energy. It was written by Jane Peters of Research Into Action, with assistance from Feldman Management Consulting, Nexus Market Research and Quantec.

"The efficiency report is an access tool," said Fred Gordon, the Energy Trust's planning and evaluation director. The report will guide the Trust in designing programs and then adjusting them to serve specific markets. "We won't plant these programs in Oregon whole cloth. We'll use pieces of them," Gordon said. In February, Oregon's primary public-purposes funding administrator began offering incentive programs for existing commercial buildings, including incentives for high-efficiency lighting and motors (see Con.WEB, March 27, 2003). The Energy Trust is adding programs for new and remodeled commercial buildings and industrial facilities.

Energy Trust residential initiatives include help with Oregon's energy efficiency tax credits, assistance in securing low-interest financing, equipment rebates and up to 10 free compact fluorescent lamps. New home ventures are scheduled to roll out in September.

A renewables report on innovative practices, meanwhile, outlined case studies including NorthWestern Energy's targeted program for solar photovoltaic and small wind projects. It also highlighted the renewables sector's diversity, complexity and relatively limited program experience.

Track Records

Many of the efficiency programs described in the report have a long track record, but have been adjusted to fit changing circumstances and are still works in progress, the report said. "These programs show the effect of years to revise and improve the programs, as well as the influence of changes in regulatory requirements or corporate direction."

Ironically, in the three states with public-purposes funding similar to Oregon's--Wisconsin, Vermont, and New York--programs have the shortest histories, the efficiency report said.

The same was largely true for renewables, said Peter West, the Energy Trust's renewable energy director.

"We're charged with creating a consistent approach to acquiring renewables. There aren't that many. There is not a lot of baseline activity because people, understandably, just jumped forward to get something going," West said. "The energy efficiency market is about a decade ahead of the renewables community in getting a handle on costs and identifying effective program delivery mechanisms."

Residential Efficiency Program Examples

Commercial and Industrial Efficiency Program Examples

Organizational Practices Examples

Renewables Report

The renewables report was organized differently than the efficiency document because renewables programs are younger and more experimental. It looked at 16 program case studies and five administrative case studies, and also reviewed pitfalls.

A summary of conclusions: No single program panacea is apparent. The renewables market is diverse and complex, with many technologies in the hunt for market share. Program experience is limited. "This experience suggests that multiple program designs, careful use of professional judgment, and a willingness to experiment" will result in program success, the report said.

Program examples cited in the report include:

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Low Grades

Northwest States Receive D's in National
'Report Card' on Renewables Commitments

The four Northwest states receive low grades in their commitment to renewable energy, according to a new national "report card" from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington all earned D's in "Plugging In Renewable Energy: Grading The States," released by UCS in mid-May. These rankings are based on projected installations resulting from statewide renewable energy standards and renewables funds, along with existing renewable resources.

None of the four Northwest states has enacted a renewable energy standard for power supplies, while Oregon and Montana include renewables in their public-purposes funding. All four states could easily and feasibly meet power loads entirely with non-hydro renewables, according to UCS. Montana is especially endowed with potential energy from wind, sun and biomass, which UCS calls the three most promising sources. Non-hydro renewables accounted for 2.5 percent to 3 percent of 2001 electricity sales in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, and 0.5 percent in Montana, according to the study.

Jeff King, who tracks renewables as a senior resource analyst for the Northwest Power Planning Council, said the grades for regional states don't necessarily account for the full range of their renewables activities. "It seems a little strange to give Oregon a D," he said. "Oregon's one of the few states" developing renewables, with four operating wind projects--including a substantial minority share of the 300-megawatt-capacity Stateline Wind Energy Center--and others planned. Oregon and Montana are implementing public-purposes funding "reasonably aggressively" for renewables, he added. Meanwhile, Washington hosts most of Stateline's turbines, the 48-MW-capacity Nine Canyon Wind Project is expanding and Puget Sound Energy's integrated resource plan indicates an interest in wind energy from the state's largest utility.

UCS co-author Jeff Deyette acknowledged some Northwesterners "have been mildly to very upset about the grades that they got ... We did, to be fair, look at a pretty narrow set of policies to support renewable energy development." Washington and Oregon are "actually doing quite well" in retail green power, for example, although he added it's hard to quantify renewables development from that source. He also noted the existence of Stateline and much more additional proposed wind capacity. "The argument can be made that a lot of good things are going on in that part of the country," he said.

Northwest states occupy a vast middle range of renewables-committed states, in the view of UCS. Two states earned A-minuses (California and Nevada) and three others received B's (New Mexico, Massachussets and Minnesota). Thirteen states rated F's, 21 got D's and 11 came in with C's.

"The poor performance of most states speaks to the need for a renewable electricity standard implemented at the national level," concluded UCS co-authors Deyette, Steve Clemmer and Deborah Donovan. A 20-percent national share of renewables in the power supply by 2020 would save consumers $4.5 billion (present value), generate substantial economic benefits and help lessen air pollution, they wrote.

Northwest States

Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington all suffer in the UCS rankings from lack of statewide standards for renewables. Bills to institute such requirements were introduced in the Washington and Montana legislatures this year, but both failed in committees (see Con.WEB, March 27, 2003, for a story on the Washington legislation, and see related story in this issue regarding Montana).

Even though Oregon and Montana both support renewables with public-purposes dollars, UCS projects these will create only modest new renewables capacity by 2017: 36 MW in Oregon and 4 MW in Montana.

Washington, Oregon and Idaho rank 13th, 15th and 16th, respectively, in renewable generation as a percentage of 2001 total sales. Montana comes in 34th. Renewables in this study encompass solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and landfill-gas sources, but not hydro.

All four Northwest states possess abundant renewables potential relative to their total power sales, according to UCS. Montana ranks third among all states, behind only North Dakota and South Dakota, with the possibility of renewably generating more than 100 times its 2001 total electric sales, almost entirely with wind. Idaho comes in 12th, with potential approaching seven times 2001 sales. Oregon finishes 16th, with potential of generating about 3.5 times 2001 sales, and Washington is 24th, with potential about 1.6 times as much as 2001 electric sales. The UCS authors derived technical renewables potential from U.S. Department of Energy and national laboratory studies, with some updates and assumptions for different renewables, such as limits on developable wind sites.

Wind, biomass, geothermal and landfill gas energy technically could supply 5.6 times as much power as the nation uses today, according to UCS.


Under the UCS grading criteria the D grades assessed to each Northwest state indicate none of them have a commitment to new renewable energy exceeding 1 percent of total retail electric sales by 2017, or they have current renewable generation between 1 percent and 5 percent of total supplies.

California and Nevada top the rankings with A-minus grades. Both have standards and funding (covering at least two-thirds of statewide electric sales) projected to expand renewables share of the power supply by 1 percent annually over at least 10 years.

The Golden State has a renewables electricity standard of 20 percent by 2017 for its investor-owned utilities, with 1 percent annual increases required. This alone should support more than 11,000 MW of renewables capacity, slightly more than half the total renewables market expected to result from state standards by 2017, according to UCS. Texas comes in second, with a projected 2,880 MW.

California's $2 billion pot also accounts for nearly half of all state renewable electricity funding expected between 1998 and 2017 from the 15 states with such sources, while its current renewables supply as a percentage of total 2001 power sales ranks third among states, at 10.3 percent. Maine heads this category with 28.4 percent, according to UCS.

Interestingly, California ranks 26th among states for overall renewables potential as a percentage of 2001 sales.

The UCS report briefly discusses other state policies and regulations influencing renewables, including retail green power programs, net metering, financial incentives, government green power purchases and voluntary statewide goals. "While these policies and voluntary measures will assist renewable energy development, they do not represent firm commitments and are therefore not considered in our grading," wrote the UCS co-authors.

National Standards

UCS sees great inconsistency in state commitments to renewable energy. About two-thirds of states received D's and F's, and just five states are forecast to supply more than 80 percent of renewables installations over the next 14 years.

The non-profit organization believes this indicates a need for a federal renewables standard, which has been considered, but not yet approved, in congressional energy legislation. "A national standard would address the fact that the majority of states have yet to make any specific commitments to renewable energy either through funds or standards," said the study. "It would also provide an opportunity to create a more level playing field among states that have already enacted standards, by enforcing a minimum standard that states could still choose to exceed." --Mark Ohrenschall

More Information:

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News Bytes

News Bytes: Awards, Green Power, Renewables,
Keeping Score, Green Building and More

This issue's News Bytes section contains a potpourri of items, covering awards, green power, renewables, conservation numbers, green building and more.


Green Power

Renewable Energy

Keeping Score

Green Building

Federal Government


--Mark Ohrenschall

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