Chelan County PUD Graph

Chelan County PUD has been paying more per megawatt-hour saved in recent years, but energy efficiency remains cheaper than other resources, according to PUD officials.

Chelan County PUD expects to pay slightly more in the next couple years for each megawatt-hour saved, compared to this year or 2018. Even so, energy efficiency remains the lowest-cost resource for the PUD, Andrew Grassell, who oversees Chelan's conservation program, said at the utility's board of commissioners Nov. 18 meeting.

Last year, Chelan PUD paid $15.22/MWh versus $19.23/MWh in 2019. That cost is projected to rise to $20.55/MWh by 2021, Grassell said.

The rising cost is due largely to the shrinking amount of lighting available for efficiency upgrades along with the PUD offering higher incentives, he said.

"There is still some lighting available," Grassell said. "Of course, because of codes and standards at the national level and at the state level, this is going to continue to become smaller."

Chelan spent $4.2 million and saved 2.1 aMW in 2018, and $4.8 million for 1.9 aMW this year. In both years the utility exceeded its stretch goal of 1.8 aMW each year. The PUD is considering spending $5.2 million next year for at least 1.4 aMW. It has set a stretch goal of 2 aMW in 2020 and 2021, when it is considering spending $5.4 million. The utility has met or surpassed its annual energy savings goal in all but one of the past 10 years.

Grassell expects to make (present?) final energy-efficiency targets for commissioners' approval at a Dec. 2 meeting.

The PUD sees low-flow showerheads and duct sealing as two large areas for greater energy efficiency in homes. Food storage has the biggest energy-saving potential in the commercial and industrial sectors, according to the utility's projections.

One tweak the utility could make is offering low-flow showerheads when conducting home energy audits, Grassell said.

Chelan PUD also has spent money to better inform Hispanic customers of energy-efficiency opportunities. A PUD survey several years ago revealed a "big difference between Hispanic and [non-Hispanic] customers," he said.

"We've done a big effort there, and those numbers have come up," Grassell said.