PRESS RELEASE :: Seinergy’s database reached one million kWh* of documented energy savings this month, marking a milestone for the fledgling efficiency aggregator company. These savings represent voluntary upgrades in residential homes throughout western Washington. Some savings have been claimed by participating utilities to satisfy state conservation mandates.
“We are pleased with our progress during the first 1.5 years in operations,” said Seinergy’s founder and CEO, Bob Gunn. “And we are happy to have acquired so many kWh given our limited resources and industry’s long sales cycles.”
Seinergy identifies and documents energy efficiency savings–a departure from the incentive-based model in existence since the early 1980s. Last June, the Department of Commerce issued an advisory opinion to Seinergy affirming that utilities do not need direct involvement (incentives or otherwise) for savings claimed under WA State’s conservation mandate.
In 2013, Seinergy ran pilots with two Public Utility Districts in Washington State to validate the existence of qualified savings and to test the business model. Clallam County PUD and Snohomish County PUD were the first to pioneer with Seinergy and the results are promising. “We were surprised to see more insulation jobs being done outside of our programs” says Mattias Jarvegren, Energy Analyst II with Clallam County PUD.
Seinergy aggregates these savings at a fraction of the cost of utility-run programs. By working closely with trade allies who serve multiple utility service boundaries and fuel types at once Seinergy is able to dramatically reduce transaction costs associated with accessing this data. On a levelized basis, Seinergy’s documented savings cost participating utilities about one penny per kWh. This equates to about 1/4 the predicted cost of wholesale power, 1/3 the cost of a typical utility incentive program with overheads, is less costly than CFLs or LEDs and about 1/2 the cost of reported NEEA savings.
$20-40 million left on the table annually. For a variety of reasons, significant quantities of qualified residential energy upgrades are occurring without utility involvement. Seinergy estimates if every eligible WA job cashed in on incentives, utilities would incur an additional $20-40 million in incentive spending each year – a volume about equal to what utilities are registering each year. From another angle, booking these savings for less cost and without paying incentives could significantly reduce utility portfolio costs per kWh by allocating fixed program costs over more kWh – a winning proposition for any utility.
In addition to providing claimable savings, Seinergy data helps utilities understand customer behavior, increase the effectiveness of program outreach and improve load forecasting. Rich Hazzard, Senior Manager of Customer Analytics at Snohomish PUD stated, “Even if these savings didn’t count for I-937 – and we fully expect that they will – the insights that this data is delivering about our customers is worth it alone.”
What is next for Seinergy? “We always hope for more utility partners,” laughs Bob Gunn. “However, in the meantime we we are expanding relationships with distributors, major installers, and lending institutions to broaden our grasp on market activity and further reduce transaction costs of quantifying energy efficiency.
What about Seinergy savings that go unclaimed by utilities? Stay tuned for announcements about Seinergy’s first corporate buyers who will offset some of their energy usage with energy efficiency credits from the residential space-heating sector. In the words of one potential corporate buyer, “it’s like offsetting our loads with wind RECs, but without the need to build gas power plant to balance it out just in case the wind dies.” Change is in the air – can you feel it?
* 1 Million kWh or equivalent, based on RTF deemed savings values. Includes other fuel types.