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REGIONAL TECHNICAL FORUM MEETING NOTES
  September 17 2002, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

 NORTHWEST POWER PLANNING COUNCIL OFFICES
PORTLAND, OREGON

DRAFT

 

I. Greetings, Introductions and Review of the Agenda.

            The September 17, 2002 Regional Technical Forum meeting, held at the Northwest Power Planning Council's offices in Portland, Oregon, was chaired by Tom Eckman of the Council staff.

            The following is a distillation (not a verbatim transcript) of items discussed during the call, together with actions taken on those items.  Please note that some enclosures referenced in the body of the text may be too lengthy to attach; all enclosures referenced are available upon request from Eckman at 503/222-5161.

            Eckman led a round of introductions and a review of the agenda. The minutes from the July 8 RTF meeting were approved as written.

2. Presentation, Discussion and Decision on Proposal to Change RTF's Method for Calculating Transmission System Benefits from Conservation Savings.

            Jim Lazar briefed the group on this issue. In the dozens of spreadsheets in which we calculated deemed values, he said, we have a column for transmissions costs. It appeared to him that the RTF had taken a diversified end-use load factor and measured it at the system peak level, and applied a coincidence factor adjustment, Lazar said; that would seem to be a double adjustment, hence this agenda item.

            Lazar proposed that we measure the transmission capacity value of conservation measures, where we have that information, by using the winter extreme peak load factor, with no coincidence factor adjustment, said Lazar. Essentially, he said, this change would increase the transmission capacity savings associated with conservation savings. Lazar asked the other RTF members to review his written description of this proposed change and provide any comments they may have.

            The group devoted an extensive discussion to this agenda item, offering a variety of clarifying comments and questions. Ken Corum went to the white board to demonstrate the effect this proposed change would have. Ultimately, it was agreed to base the transmission system benefit from conservation savings calculation on winter peak, rather than extreme winter peak. It was further agreed that Jeff Harris will fix the math in the calculation. With those changes, the proposed change was approved.

3. Presentation, Discussion and Decision on Proposed Deemed Calculation Methods for Earth Advantage Manufactured Homes, Earth Advantage Multifamily Homes and Earth Advantage Single-Family Homes.

            Next up was Eckman, who began by saying PGE had asked the RTF to provide some deemed savings calculation methods for the various Earth Advantage products, which require a 15% improvement over Oregon code. Eckman demonstrated the proposed deemed calculators using the projector, first explaining some of the assumptions underlying this tool.

            After a few minutes of discussion, Eckman said he will change the tax credit appliance list to bring it into compliance with Oregon code. He invited any interested RTF participants to go through the tool and check his math. Eckman noted that the most recent versions of these tools will be available on the RTF website tomorrow afternoon. With that, the RTF approved Eckman's Earth Advantage deemed calculation methods for use, once any final changes have been incorporated.

4. Presentation, Discussion and Decision on Proposed Revisions to the RTF's Deemed Calculation Method for Residential Weatherization.

            Eckman also led this presentation; he noted that the current calculator has a fixed set of increments. What this tries to do is replace Standard Heat Loss Methodology, taking the load curve functions for three prototypes and doing a pre- and post- condition on those, he explained. Eckman demonstrated this tool using the projector. The group offered a few clarifying questions and comments; in response, Eckman said he will update the measure list, adding all of the options in SHLM by measure type, to achieve consistency with the U values. With that change, the deemed calculation method for residential weatherization was approved for beta testing. Again, Eckman invited any interested RTF participants to beta-test this tool.

5. Discussion and Decision on Proposed RTF Work Plan.

            Eckman said this draft work plan reflects the comments received during his and Mark Johnson's discussions with the utilities over the past several months. He put the new work plan up on the screen, noting that it covers the period September 2002 through March 2003. Eckman said the work plan and schedule will be posted to the RTF website very soon. He spent a few minutes going through the work plan line by line. He asked the RTF to suggest any additional work products they feel need to be accomplished in the next six months; none were offered at this time.

            Charlie Grist then pointed out an error in the gravity-film heat exchanger (GFX) calculation; he said he had used the wrong recovery factor, and explained how he had corrected this problem. No RTF objections were raised to this change. This will result in a higher deemed value for the savings from the GFX heat exchanger. The revised value now be incorporated in the C&R Discount software.

6. Presentation, Discussion and Decision on Portland General Electric's Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell and Cal-Gon Biogas Facility Research and Demonstration Projects.

            Joe Berra of PGE led this presentation; he described the genesis of the Cal-Gon biogas facility project, which processes manure from dairy farms into methane gas. We decided to build a demonstration project on a farm outside Salem at a cost of about $500,000, he explained. Berra briefed the RTF on some of the details of the biogas facility's operation.

            What this proposal requests is $100,000 in funding to develop a commercially viable system that can be expanded to other farms - funding for instrumentation, pumping and monitoring and evaluation, Berra continued. The funding, in the form of rate credits, would be for ongoing operation, because the facility is up and running at this time. He noted that this is not proprietary technology, and would be available to the general public. In response to a question, Berra said the funding is needed for this year and next year. As long as the public information requirement is satisfied, said Eckman, I don't see any problem. With that, the RTF approved PGE's proposal.

            Berra then described PGE's proton exchange membrane fuel cell project, noting that, again, all customers and interested parties would be welcome to come see the technology in use at PGE's Earth Advantage Center and to learn about it. He said PGE is asking the RTF for $25,000 in funding, which would cover about a third of the total cost of this project. We would expect you to keep your costs separate, to ensure that there is no double counting, said Mark Johnson. that's understood, Berra replied. Some concerns were raised about the fact that this particular fuel cell uses methanol, rather than a renewable fuel source; Berra replied that it has the potential to use ethanol (wood alcohol), which is a renewable resource. One participant asked whether this is a demonstration project, rather than a research project.  Berra replied that it is a demonstration proiect.

            To me, said Johnson, the real question for this group is whether this is a conservation research project or a renewables research project. The group referred to the RTF's criteria for the evaluation of proposed renewable resource research, development and demonstration activities in an effort to resolve this question. After a few minutes of further discussion, it was agreed that this project is probably a better fit for Bonneville's distributed generation research program than it is for the RTF's renewables and conservation criteria, and the RTF declined to endorse PGE's proton exchange fuel cell project. Berra was encouraged to investigate the possibility of developing a truly renewable fuel cell technology, such as a methane fuel cell for use on dairy farms. Eckman said, that PGE asked that he not forward the RTF's recommendation to Bonneville, until PGE makes their decision about whether or not to proceed.

7. Presentation and Discussion on Energy Savings from High-Performance Windows in Commercial Buildings.

            Grist introduced Carol Gardner, noting that the goal of today's discussion is to decide whether or not there are deemable measures within the high-performance windows category for commercial buildings.

            Gardner described her work on this issue, distributing a handout containing a series of spreadsheets, the results of a sensitivity study she conducted last month. Gardner spent a few minutes going through this data using the results from a small office building, a large office building, a high school and an elementary school to illustrate the energy savings impacts of alternative high performance windows. The spreadsheets charted the energy use and savings associated with both heating and cooling for these buildings, under various window types, for electricity and gas. The group devoted a few minutes of discussion to the details of this study, offering a variety of clarifying questions and comments. The benefit/cost ratios for vinyl-framed windows appears to be significantly higher than thermally improved aluminum-framed windows. This is because while they have similar energy savings, the vinyl-framed windows have much lower costs.

            Grist asked the RTF where we should go from here.  One thing we need to do is make sure that there is agreement on the simulation model's major inputs assumptions and that we have solid documentation for their use, Eckman said. It was agreed that set points and the operation of economizers are a significant modeling issues in this analysis. It was also agreed that we should convene a sub-group of the RTF that has particular expertise in modeling commercial buildings to discuss and come to agreement on what input assumptions should be used.

Once we have a clean set of runs, Eckman said, we will need to decide whether there is a need to structure a ?deemed calculator? to take into account the fact that all buildings aren't going to look like our prototype or whether a set of ?deemed values? will be adequate.  After a few minutes of further discussion, Eckman said he will place this topic on the agenda for an RTF meeting once the sensitivity analyses have been run.

8. Presentation, Discussion and Decision on Revised Space Conditioning Interaction Factors for Commercial Lighting System Efficiency Improvements.

            This agenda item was not addressed at today's meeting.

9. Other.

             A. Report on RTF Survey.  The survey is now 98% done, said Ken Corum; we're not quite ready to put the data on the web yet, but we're close ? there's a bit more work to be done in the area of Alliance savings. He put up a spreadsheet on the projector, showing incremental energy savings and incremental investment, by year; Corum spent a few minutes going through this data. What you can expect is that we'll put this out on the RTF website within a week or 10 days, he said; if any utilities that have not yet reported wish to add their data to the survey, we can do that in the interim, Corum said.

10. Next RTF Meeting Date.

            The next meeting of the Regional Technical Forum was set for Tuesday, November 5. Meeting summary prepared by Jeff Kuechle, NWPPC contractor.