RTF Quarterly Newsletter: Quarter No. 28, April-June 2017

  • July 21, 2017

The second three meetings of 2017 (April 21, May 23, and June 20) are now complete. This past quarter saw the RTF continue to maintain its core competencies as an analytical body, while simultaneously investigating new ways it can be innovative and valuable to conservation programs throughout the northwest. Below is a review of all that took place at the RTF from April to June 2017. To review a full list of RTF decisions, click here.

Beginning Work on Non-Residential Lighting Midstream Measure

In response to a new measure proposal approved at the August 16, 2016 RTF meeting, the RTF began developing a “midstream” measure for non-residential lighting in quarter two of 2017. This much anticipated measure covers the installation of integral LED screw-in lamps, MR 16s, or recessed can fixture kits in non-residential buildings in cases where programs intervene “upstream” or at the point of the distributor. This measure has been highly discussed and desired by program implementers in the region, as lighting makes up a major portion of the energy savings claimed from the commercial sector by programs, and traditional forms of program delivery have diminished the proverbial “low-hanging fruit” still available in some parts of the northwest. This measure was initially brought to the Non-Residential Lighting Subcommittee for input in June of 2017, with plans for the full measure to be presented at the July 2017 RTF meeting

In 2015 savings from improved commercial lighting efficiency accounted for 35% of total utility commercial program energy savings. Lighting is a major source of commercial savings for many utilities. As traditional program models saturate current delivery channels, programs are looking for new ways to provide incentives to consumers that make more efficient lighting choices.


Deactivation of Scientific Irrigation Scheduling Standard Protocol

At the June 2017 RTF meeting, the Forum voted to deactivate the long-standing Standard Protocol for Scientific Irrigation Scheduling (SIS). SIS is a behavioral program that entails providing farmers with strategic information on how much/when to irrigate to satisfy crop water requirements and avoid plant moisture stress. SIS uses tools such as soil moisture monitoring and evapotranspiration models specific to crop types, soil types, and local meteorology, to determine the optimal amount of irrigation necessary. The reduction in water usage caused by this strategic irrigating yields electricity savings in the form of reduced water pumping. This Standard Protocol was deactivated based on the results of a 2015/16 study completed by BPA that determined there is currently no statistically significant difference in the amount of water applied between SIS-Program participants and what is occurring naturally in the market. This represents the success of programs in the region in changing the common irrigation practices to be more efficient across the board. 

Standard Information Workbook Updates

At the May 2017 RTF meeting the Forum approved updates to the Standard Information Workbook (SIW). The SIW serves as the backbone of much of the RTF’s work. It is a centralized data resource containing regionally representative costs, non-energy impacts, and other data that are common across multiple measures. At the May meeting the Forum approved updates to the SIWs water and wastewater costs, and the addition of power system values of incremental irrigation diversions. 

Examining the RTF’s Potential Role for Demand Response

At the April RTF meeting RTF Contract Analyst, Greg Brown presented on the potential value of the Forum in supporting the estimation of demand response (DR) savings. This presentation was formulated as part of a Council staff effort to explore potential paths for demand response supply curve development and program support. As this work is out of the scope of the existing RTF Charter the RTF Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) suggested the RTF perform a low lift exploration with a focus on the products and value the RTF could provide programs for DR, and the effort it would take on the part of staff to do so. Brown looked into connected thermostats as a test case on how the RTF might support program planning and evaluation for demand response. This exercise explored alignment and challenges associated with the RTF providing demand response planning estimates in conjunction with its efficiency research to programs. Determining the RTF’s role with regards to DR will be an ongoing dialogue and ultimately require a decision from the Council as whether or not to expand the RTF’s charter to support this work. 

Subcommittee Roundup

The RTF relies on its subcommittees to review and provide oversight or guidance on projects, provide feedback to the RTF on specific issues, and help develop and update sector-specific measure savings assumptions. The following subcommittees convened at some point in the second quarter of 2017.

  • Market Analysis: This subcommittee was created to discuss ongoing market analysis being conducted in the region, as well as to provide review of said research. The RTF’s Market Analysis Subcommittee met once in the second quarter of 2017 to solicit feedback on the development of a Market Data Repository housed at the RTF. The overall goal of the Market Data Repository will be to provide a single place of gathering results from regional market research. 
  • Pump SystemsThe RTF's Pump Systems subcommittee met once in the second quarter of 2017 to discuss the development of a measure for Pool Pumps. This measure was developed, presented and approved and the June RTF meeting.
  • Compressed Air: The Industrial Compressed Air Subcommittee was reconvened in the second quarter of 2017 to discuss planned updates to the standard protocol, coinciding with the measure’s sunset date. These updates were presented and approved at the May 2017 RTF meeting.
  • Statistical Methods: The Statistical Methods subcommittee supports review of statistical analysis conducted by the contract analyst team on behalf of the RTF. The subcommittee met once in Q2 of 2017 to review the statistical methodologies used to calculate and aggregate data within the scientific irrigation scheduling study completed by Bonneville.
  • Advanced Rooftop Controls: This subcommittee convened once in the second quarter of 2017 to discuss the development of a standard protocol for an Advanced Rooftop Control measure with plans to present said measure in Q3 of 2017.
  • Non-Residential Lighting: The Non-Residential Lighting Subcommittee was convened once in the second quarter of 2017 to discuss the development of a UES measure for non-residential lighting in cases where program intervention occurs “mid-stream”, or rather at the point of sale.
  • Scientific Irrigation Scheduling: This subcommittee was reconvened to review research completed by the Bonneville Power Administration on current SIS baselines throughout the region. The study found cause to deactivate this standard protocol. The RTF voted to follow the recommendation of this subcommittee, deactivating the SIS Standard Protocol at the June 2017 RTF meeting.
  • Implementers Group: The Implementers group meets every month after the monthly RTF meeting to discuss the outcome of the RTF meeting, upcoming RTF meeting topics, and other topics that affect program implementers in the region. 
  • Operations: The RTF Operations subcommittee meets monthly to review and discuss the RTF meeting agendas, decisions, and contracts.

Approved Measure Changes

In addition to the items highlighted above, the second quarter of 2017 the RTF voted to approve the following changes to UES measures and Standard Protocols: