RTF Quarterly Newsletter: Quarter No. 29, July-September 2017

  • October 20, 2017

The third quarter of 2017 is now complete.  This quarter included two full-RTF meetings (July 18 and September 19), as well as a number of important subcommittee meetings. This past quarter the RTF cancelled one meeting in order to take more time to move forward on complex items requiring more work on the part of RTF Staff and Subcommittees, which are set to be considered by the RTF in Q4 of 2017 and early 2018. Below is a review of all that took place at the RTF from July to September 2017. To review a full list of RTF decisions, click here.

Approval of New Measures

At the July RTF meeting the Forum reviewed proposals for three new measures. First, the forum reviewed a proposed new measure for residential faucet aerators, a plumbing device attached to the tip of a faucet, likely in a home’s bathroom or kitchen, which restricts the volume of water that flows out. This technology saves energy by reducing overall water usage, vicariously reducing hot water usage, leading to less energy needed for water heating in a home.  The RTF voted to allocate resource to developing a UES measure for this technology.

Next, the RTF reviewed a new measure proposal for Low Elevation Spray Application (LESA) for agricultural irrigation. This measure entails lowering the height of spray irrigation nozzles to improve irrigation efficiency and lower the necessary operating pressure for irrigation pump systems. The RTF approved the allocation of resource for this measure as well, and is slated to review a proposal sometime next year.

Lastly, the RTF considered its potential role in the realm of Strategic Energy Management (SEM). SEM is the optimization and integration of best practices of system analysis, equipment improvements, and operational improvements into a sustaining energy program across an entire industrial or commercial facility. The generalizable or uniform energy savings associated with SEM are difficult to estimate, as these projects are often tailored to an individual facility or organization. The RTF voted to allocate resource to conduct a scoping exercise in this space, to develop recommendations of what the RTF’s role might be in supporting utility program planning and evaluation for SEM/whole facility programs. 

New Measures for Small and Rural Utilities

At the Q3 2017 meeting of the RTF’s Small and Rural Utilities Subcommittee, the group reviewed three potential new measures with specific applicability to small and rural service territories. The subcommittee showed interest in two of the measures reviewed, one measure for stock tank heaters, and another for thermos-cubes. The stock tank heater measure provides efficient, thermostatically controlled, freeze protection for stock tanks and ponds, thus eliminating the need to continuously run a stock tank heater throughout the cold season. The thermos-cube measure consists of thermostatically controlled outlet attachments that only power plugged in devices when the ambient temperature falls below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. This technology is mainly applicable in pump houses, utility rooms, and construction sheds with seasonal heating and lighting loads. Based on interest from the subcommittee, RTF staff will be pursuing the buildout of these two measure analyses, with an anticipated light resource load for each. 

Adopting the 2018 Work Plan and Business Plan

At the September meeting the RTF voted to adopt the 2018 Work Plan and accompanying Business and Operating Plan, with the recommendation that the Council approve both documents. The adoption of next year’s Work Plan by the RTF marks the culmination of a several month process, which included draft work plan iterations, and a public comment period where staff received comments from several regional stakeholders. The main difference between the 2018 work plan and the previous year is an increased allocation of resources for existing measure review and updates, as more measures are set to reach their sunset date next year than in 2017. Based on the RTF recommendation, the 2018 Work Plan and Business Plan was brought before the RTF Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) in late September for a similar vote. The PAC approved the 2018 Work Plan and Business Plan as proposed, forwarding a recommendation to the Council that the plans be approved at the October 2017 Council Meeting in Columbia Falls, Montana. 

Further Consideration of a UES Measure for Mid-Stream Non-Residential Lighting

At the September 2017 RTF Meeting, the Forum took steps to sure up the reliability of a proposed measure analysis and correct what it believed to be a motion made in error with the passage of a motion to rescind a July RTF decision. The rescinded July decision had made last minute alterations to the measure analysis for the proposed Non-Residential Lighting Mid-Stream Retail UES measure. With the September decision to rescind its July decision, the RTF directed the measure to be reconsidered by the Contract Analyst Team, RTF Members, and the pertinent subcommittee, before being brought back to the full RTF at a later date. Further detail on the math and rationale behind this decision can be found in the decision memo from September, here.

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 third 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 twice in the third quarter of 2017 to discuss ongoing NEEA market analysis research, specifically research around NEEA’s Retail Product Portfolio and Clothes Washers.
  • Advanced Rooftop Controls: This subcommittee convened twice in the third quarter of 2017 to discuss the proposed specifications and savings estimates of a Unit Energy Savings measure for Advanced Rooftop Controls. A measure proposal was brought to the RTF in September, but the Forum directed staff to reconvene this subcommittee to continue to discuss complications around determining the measure baseline. A new proposal for this measure is likely to be brought to the RTF in Q4 of 2017.
  • Non-Residential Lighting: The Non-Residential Lighting Subcommittee was convened once in the third quarter of 2017 to continue discussion of 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.
  • Research and Evaluation: The Research and Evaluation Subcommittee convenes on a need basis to discuss the development of RTF Research Strategies and the framing and utility of ongoing research in the region. In Q3 of 2017 the subcommittee met twice; once to discuss the development of a Research Strategy for an Engine Block Heater Controls UES Measure, and the second time to discuss the development of Research Strategies for Clothes Washers and Advanced Rooftop Controls.
  • Small and Rural Utilities: The Small/Rural Subcommittee maintains a dedicated function within the RTF to support the specific needs of small and rural utilities. This subcommittee met twice in Q3 of 2017 to discuss changes to UES measures that may affect small/rural utilities differently, and potential new measures tailored to small and rural markets.
  • Guidelines: The RTF Guidelines Subcommittee meets on a need basis to discuss updates and additions to the RTF’s Operative Guidelines, which dictate the course of RTF decision making. In the third quarter of 2017 the subcommittee met once to discuss a suite of proposed revisions to the Guidelines.
  • 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 third quarter of 2017 the RTF voted to approve the following changes to UES measures and Standard Protocols:

  • Accept the new Engine Block Heater Controls UES measure as proposed (with heating zone 1 eligibility added), and the associated Research Strategy. This measure is planning. The sunset date was set to July 31, 2020.
  • Approve updates to the Residential Clothes Dryers analysis, including new UCEF definition, as presented. For the ENERGY STAR measure application the measure category was set to planning. For the UCEF-based measure applications, the category was set to proven. The sunset date for this measure was set to July 31, 2020.
  • Approve the Residential and Commercial Clothes Washers UES measures update and Research Strategies, effective February 1, 2018. The category for these measures was changed to planning in anticipation of upcoming NEEA research. The sunset date was set to September 30, 2020.
  • Adopt the Refrigerator/Freezer Decommissioning UES measure as presented. The category for this measure was set to proven, with a sunset date of September 30, 2019.