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Energy Efficiency: Walking the Walk at LADWP





LADWP graph shows projected reduction of L.A.'s carbon emissions, 2012-2032.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) recently released its “Energy Efficiency Portfolio Business Plan” for fiscal years 2012-2014. For the past few years, LADWP has been talking the talk about doing more energy efficiency, and (importantly) using efficiency as its top priority resource for getting out of coal power. This plan shows that LADWP is walking the walk!

Particularly impressive aspects of the plan:

  • Its focus on small business customers, which often means mom and pop type shops in low-income communities (like those featured in this video from LAANE).
  • The partnership with Southern California Gas that helps customers keep costs down for both electricity and natural gas.
  • Integrating water efficiency into many programs, thus building on past success with water efficiency and giving customers more value with each program.

Overview of the plan:

  • LADWP plans to invest $258.4 million in energy efficiency programs over two year, and spend $6.5 million on general program support
  • LADWP plans to save around 1 percent of sales each fiscal year. We believe they will be able to ramp this number up higher in future years, but it is a solid starting point.
  • The plan is very cost effective, providing customers with energy at a cost of 4 cents per kWh (that is cheaper than delivering coal power).

Details about the components of the plan, and thoughts on how it could improve in the future.

(All numbers are for the full two years of the program (FYs 2012-2014)).

  • They will target $77 million for small business customers. LADWP will go to small business and offer to install better lighting, heating, refrigeration, and well as gas and water features at little or no cost to the small business owner. This type of program is critical for reaching those small businesses.
  • They will also be making a big push to help low-income customers – spending $25 million over two years to improve low-income homes.
  • They will dedicate an additional $13 million to replace old and inefficient refrigerators for low-income households. LADWP will offer refrigerator recycling to any customer with a plugged-in, qualifying model
    • Potential improvement: LADWP could take a role in transforming the market for refrigerators more broadly by encouraging these retailers to stock cheap energy star refrigerators (which exist but can be hard to find), taking old refrigerators off the market using their existing refrigerator recycling vendor
  • The plan includes $32.5 million for a well-designed commercial lighting program.
  • They will spend less than $5 million on rebates for customers purchasing efficient refrigerators, windows, and cool roofs (important not just for efficiency but also for fighting the urban heat island effect that LA is going to experience more of with global warming).
  • LADWP will offer a Retrocommissioning Express program for customers with conditioned space of at least 50,000 square feet.
    • Potential improvement: LADWP currently claims there are no demand savings from this program. There may be no hard-wired demand savings, but EM&V should demonstrate reduced peak demand from the optimization process
  • LADWP will offer incentives for big commercial customers to install energy efficient chillers.
  • LADWP will offer a little over $2 million for a Refrigeration program.
    • Potential improvement: LED refrigerator and freezer case lighting is mentioned as a potential future measure. This should be added now.
  • The Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance Program will offer assistance to large, sophisticated customers early in the project planning cycle.
    • Potential improvement: LADWP should consider expanding this into a full-fledged continuous energy improvement for these large, sophisticated customers. A CEI program would help large customers to get executive-level buy-in for energy efficiency, and help these customers develop energy teams, getting long-term energy savings and ensure energy efficiency is part of capital planning.

 Additional programs we hope to see added in future:

  • Residential lighting. LADWP has pursued this in the past, but there is more to be done and LADWP could partner with Southern California Edison to implement a program across their combined service territory.
  • A data center/server room/server closet program. This is an increasingly important area for savings, as detailed by my colleague Pierre Delforge.
  • Consumer electronics programs.

(Kristin Eberhard  is the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Legal Director of Western Energy and Climate Projects, Santa Monica. Her post first appeared on the Switchboard blog and is republished with permission.)

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