15th Rocky Mountain Utility Exchange, Sept. 21 - 24, 2021

Call for Presenters is Open through May 17, 2021 Closed

We're Changing!  Come Change With Us!

The Advisory Committee is now accepting session proposals for the 15th Rocky Mountain Utility Exchange as a virtual event.  The Rocky Mountain Utility Exchange is a networking and professional development forum for utility and government organization staff as well as industry allies who provide products and services to support utility customer programs. This will be an online-only conference again this year with a mix of live and pre-recorded content as well as networking opportunities.  The target audience is the staff of energy utilities serving Colorado and neighboring states who are responsible for the design and delivery of customer-centric utility programs, including resource efficiency/sustainability, load management/growth, distributed energy, and customer/member service operations.

CLICK HERE TO PROPOSE A SESSION

The agenda will explore best practices and lessons learned about initiatives related to energy (gas and electricity) efficiency, water conservation, strategy, issues, and integration with renewable energy, flexible load management, strategic load growth, and other customer-facing initiatives. Share with us how your organization is collaborating with other utilities and/or other departments in your own utility to take a customer-oriented approach to achieve greater impacts in residential, commercial, municipal, and industrial end-use applications.

The agenda format is being adjusted to the virtual environment in a way that will encourage online small group discussion around common topic themes that focus on case studies presented primarily by utility staff. Current plans are for the agenda to include up to eight Topic Sessions up to 90 minutes in length to be presented over 4 days. Each session will be moderated by an Advisory Committee member following this format:

  • First 30 minutes: up to three 10-minute utility case study presentations related by a central topic and theme. Attendees will be encouraged to type questions/issues in chat for further discussion;
  • Second 30 minutes: randomly-assigned breakout discussion sessions facilitated by session presenters (or Advisory Committee). Attendees may add their perspective and discuss common challenges/opportunities related to topic/theme;
  • Last 30 minutes: reconvene the full group to allow session presenters to report-out on key takeaways from the breakout discussion and respond to questions and comments chatted in throughout the session during ending roundtable discussion.

During the agenda development process the Advisory Committee will review and rank all session submissions. They reserve right to assign submissions to different topics, combine/eliminate topics, etc. Those submissions selected for the agenda will be notified in June and offered the opportunity to present live or as a pre-recording. The session presenters for a designated topic will be invited to meet online in July with the moderator and other presenters to coordinate their remarks. Those submissions not accepted for a topic session may be offered the opportunity to pre-record a stand-alone "poster" of up to 5 minutes with a single slide/graphic.

Presentation submitters will be asked to choose the best fit for their submission from the broad topics listed below. When choosing a topic, consider some of these potential themes for how the session moderator may relate your presentation with the others that will be included in your session for small group discussion.

Preference in the session selection process will be given to presentations by Rocky Mountain region utility staff who present case studies that focus on the challenges of designing and implementing comprehensive utility/customer solutions/experiences in ways that demonstrate utility-ally collaboration. Presentations from and about utilities from other geographical regions will be considered if relevant/replicable to the Rocky Mountain region.

Session topics and themes of primary interest to the Advisory Committee are:

Silo-Busting Collaboration, Partnership, and Innovation Development

  • Breaking down internal (as well as external) silos: Planning, Program and Operations Oh My!
  • Coordinating with multiple departments for future DER needs: Embrace or be afraid of all the different opinions
  • When and how to share the lessons learned of energy efficiency programs
  • Bundling residential products with a bonus rebate
  • Whole home solutions re-imagined

Consumer Engagement with Communication Strategies and Tactics That Work

  • Best in class ways to communicate complex utility concepts from/to customers
  • Innovative ways utilities are engaging with consumers
  • Reaching customers where they are: marketing and analytics that work
  • Rate design/communications and general consumer Energy Literacy
  • What does a utility-consumer relationship look like today? We are way past the days of 'keep the lights on and rates low'.
  • Lessons learned from TOU rates or demand charge launches: What do consumers need to know in order to assess value of program offerings and/or be accepting of new and sometimes strange rate options?
  • Carbon explained so customers care
  • Smart meter communication tools
  • Communicating Renewables: RECs vs new construction, etc.
  • Builders'/developer voices
  • Demand response engagement

Evolution of Utility Leadership in Business Models/Markets

  • Utility business models that incorporate partnerships with new technologies and the customer as a generator
  • Ways that utilities can create programming to boost satisfaction and provide sufficient consumer choices with the prospect of potential CCA competition
  • Markets: What can they do for utilities
  • Capacity/Consumption considerations and Transmission needs – HVDC, East/West/ERCOT intertie upgrades, large scale storage placement, etc.
  • Carbon benefits and the value proposition for 2030 and beyond
  • Marginal gas price management and communication

Equity and Income-Qualified Program Considerations

  • What does it mean to program design and portfolio mix? Is a shift needed from higher income potential free riders to those who can't make the investment or lack the information to make informed decisions - often both (i.e. more funding toward LMI consumers)?
  • Income-qualified program evolution and engagement
  • Equity as a consideration in new infrastructure proposals for unprecedented focus on frontline or underserved communities
  • Rural areas facing just transition issues as well as overall economic concerns for small communities

Beneficial Electrification as a Paradigm Shift

  • Value proposition for customers and marketing Beneficial Electrification
  • Value proposition for trade allies and engagement strategies
  • Impact to contractor bidding practices

Electric Vehicles: Driving Change in the Utility

  • EV charging load impacts/management: Load building opportunity or grid system failure
  • To EV or not to EV
  • Flexibility or Control
  • Cross-marketing TOU adoption with EV's

Energy Efficiency: Swipe Right or Left

  • EE as an enabler of utility goals in a brave new world
  • Does Energy Efficiency belong in the mix?
  • The need to build customer relationships for the utility of the future.
  • New buildings, new homes

Distributed Energy Resources: Feeling unDER the Stress

  • Interconnections: How to connect with customers for the "right solutions"
  • Is a "one stop shop" approach the best approach?
  • Distributed energy resource management systems and controls
  • Storage's role – ahead of and behind the meter, utility scale and site specific
  • Impacts on both EE and PV (and increasing storage) program considerations, both from a participation lens but also a rate perspective

None of the Above: Now for Something Completely Different
Use this space to suggest a topic not mentioned above with a proposed theme for 3-4 presentations about this topic

Click Here to Submit a Presentation
Become a Sponsor

Submissions will be accepted through midnight, May 17, 2021

 

April 7, 2021

Keeping it Virtual in 2021

As much as we're all eager to get back together in person, we've decided to plan for the 15th Rocky Mountain Utility Exchange in September 2021 to again be online only with the expectation that in 2022 we will be both in-person and online.

The Call for Presenters will launch in May with an enhanced agenda format to leverage what we liked best about last year's event and the other virtual events we've attended.  This will include half-day-long sessions with more audience interaction in small group exchanges.  Sponsor registrations are now being accepted.  Learn about Sponsor Opportunities at www.utilityexchange.org/15th-rmue-sponsor-opps

We are looking forward to connecting with you again online this fall. 

Ed Thomas & Tiger Adolf

RMUE

Last Year's Virtual Session Recordings Still Available

Recordings of all of last year's live sessions and workshops as well as the pre-recorded poster presentations are still available to all registrants of the 14th Rocky Mountain Utility Exchange at the UtilityExchange.org website.  If you missed last year's virtual event and would like to view the recordings, you may still register HERE.  Visit the Resources Directory page for all other past proceedings.

Every fall for 13 years, industry professionals from utilities, government agencies, and solution providers in Colorado and neighboring states made the trek to Aspen. Last year we were only able to meet online but that didn't impact our registration numbers. Over 150 people registered to participate online in 2020. See the registrant list at www.utilityexchange.org/look-whos-connecting-2020

Access 14th Exchange Archives HERE

Organizations in the News

Xcel Energy Launches 2021-22 Colorado DSM Plan

Effective April 1, Colorado customers of Xcel Energy now have some new rebate offerings for residential and business customers. Learn more HERE.

Xcel Energy

Could Texas Blackouts Happen in Colorado?

Holy Cross Energy CEO Bryan Hannegan had a conversation with a Colorado newspaper about the possibility of blackouts like occurred in Texas happening in Roaring Fork Valley. Read article HERE.

Holy Cross Energy

Fort Collins Expands Epic Homes Program

Fort Collins Utilities is expanding its Epic Homes program with a higher ceiling for home efficiency loans and a renewed focus on rental properties. Learn more HERE.

Fort Collins EPIC Homes Program

Tiger Adolf Recognized as one of 35 by BPA

The Building Performance Association (BPA) launched an interview series highlighting 35 incredible people who work in our industry in celebration of it 35th annual home performance conference. Learn more HERE.

Building Performance Association

Access Past Webinars as Podcasts

Even if you didn't participate in last year's virtual conference, consider "binge watching" the Electric Vehicle, Pricing, Customer Experience, and Clean Energy Transition webinars that are also accessible as podcasts. Listeners who choose to subscribe via their preferred podcast platform will receive these and future web recordings delivered to their phone, tablet, or computer without having to register each time. Learn more HERE or ask your automated voice assistant to play the Utility Exchange Web Series.

Utility Exchange logo
 

City of Fort Collins Utility Seeks Energy-Efficiency Focused Engineer

Fort Collins, Colorado – The City of Fort Collins is seeking a Mechanical Engineer with a strong energy efficiency background to perform engineering work related to the development, implementation and evaluation of efficiency programs and technical support for meeting the energy efficiency, conservation and renewable objectives of the City's Utilities Energy Services division.  

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The following duties and responsibilities are illustrative of the primary functions of this position and are not intended to be all inclusive.

  • Plan for new, or revisions to existing, energy services programs. Contribute to project management, engineering analysis and development of program materials.
  • Manage and oversee the technical and programmatic implementation of complex energy services programs, requiring coordination with the Energy Services team and other interdepartmental stakeholders.
  • Provide technical analysis related to the development and evaluation of energy programs.
  • Develop the necessary documents for procurement, contracting and oversight of third party vendors related to energy program implementation.
  • Approve financial transactions related to implementation of energy programs.
  • Maintain knowledge of industry standards as they apply to administration and implementation of Utilities programs.
  • Develop reports related to technical and programmatic performance of energy programs.
  • Verify customer energy project compliance with program standards
  • Provides direction to customers regarding energy decisions and alternatives, via telephone, email and face-to-face meetings.
  • Communicate applicability of energy programs to customers.
  • Gather, analyze and interpret site and aggregated utility data, and effectively communicate complex utility rate structures to customers.
  • Perform on-site energy audits of residential, commercial and industrial facilities.
  • Prepare reports and deliver presentations for customers and stakeholders related to improving efficiency and related participation in energy programs.
  • Develop and provide oversight of related contractor training.
  • Generate and revise calculation tools to improve the accuracy and/or efficiency of energy programs.
  • Support the Energy Services team in staffing customer education and outreach events.
  • Professional development. This involves reading publications, accessing web sites, and attending or presenting at seminars and conferences.
  • Educates and trains citizens and professionals by preparing written materials and making presentations on energy efficient services programs.

# # #

About City of Fort Collins: Located against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and home to Colorado State University (CSU), the City of Fort Collins offers a diverse culture, educated and engaged citizens, outdoor recreation, bicycles, breweries, historic charm, and a thriving economy. Throughout the year, live music and entertainment, as well as great local dining, can be found throughout the historic downtown area. Fort Collins offers the convenience of a small town with all the amenities of a larger city.

The City’s long list of acknowledgements includes:

  • Outstanding Achievement in Local Government Innovation Award: Alliance for Innovation-April 2018
  • No 14 Best Place to Live: Livability.com-March 2018
  • C40 Cities, Cities4Action Winner: Bloomberg Philanthropy-Dec 2017
  • The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award-November 2017
  • 5th Best Performing City: Milken Institute-Jan 2017
  • No. 1 Stable and Growing Housing Market: Realtor.com-Jun 2017
  • No. 1 City in America for Cycling: PeopleForBikes-May 2018
  • 11th Happiest City in America: Yahoo! Finance - March 2017
  • Top 100 Best Cities to Start a Family: LendEDU - Feb 2017
  • No. 9 Top 150 Cities for Millennials Report: Millennial Personal Finance - Feb 2017
  • Peak Award for Performance Excellence: Rocky Mountain Performance Excellence-2014

Learn more and apply at https://fcgov.csod.com/ux/ats/careersite/8/home/requisition/2529?c=fcgov&fbclid=IwAR1I2xPemvAFHz1kRDJmC9Nkr9Sr9HCDkfPFvmoAtj_LcIaaLb8cCIgM4bc

 

If you have questions about activities related to this position, contact Brian Tholl, [email protected]Direct: 970-416-4326/

 

FEDERAL HYDROPOWER SUPPORTS CALIFORNIA ENERGY EMERGENCY

Western Area Power Administration Logo

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Western Area Power Administration and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation joined forces between Aug. 14 and 19 to generate and transmit roughly 5,400 megawatt-hours in response to California’s energy emergency.

The two federal agencies are responsible for generating, marketing and transmitting hydropower from federally owned hydroelectric dams to local utilities and markets. In an emergency situation, the hydropower can be called upon to limit outages and stabilize the grid.

Reclamation generated the power using its fleet of federal hydroelectric dams in the West, including, among others, 18 dams in the Central Valley Project in northern California; Glen Canyon Dam in Page, Arizona; Hoover Dam on the border of Arizona and Nevada; Morrow Point Dam in western Colorado; Davis Dam in Arizona; and Parker Dam in California.

WAPA then transmitted the energy via its high-voltage transmission system into the California Independent System Operator’s service territory, while continuing to reliably serve WAPA’s customer loads. WAPA’s Sierra Nevada region provided more than 3,300 MWh, while the Colorado River Storage Project provided nearly 1,900 MWh and Desert Southwest provided more than 200 MWh.

In some cases, WAPA was able to offset this generation and continue to meet its customers’ demand by increasing hydropower output from other dams to provide power to local areas.

Hydroelectric dams are crucial sources of reserve energy in case of system emergencies. The large reservoirs, such as Lake Mead and Lake Powell, function as enormous batteries and can quickly dispatch a large amount of electricity on the grid. WAPA and Reclamation have plans in place with a number of utilities to provide emergency power from federal hydroelectric powerplants.

# # #

About WAPA: Western Area Power Administration annually markets and transmits more than 25,000 gigawatt-hours of clean, renewable power from 57 federal hydroelectric powerplants owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and International Boundary and Water Commission in 15 western and central states. It is part of the Department of Energy. Follow us on Twitter @WesternAreaPowr or visit the website at www.wapa.gov.

About Reclamation: The Bureau of Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR and @ReclamationCVP.

CONTACT: WAPA – Lisa Meiman, [email protected], 720-962-7411;
Reclamation - Marlon Duke, [email protected], 385-228-4845

 

New report sheds light on energy use in Boulder County cannabis cultivation facilities

Reducing the environmental impact of the cannabis industry is the goal 

Boulder County, Colorado logo

Boulder County, Colo. - Boulder County’s Cannabis Energy Impact Offset Fund (EIOF) sponsored an energy assessment of cannabis cultivation facilities in unincorporated Boulder County between July 2019 and February 2020. The report, compiled by Energy & Resources Solutions (ERS), assessed energy usage, utility consumption data, and productivity.  

With this data, the report was able to offer recommendations to increase cost savings, lower carbon footprints, and maximize production yields in these cannabis cultivation facilities. Notably, the report also developed energy intensity and productivity metrics for future county benchmarking and industry comparison requirements. 

Boulder County requires commercial cannabis cultivators to either offset their electricity use with local renewable energy or pay a surcharge for non-renewable energy usage. The fees from this surcharge are placed into the Boulder County Energy Impact Offset Fund which supports the implementation of sustainable energy practices and funds carbon pollution reducing projects. 

“We are proud to collaborate with local cannabis cultivators to reduce environmental impacts,” said Susie Strife, Director of Boulder County’s Office of Sustainability, Climate Action & Resilience. “Through the Energy Impact Offset Fund we are able to fund meaningful studies, like this ERS report, to develop best practices that help both the planet and local business.” 

Here are five key findings of the report: 

  • While indoor facilities are more electrically intense due to 100% reliance on artificial lighting, greenhouses are more fuel intense due to poor envelope performance inherent with greenhouses.  
  • The greenhouses in the study use approximately 30% less combined electrical and fuel energy per square foot of flowering canopy than the indoor facilities.  
  • Greenhouse productivity is approximately 15% better than the indoor facilities in terms of grams of dry usable product per MMBtu of site energy, which includes all fuels. 
  • When considering grams of product produced per pound of CO2 equivalent emissions, greenhouse facilities are nearly 70% more productive.  
  • Horticultural lighting accounts for 69% of total annual energy use in the indoor facilities and 32% of total annual energy use in the greenhouse facilities.  

“As the cannabis industry matures and nationwide market competition increases, it will be imperative for Boulder County cannabis cultivators to make data driven decisions that lead to energy savings while maintaining or increasing their productivity levels,” said Dave Hatchimonji, Energy Efficiency Program Manager at Boulder County. “This ERS report should give these organizations a foot up on their peers, while addressing Boulder County’s need to lower the carbon emissions for this energy intensive industry.” 

To further address this need to lower carbon emissions in the cannabis industry, Boulder County is working with the Cannabis Conservancy to launch a Cannabis Carbon Conscious certification program on June 11, 2020. This certification program is an industry leading energy certification program designed to be practical and cost-effective. To learn more, contact Jacob Policzer, director of the Cannabis Conservancy at [email protected] . 

To read the full summary of the ERS report visit: https://assets.bouldercounty.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/EIOF-BC-Cultivation-Assessment-Summary-Report_Final-5_4_20.pdf

For more information about Boulder County’s sustainability mission and to learn about other programs, visit boco.org/sustainability or contact Christian Herrmann at [email protected].

 

 
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