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Challenge: The California Energy Commission funded a competition grant (GFO-15-312) that challenged project teams comprised of building developers, local governments, technology developers, researchers, utilities, and other project partners to develop innovative and replicable approaches for accelerating the deployment of Advanced Energy Communities (AEC) that meet 8 design criteria.

Approach: Tierra partnered with the Local Government Commission, Fresno Metro Ministry, and CalStart to develop a project pipeline that included commercial sites and activity centers identified in the City of Fresno’s 2018 General Plan, and led the development of all key project deliverables, including:

  • Defining the project pipeline, completing technical analysis, and leading stakeholder engagements on DER topics
  • Developing a capital stack using all available funding mechanisms, including tax incentives, fee waivers, grants, rebates and financing
  • Developing an AEC portfolio evaluation plan consistent with National, State, IEPC standard practices

AEC Design Criteria:

  1. Minimize the need for new energy infrastructure costs.
  2. Provide energy savings and maintain zero net energy status
  3. Support grid reliability and resiliency by incorporating advanced technologies
  4. Provide easier grid integration
  5. Can be replicated and scaled-up to further drive down costs
  6. Are financially attractive from a market and ratepayer standpoint, including equity considerations
  7. Makes use of smart-grid technologies
  8. Align with other state energy & environmental policy goals

Outcome: The team developed a pipeline of 16 commercial projects within Fresno’s Downtown and Blackstone Transit Corridor planning areas, including enhancements to existing programs used to fund development.  

The funding platform defined over $28M in funding from various sources, including $11M for commercial sector projects (shown at left) and $17M for public facilities. The portfolio of energy efficiency, distributed generation, and battery storage projects is forecast to generate $1.3M in annual cash flow after the full amortization of debt over 15 years. At buildout, the portfolio will save 3.3 GWh in annual electricity consumption, reduce peak demand by 4.2 MW and save participants over $845,000 annually in fuel costs.  Project implementation is ongoing.

The portfolio performance planning forecasts can be founds and this Microsoft PowerBI link, including the following tabs:

  1. Project Summary including a navigation guide to the PowerBI tabs
  2. Portfolio overview showing a summary of project locations and savings on annual energy costs, kWh and GHG emissions
  3. Changes in portfolio demand curves (kW) for summer and winter peak days by buildout scenario
  4. Summary of project portfolio Savings
  5. Summary of savings from utility program enhancements
  6. Portfolio financial summary including annual savings, payback and capitalized value of project investments
  7. Capital stack for funding and financing project used for commercial projects
  8. Capital stack for funding and financing project used for public facilities
  9. Annual cash flow by scenario, including debt service.

The PDF version of this project description can be downloaded here.


Floyd Keneipp


Office | 925-954-7363

Direct | 925-305-8915

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