Challenge: The California Public Utilities Commission (Commission) is committed to ensuring the long-term success of California’s dynamic energy efficiency portfolios, consisting of integrated programs with clearly defined ex ante energy savings measurements, accompanied by ex post evaluated measure energy savings resulting from the various program initiatives undertaken by Energy Efficiency Program Administrators (PAs) in California, including the Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs). The main drivers of the scope and timing of work required for energy savings Estimation, Measurement and Verification (EM&V) activities include state energy efficiency strategic plans, legislative mandates and Commission decisions and legislative mandates. Moreover, the Commission continues to strive to improve the accuracy, speed and cost-effectiveness of the ratepayer funded program evaluation process. For this contract, Tierra was a core member of the broader / cohesive SBW Consulting team selected by the Commission to provide savings EM&V, Program Evaluation, Market Assessment, Policy Planning Support, and Financial and Management Audit Support for the Group D Sectors: Large Commercial, Industrial, and Agriculture Sector Programs, and Customized Project Reviews (CPR) and Strategic Energy Management (SEM).
- Led gross Estimation, Measurement and Verification (EM&V) activities for the Group D sector programs, including Customized Project Reviews (CPR) and Strategic Energy Management (SEM)
- Facilitated the development of statewide Project Coordination Groups (PCG) to ensure applicable insights / recommendations from the Group D evaluation are shared with other, concurrent contract groups (A – E).
- Integrated Group D evaluation findings into California’s electronic Technical Reference Manual (eTRM).
Approach: Tierra’s role across the breadth of Group D evaluation responsibilities focused on the application of gross-, best practice EM&V data collection and analysis methodologies to facilitate the calculation / reporting of statistically significant Gross Realization Rates (GRRs) across measure categories, programs, participants, etc. Tierra’s data collection efforts were adapted to the unique considerations of the COVID-19 pandemic which restricted on-site EM&V prospects, available data sources, and recruitment potential. Similarly, Tierra calibrated the gross-EM&V analysis methods to reflect the scope of supporting project / measure performance data, along with the regulatory reporting requirements. Examples of Tierra’s gross-EM&V responsibilities, included:
- Integrating the unique combination of available data sources to comply with industry best practices in evaluating sampled custom projects / custom measures, including AMI data, Energy Management System (EMS) trend data, participant interviews, on-site inspection findings and building attributes, secondary data sources (e.g., Dodge New Construction, etc.), etc.
- Reviewing, verifying, and updating custom Savings By Design (SBD) EnergyPro models to accurately reflect current, ex post operating conditions consistent with International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol (IPMVP) Option D.
- Developing data collection protocols and priorities for virtual site audits, an adaptive framework for procuring evaluation-supporting data while simultaneously complying with regional health and safety guidelines in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Outcome: Tierra successfully developed gross-EM&V data collection and analysis strategies to support the team’s broader Group D evaluation framework. Additionally, the team lent a unique perspective to measure-, sector-, program-level, etc. evaluation recommendations to further improve future program lifecycles. The Tierra team also facilitated the development of statewide Project Coordination Groups (PCG) to ensure the cross-cutting application and knowledge-sharing of key recommendations across the other Contract Groups (A – E) included within the 2018-2020 evaluation cycle. Finally, Tierra team members integrated Group D evaluation findings into California’s electronic Technical Reference Manual (eTRM); an online application that serves as the repository for all statewide deemed measures for California.
A PDF version of this project qualification can be downloaded here.
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