Monthly Archives: July 2017

Jackie Bavaro The Next Big Market: Small and Midsize Businesses

The August/September issue of the American Gas cover story titled, The Next Big Market, examines the energy efficiency programs at PSE&G, Con Edison, and Avista, and how targeted outreach to small and midsize businesses can lead to significant energy savings for customers.

AMGAS magWith most large commercial buildings already benefiting from in energy efficiency, the market for retrofits in small and medium commercial building is the next step in energy efficiency, with the goal of finding the right approach and most cost-effective ways to help save energy. In New Jersey, PSE&G’s Direct Install program targets small-use customers, defined as those with 200 kilowatt hours or less in annual electricity demand. PSE&G further narrows its eligibility criteria to certified nonprofits, municipal customers such as city halls and firehouses, and small businesses in New Jersey Urban Enterprise Zones that are in PSE&G’s territory. Cost-effectiveness is a key criterion in evaluating the feasibility of proposed projects. PSE&G pays 100 percent of project costs upfront, and customers repay 30 percent. Its budget for this program has been $15 million, recovered through rates, and it expects to serve 400 to 450 customers.

Con Edison’s Multifamily Energy Efficiency Gas Program targets one of its highest-consuming gas sectors—multifamily housing units—which typically shelters 30 to 40 units each. Its annual budget is $75 million, now recovered through rates. The program covers about 500 buildings a year and is nearing 3,200 total. Con Edison customer incentives support a technology upgrade in indoor temperature feedback systems, which have generated an estimated 20 percent in energy savings from heating usage by regulating boiler cycles based on indoor temperatures rather than outdoor.

Avista’s Small Business Program offers free installation of simple energy savers such as aerators, spray nozzles and showerheads for small businesses in its Washington and Idaho service territories. In addition, prescriptive rebates encourage investments in energy-efficient system upgrades. The program budget is $2 million, which encompasses the cost of the direct-labor and materials, funded from electric and natural gas Demand Side Management tariffs. As of April 2017, the program has delivered natural gas savings of more than 70,000 therms. The utility is targeting 10,000 small businesses, and about 6,000 so far have benefited from its Small Business Program. Of those, about 10 percent have pursued custom projects revealed through Avista audits, taking advantage of incentives for gas-saving upgrades to heating and water-heating systems, insulation or food service equipment.

Utilities are partnering with small and midsize businesses to enhance energy saving opportunities for their customers. By tailoring small and midsize business energy efficiency programs to local needs, experience and expectations, utilities can start to build new and highly successful partnerships.

You can access the entire article here.

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Richard Meyer Natural Gas Market Indicators: July 28, 2017

Exports have been the main driver of incremental demand this July as domestic consumption has remained tepid compared with one year prior. Exports to Mexico and LNG feedgas combined has added 1.9 Bcf per day of demand to the market and, aside from a modest increase in industrial natural gas use this July, accounts for nearly the entire increase in natural gas use in the lower-48 compared with last year. No doubt this additional demand is a key reason why natural gas prices remain near $3, which in turn has helped support additional drilling rigs. However, the consequences are not apparent that a new daily natural gas production record is imminent.

Visit this link to download the full Natural Gas Market Indicators report. Topics covered in this week’s report include: Reported Prices, Weather, Working Gas in Underground Storage, Natural Gas Production, Shale Gas, Rig Counts, Pipeline Imports and Exports, and LNG Markets.

Please direct questions and comments to Chris McGill at cmcgill@aga.org or Richard Meyer at rmeyer@aga.org.

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Jake Rubin Another Community Will Save Money By Switching to Natural Gas

Americans who have natural gas enjoy the benefits of this clean affordable energy source every day, and we know that those who do not have service for their home or business want it. Throughout the country, we see stories about communities and utilities working together to extend natural gas infrastructure to those who do not have access to the benefits of this fuel. Like this one in the Duluth News Tribune.

Minnesota Energy Resources is expanding its natural gas distribution system to provide service to residents of Esko, MN. Approximately 750 customers will be eligible to receive natural gas service from the utility when the projected is complete.

Esko school district Superintendent Aaron Fischer is particularly excited about this development citing the money his school system will save when they switch their boilers that use propane or fuel oil to new boilers that use natural gas. His district did a study that confirmed the move to natural gas would save both money and energy.

These types of conversions are happening across the country. Thirty-nine states have adopted or considered innovative proposals to expand natural gas infrastructure so that more citizens and businesses can access this domestic fuel source, and that number continues to grow. In April, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) established a new Presidential Natural Gas Access and Expansion Task Force charged with developing best practices and recommendations regarding natural gas service for underserved and unserved areas of the country, including, but not limited to rural communities.

switching to natgas blog

Natural gas use has led to $76 billion in savings for American businesses since 2009 and households that use natural gas for heating, cooking and clothes drying save an average of $874 per year compared to homes using electricity for those applications.

More homes and businesses use natural gas today than ever before and that number continues to increase as more communities ask their local leaders and utilities to make natural gas service available to them. There are proven benefits to customers and the economy, and utilities are working every day to bring the benefits of natural gas to more Americans.

 

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Kathryn Clay Natural Gas Vehicle Research & Development Workshop

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Vehicle Technologies Office is hosting a workshop for natural gas vehicle (NGV) stakeholders on July 25 at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, CO.  The purpose of the workshop is to understand and prioritize the research needs necessary to increase the efficiency and reduce emissions of medium- and heavy-duty NGVs.

The Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill recommended that up to $15 million be appropriated to DOE in FY17 for medium- and heavy-duty on-road natural gas engine research and development.  One of the goals of this workshop is to inform DOE about a Funding Opportunity Announcement that is expected later this year.

NGVAmerica has been working closely with DOE on organizing the workshop and has provided detail of its members’ top research and development (R&D) priorities. The top R&D priorities as agreed to by the NGVAmerica Technology & Development Committee are as follows:

  • Improve natural gas engine efficiency
  • Increase the development of 0.02 g/b-hp NOx  certified engines
  • Develop lower emission engines and after-treatment systems
  • Develop and/or integrate smart mobility technologies for communication between CNG fueling stations and onboard vehicle fuel systems
  • Develop technologies for cost reduction of mid-scale CNG fueling compression equipment
  • Develop small scale liquefied natural gas production
  • Develop advanced methods of delivering consistent natural gas quality

NGVAmerica will be participating in the workshop at NREL and will share the results with its membership and the American Gas Association. Please feel free to contact Dan Bowerson (dbowerson@ngvamerica.org), Director of Technology & Development, with any questions on the workshop or R&D priorities.

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