Utilities traditionally have paid (and continue to provide) financial incentives for the modernization of equipment (upgrades or retrofits for lighting, drives, etc.) to improve energy efficiency. In the last several years, utilities have also compensated companies to curtail load during critical peak hours through demand response and other programs.
With the increased availability and affordability of meters and software, it would make sense for utilities to provide energy management software as well to drive efficiency. At the end of the day, the utility should be indifferent to the program details if the program provides guaranteed savings. The use of, say, LED lighting or the deployment of energy management software that drives energy savings via behavioral changes should be equally valuable to the utility as long as savings are verified.
We have seen few examples of custom utility incentives for energy management software, but no programs. This appears to be a changing. While this trend is still very early, here are several examples:
- NV Energy offers cloud-based software from Building IQ to its large commercial customers, like Vegas hotels, in exchange for participating in demand response programs
- PG&E is working with C3 Energy to provide energy analytics to its largest customers
- Canadian-based FortisBC, as part of its EnerTracker program, gives qualifying gas customers the choice of using energy management software from Pulse Energy or Energent for up to three years at no cost
For companies, this is a promising trend in utility commercial and industrial programs. Let us know you're your thoughts or if you know of similar C&I utility programs.