Incentivizing Energy Efficiency – Hawaii Opens Auction Bidding

Hawaii Energy is offering the state’s first auction to stimulate innovative and cost-effective energy efficiency projects.
Published: Fri 12 Sep 2014

Hawaii Energy, the ratepayer-funded energy conservation and efficiency program serving the islands of Hawaii, Lanai, Maui, Molokai and Oahu, is to pilot an energy efficiency auction with up to US$2.1 million in incentive funds.

Proposed projects must reduce energy consumption and deliver one or more of the following: 

● Improved cost-effectiveness compared to existing Hawaii Energy offerings

● Increased energy efficiency in high energy consumption and/or hard-to-reach geographic areas, or

● Mass installations of specific energy efficiency technologies or offerings.

“Since the inception of Hawaii Energy five years ago, we've made tremendous strides in saving ratepayers energy and money on their electric bills. However, there is still great untapped potential to expand our reach to help even more residents and businesses,” explained Ray Starling, program director at Hawaii Energy. “With our new Efficiency Auction, we're calling upon industry professionals to demonstrate their ingenuity and market savvy to bring additional energy-saving solutions to electric customers.”

The Auction is open to contractors, developers, energy efficiency solution providers, energy service companies (ESCOs), energy vendors and property managers.

Residential projects

The residential project category has been allocated over US$977,000 and projects will require a minimum incentive commitment of US$10,000. Both targeted projects focusing on specific target markets (residential or commercial) or specific technologies and new energy efficiency technologies not currently offered by Hawaii Energy are applicable.

The target markets include renters and hard-to-reach geographic areas. Specific technologies may include solar thermal water heaters for multi-family homes, LED lighting, smart thermostats, occupancy sensors and whole home monitors/energy management systems. 

Commercial projects

More than US$1.14 million is earmarked for commercial projects with a minimum incentive requirement of US$50,000 per selected project. 

The commercial target markets consist of professionally-managed housing (e.g. privately-managed communities or military housing), schools, healthcare, small businesses and restaurants, as well as businesses in hard-to-reach geographic areas. Specific technologies may include LED lighting, controls (e.g. lighting and building management systems), refrigeration/cold storage, kitchen equipment, Demand Response as an energy efficiency initiative, business submetering and re-commissioning/retro commissioning.

Project selection should be complete by October 17, with preference given to projects that can be completed by May 2015.

New energy efficiency initiatives

Hawaii Energy promised an expansion of its energy efficiency activities during 2014 to facilitate acceleration of the state’s transformation to more efficient, clean‐energy‐tolerant and customer‐accommodating electric grids. The Energy Efficiency Auction is just one of many upcoming energy efficiency initiatives currently under development.

According to Hawaii Energy’s 2014 plan, this first year auction pilot will be limited to awarding quick to implement measures and projects that fall within the program year, with the desire to evaluate and put into the planning cycle longer term projects that will be revealed by the process.

For 2014, the energy savings target has been set at 134.8 million kWh, exceeding the highest level of achieved annual savings to date and providing customers with US$526 million in savings over the life of measures.

Other activities planned for the year are collaborative engagement with utilities and others to identify and integrate energy efficiency and demand response capabilities, including identification of controllable loads, support for energy storage, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and effective time‐of‐use (TOU) rates. Also promised is an increased use of web‐based services and tools for customers.

Energy savings

Ongoing initiatives of Hawaii Energy include:

● Customized energy reporting for consumers, comparing a household’s usage with nearby homes and currently reaching more than 127,000 households. As of the start of 2014, the then 75,000 households in the program had saved an estimated 7.54 million kWh since May 2011.

● Refrigerator exchange program, which incetivizes consumers to replace old inefficient refrigerators and freezers. Since its start in August 2011 the program is estimated to have saved more 1.67 million kW and US$568,820 in electricity costs, with participants saving up to US$500 annually on their electricity bills.

In parallel with these activities the state’s utilities are moving ahead with plans to develop  a cleaner energy future for Hawaii. [Engerati-Hawaii – An Energy Future Based on Renewables And Smart Grid]

Hawaii Energy is administered by Leidos Engineering, LLC under contract with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.