Stuck in Silos

We operate in silos and it’s confining. The clean energy landscape consists of many separate corridors pigeonholing energy efficiency from renewable energy, solar from wind and even solar from solar. The result is splits not only among technologies but also with policies, government programs, codes, training, and even conferences.

It is not unusual that energy efficiency and renewable energy programs for utility customers are designed and implemented without coordination between the two. The benefits of routine integration of distributed renewable energy and energy efficiency programs could be significant by coupling reduced consumption with on-site or near-site generation.

Government and private funding streams often focus on one or the other instead of supporting or even demanding a unified approach. Conferences focus on one renewable technology or on energy efficiency or building retrofits, missing the opportunity to optimize the synergies that could be created with a blended agenda and trade show.

Positioning energy efficiency and renewable energy as a single major strategy and plan is not a new idea, but is slow in happening. It’s time to pick up the pace (what do you say, Mr. Sklar?)

At IREC, we are taking some steps in this direction. For the past few years, we have made a concentrated and successful effort to expand our credentialing program to cover weatherization, energy efficiency and renewable energy training.

Starting this year, we have created a new category in our National i-Awards for Best of 2013 Closing the Divide projects, looking for innovative and inventive ways of bridging renewable energy and energy efficiency (The i-Awards application can be found here and are due by July 1.)

IREC has taken a leadership position on ANSI’s Energy Efficiency Standardization Coordination Collaborative, Working Group 5. And we have some other ideas and action steps on the drawing board.

In keeping with the spring spirit of blossoming ideas, IREC has been busy publishing some of the most thoughtful papers and updated best practices.

  • IREC’s revised Interconnection Model Procedures came out in April.
  • In May came another report –  Unlocking DG Value: A PURPA-based approach to promoting DG growth – ways to accurately reflect many of the positive contributions of distributed generation.
  • A concept paper was released last week on Integrated Distribution Planning, describing a proactive approach for accommodating high penetrations of distributed generation resources.
  • The 2012 PV Solar Installation Market Trends Report will be out at the end of the month.
  • And, we’re working hard on other reports and revised models.

Do keep checking our new, improved and way cool web site for more news and tools that help us shape our future with clean energy.

Talk with you soon.

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