TVA recently announced that it would award United Way of Bradley County a $3.75 million Extreme Energy Makeover Grant, to retrofit at least 300 homes in low-income neighborhoods. The grant, which is part of TVA’s Smart Communities program, aims to achieve a 25 percent reduction in each home’s electric energy usage through cost-effective, whole-home retrofits.
Cleveland Utilities will join Impact Cleveland as part of the makeover team, which also includes the Cleveland Housing Authority, CLEAResult, and the City of Cleveland. Home Depot and Habitat for Humanity will also provide support for the program, which is due to launch in April of 2016. Homeowners interested in learning more about the program can call 1-844-615-8321.
TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs, in conjunction with its subrecipient Clean Energy Solutions, Inc., has been providing no-cost technical assistance to the Cleveland Housing Authority since September 2014. This assistance has been provided under its U.S. DOE State Energy Program Competitive Award, “Stimulating Energy Investment in Local Jurisdictions, K-12 Public Schools and Public Housing Authorities,” and hopes to leverage a portion of the TVA Extreme Energy Makeover grant funding towards an Energy Savings Performance Contract for the Public Housing Authority, which will amplify the impact and energy savings of the funding.
Energy savings performance contracting (ESPCs)
An ESPC is a comprehensive agreement in which an energy services company (ESCO) performs an investment grade energy audit, and then develops, designs, arranges financing for, installs, and often operates and maintains energy- and water-saving improvements for a customer, such as a state, public housing authority, or local government. Unlike the conventional design-bid-build process of purchasing energy-efficiency improvements, which can require separate solicitations and contracts, an ESPC allows for a comprehensive approach to energy and water savings that is more desirable and cost effective than a single measure approach. The crucial benefit of energy performance contracting is that the agency can use future avoided costs from utility bills generated by the project to pay off the original investment, plus financing and maintenance costs, over the term of the contract, which can be up to 15 years.
Annual energy savings are contractually guaranteed by the ESCO. To ensure accountability, all ESPCs include a formal measurement and verification (M&V) plan that specifies procedures the ESCO must follow to demonstrate that the installed energy conservation measures are delivering the guaranteed savings. If the savings guarantee is not met in a given year, the ESCO must pay the agency the difference between the guaranteed amount and the actual verified amount. This savings guarantee places the risk of performance on the ESCO, not the agency.
Stimulating Energy Investment in Tennessee
Tennessee’s program, which officially launched in July of 2014, includes work to engage local officials in the benefits of energy efficiency and to provide free technical assistance related to cost-effective energy efficiency measures, such as building audits, Requests for Qualifications to qualify ESCOs, benchmarking, measurement and verification of energy savings, and procurements. In particular, the project helps local officials to explore energy efficiency financing options such as energy savings performance contracting, utility incentives, and utility bill repayments. The project period for this award program runs through early 2017. For more information, visit http://tn.gov/environment/article/energy-doe-state-energy-program-2013-competitive-award.