December 2011
Interview

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Brendan OwensEMAIL INTERVIEW - Brendan Owens, Ross Malme and Ken Sinclair

Brendan Owens, LEED AP, P.E., Vice President, LEED Technical Development, USGBC

Brendan is USGBC’s vice president of LEEDŽ technical development. In this role, Brendan collaborates with volunteer technical committees to evolve and refine USGBC’s LEED Green Building Rating System. During his time at USGBC, Brendan has led development activities for several LEED rating systems including the most recent LEED 2009 technical updates.

Ross MalmeRoss Malme, Partner, Member, Skipping Stone

Ross is an Owner, Partner and Member of the Skipping Stone Board of Directors.  Ross joined Skipping Stone in May of 2011 and leads their Smart Grid and Demand Response Practice.  This practice includes leading Skipping Stone's engagement with the US Green Building Council (USGBC) which is enabling LEED points for commercial buildings participating in wholesale and retail electricity demand response programs.




Demand Response Partnership Program (DRPP)

The program relies and builds on the infrastructure already in place thanks to previous efforts of wholesale electricity market participants, utilities, commercial buildings and solution providers to increase grid reliability, reduce energy costs to commercial buildings and provide positive environmental outcomes.


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Sinclair:  Why are the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) launching the Demand Response Partnership Program (DRPP)?

Owens:  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the US Department of Energy (DOE) have identified that increased participation by the demand side of the electricity market sector is critical to ensure reliability of the electricity grid, mitigate price volatility in the market, provide peaking capacity resources when the grid is under stress and to help balance the grid as we continue to replace older and less efficient fossil generation resources with renewable energy resources like wind and solar. Approximately one-third of the U.S. power grid load is attributable to the commercial building community. The DRPP has been created to utilize an unprecedented conduit to commercial buildings – USGBC’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program – to introduce demand response to an underutilized segment of the market and drive adoption of DR in commercial buildings.  The program relies and builds on the infrastructure already in place thanks to previous efforts of wholesale electricity market participants, utilities, commercial buildings and solution providers to increase grid reliability, reduce energy costs to commercial buildings and provide positive environmental outcomes.

Sinclair:  What are the goals and objectives of the Demand Response Partnership Program?

Owens:  USGBC, EDF and the participants in the DRPP expect to:
•    Drive adoption of demand response in commercial buildings
•    Facilitate the active participation of buildings in grid reliability and smart grid initiatives
•    Document the grid reliability and environmental benefits of demand response
•    Provide education, best practices, business cases and customer adoption research to both the building and energy communities
•    Develop a stronger relationship between the building and energy communities
•    Road test the new LEED demand response credit prior to full adoption in 2012

Sinclair:  How might commercial building owners, utilities, solution providers and program sponsors potentially benefit from participating in the DRPP?

Owens:  The program has been set up to leverage existing infrastructure rather than reinvent duplicative systems.  The program builds on what the DR market is already good at but expands opportunities in the commercial building sector.  Participants can expect to see benefits similar to those that motivate their current participation in DR markets.  Additionally, we hope to be able to deliver:

for Commercial Buildings:

•    Recognition and promotion of company leadership in the USGBC community
•    Demand Response revenues from wholesale electricity markets and utilities
•    Energy efficiency , power quality and other energy related operational improvements
•    Potential external funding of any CAPEX requirements
•    Better control and visibility of how buildings use energy
•    LEED demand response training and education for your staff
•    Opportunity to road test the new LEED demand response credit

for Utilities :
•    Assistance from USGBC to build demand response customer base in the commercial sector
•    Case studies and other customer education materials for use in promoting demand response
•    Full access to and collaboration on adoption research data, including: identification of barriers to customer participation and feedback to streamline and improve your existing demand response programs and operations
•    LEED demand response training and education for your staff
•    Opportunity to use DRito meet mandated state regulatory or ISO threshold targets
•    Avoidance of purchasing high priced wholesale market power during peak demand periods
•    Reduction in the need to build or contract for peak generation
•    Potential to demonstrate demand response as part of the solution for intermittent renewable grid management

for Solution Providers and Program Sponsors:
•    Revenue from demand response programs and technology sales
•    Ability to introduce other products and services from program-generated leads
•    Potential for building audit service revenues
•    Access to and potential opportunity for collaboration on significant market research to help shape product and service offerings and streamline customer sales and implementation processes
•    LEED demand response training and education for your staff
•    Recognition and promotion of company leadership in the USGBC community and demand response markets
•    Ability to utilize customer education, lessons learned and best practices materials to assist in shaping and planning for your own products, programs or market initiatives

Control Solutions, Inc Sinclair:  What are USGBC’s future plans for working more closely with the energy industry on Demand Response, Energy Efficiency and Smart Grid?

Owens:  This program is the first coordinated step onto the other side of the energy meter with LEED.  USGBC and EDF have already identified several follow-up opportunities which are or will be explored in the future that continue to leverage LEED as the “go to market strategy” for these other opportunities.  While our current focus is on successful execution of the DRPP and DR market pilots, we are already having conversations about forward pricing of energy efficiency, micro-grids and distributed generation (to name only a few of the ideas we’ve been talking about).  Over the next several years, USGBC will continue to seek opportunities to use LEED as a conduit to introduce these new and innovative ideas to a user base we know is motivated and capable.  With emerging technology and a customer base that is significantly more aware of both opportunities and the value these opportunities represent, we expect LEED users to be the vanguard of an integrated and mutually beneficial partnership between buildings owners/managers and the energy community.

Sinclair:  Some people have said that Smart Grid represents an opportunity that is potentially as big as the Internet itself to the energy and buildings communities. Can you elaborate what this means?

Malme:  For the last century our solution to growing electricity consumption and peak demand growth has been to simply build more generation and infrastructure capability. That model is no longer sustainable. Globally we now recognize we must embrace a “conservation culture”. The electricity industry is one of the last to enter the digital age. Electricity is a unique product in that it must be generated and consumed at the same instant. With the technology available today we recognize that the demand side can provide resources to the grid faster, cheaper and greener in most cases than any supply side solution. Once we recognize how significant a resource the demand side can be to the grid we feel the innovation which will be occurring on the customer side of the meter is only limited to our imagination and creativity. Machine to machine interfaces from the grid to buildings will create myriad new products and services to both the building and energy communities. We feel this project can be a major catalyst to accelerate that industry trend.

Sinclair:  What are three things building owners can do to prepare themselves for engaging in smart grid and demand response?

Malme:  (1)    Utilize the resources available to gain a better understanding of the opportunity. A few we would recommend are:

•    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) National Action Plan on Demand Response
•    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories (LBNL) Demand Response Research Center
•    New York Energy Research and Development Authority
•    Various newsletters and articles such as Restructuring Today, Smart Grid Today, Smart Grid News
•    Industry publications by the LEED DR Partnership team (contact us)

(2)     Access online resources such as the National Demand Response Directory, www.nationaldrdirectory.com which lists essentially all wholesale and retail demand response programs available to commercial buildings in the US. This will give a good overview of what DR opportunities are available for individual buildings

(3)    Become familiar with the USGBC Demand Response LEED Pilot Credit and contact your local electric utility or retail energy provider to determine how LEED can be incorporated into their demand response offer to you. Additional information is also available from USGBC or Skipping Stone at our Web sites at www.usgbc.org and www.skippingstone.com.

About USGBC
The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. With a community comprising 79 local affiliates, 16,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 162,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product from 2009-2013. USGBC leads an unlikely diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, and teachers and students. Visit usgbc.org.

About Skipping Stone
Skipping Stone is a different kind of energy consulting company. All of our resources have worked in the energy industry and now choose to consult. Our specialty is collaborating with clients on ideas, strategies and tactics and then providing the array of complementary services required to turn those ideas into successes. From the drawing board to the P&L, we measure every engagement based on our clients’ success metrics. Visit www.skippingstone.com.


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