SEATTLE — Mayor Mike McGinn has announced a new approach to helping commercial electric utility customers in Seattle achieve energy savings. He introduced a three-year pilot project that will test an energy conservation concept known as “pay for performance.”

“The city is looking for ways to help businesses be creative in their approach to saving energy,” McGinn said. “Rather than prescribing how businesses achieve energy savings, we will seek three commercial office buildings to partner with us in developing innovative and verifiable approaches for conservation.”

Seattle City Light plans to issue a request for proposals (RFP) early in November.

“City Light will provide financial incentives through annual payments for incremental energy savings, as opposed to a one-time rebate,” said City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco. “We are looking for partners who can create a modeling tool that can be replicated for future investments. We want to see greater energy savings based on our customers’ power use. City Light receives the benefit of actual delivered energy savings performance, with limited financial risk.”

When this pilot program starts, City Light believes it will be the only one of its kind in the country.

City Light is targeting three commercial office buildings in this initial pilot. Proposers can combine capital, operations and maintenance, and behavioral change activities in their responses. The utility will be reviewing the modeling tools used by customers or their partners to estimate energy savings. Energy savings achieved will qualify for incentives at 3 cents per kilowatt-hour. Customer participants will be responsible for documenting their energy-saving actions and reporting on a monthly basis with a detailed annual report summarizing key initiatives and results.

“Another benefit of this program will be the results that are generated,” said Stan Price, executive director of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Council. “City Light will be sharing information with other utilities and organizations in the region. This is great partnering approach for realizing some potentially significant energy savings.”

Publication date: 11/5/2012