Decarbonizing the power sector requires a multi-faceted approach that includes distributed generation, technology research, and demand management. Frontier’s understanding of how these technologies can reduce dependence on electrical generation and fossil fuels informs our work on client policies and programs. Our innovative program design and implementation services drive success in utility efficiency programs nationwide.
Frontier designed and implements the SMARTSource Solar Photovoltaic Program, a market transformation initiative for AEP Texas Central Company (TCC) and Texas North Company (TNC). Residential and commercial customers can receive financial incentives to reduce the up-front costs of PV installations. The successful program has increased the number of participating contractors and decreased the average installed cost of systems.
Since 2006, Frontier Energy has operated the NYSERDA Distributed Generation (DG) Integrated Data System website that presents hourly-performance data for more than 200 CHP, ADG, photovoltaic/solar and other renewable projects. We collect data from hundreds of DER sites each night and upload it to our databases. The DER website shows hourly performance data, facility characteristics data, emissions measurements, and operational and reliability data. Visit the website.
Frontier Energy designed and built the Deemed Savings Engine (DSE), which allows utilities to centrally maintain and implement deemed savings instead of multiple Technical Resource Manuals. DSE is deployed in Texas, Arkansas, and New Mexico to implement each respective state’s TRM for subscribing utilities’ programs and is seamlessly integrated a dozen program tracking systems. Since adopting the Deemed Savings Engine, utilities report decreased administrative time and increased calculation consistency. Visit the Enertrek website.
Sponsored by EPRI, Frontier developed a user-friendly spreadsheet model to analyze technical and economic potentials for electricity energy efficiency improvements among a given population. The spreadsheet engine allows for automatic incorporation of additional measures, calculates additional cost-effectiveness tests, and allows users to filter measures to estimate economic potential for up to three scenarios.
A pair of DOE-funded projects, Technology Solutions for Wind Integration in ERCOT, sought to determine how rate structures, residential rooftop solar, and car charging influenced residential energy consumption. Frontier Energy designed innovative pricing models and other tools to shift electricity use. Rigorous statistical analyses showed that pricing signals, technology-based tools and feedback to customers drove positive and persistent behavioral change.
Transportation is largest direct source of greenhouse gas emission ins the U.S., mostly CO2 produced by combustion of fossil fuels. Frontier provides planning, outreach, and education to increase adoption of zero-emission cars, trucks, and buses. Municipal goals, like reducing vehicle miles traveled and serving low-income communities, play an important role in our work.
For East Bay Community Energy, the Frontier team is developing plans for individual municipal fleets to transition to electric vehicles over a period of years. We are working with fleet managers to assess vehicles and vehicle use patterns, parking locations, and building energy use to recommend specific plans that include charging stations and potential need for additional DER and energy storage to offset demand from car and truck charging.
Frontier Energy developed a blueprint and planning tools to implement the City of Sacramento’s EV Strategy, providing a detailed roadmap for the City to achieve 75,000 EVs by 2025; identifying ideal locations to achieve equitable access for EV charging and car sharing; identifying goals for EV workforce development, shared vehicle ownership, and new mobility programs; and recommending reach codes and zoning ordinances that could encourage more charging infrastructure. As a result of regular public engagement throughout the process, the planning commission approved all recommendations and the City is poised for additional projects. Read the reports at http://www.cityofsacramento.org/EV.
Sacramento Metro AQMD commissioned Frontier Energy to create a regional plan that targets adoption of fuel cell and battery electric vehicles by high-mileage drivers. We conducted a thorough analysis of how super-commuters, livery drivers, service workers, trucks, and transit buses moved throughout a six-county region that includes large rural areas, and then recommended locations for DC fast charging plazas and hydrogen stations. The interactive map and all data is available at zevreadiness.frontierenergy.com.
Frontier Energy partnered with Purpose for an electric-vehicle tour from California to New York over 10 days in September 2018 to highlight the stories of the people, cities and emerging technologies that are fulfilling America’s Pledge on climate change, creating jobs and economic prosperity while reducing climate pollution and ensuring our country’s clean energy future. Financed by several climate-focused foundations, the 2,906-mile road trip generated millions of online interactions through Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and a series on FunnyorDie.com. Visit the New American Road Trip website.
CaFCP is a public/private collaborative formed in 1999 to bring hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to the commercial market. Since 2000, Frontier Energy has provided staffing and management for the organization’s activities and its showcase headquarters in West Sacramento. Staff conduct highly successful outreach, social media, and educational campaigns aimed at stakeholders, transit agencies, legislators, and consumers. We create education and outreach materials for a variety of audiences, from students to senators and coordinate and staff events including ride & drives, auto shows, trade conferences, community festivals, and press conferences. Visit the CaFCP website.
Residential and commercial buildings use large quantities of energy for heating, cooling, lighting, and food preparation. Frontier understands how electrification and efficiency can help decarbonize residential and commercial buildings. Our work on codes and standards, and extensive lab and field testing of innovative technologies, integrated design, load-shifting, and zero net energy identifies opportunities and barriers for all-electric and mixed-fuel buildings.
Frontier Energy’s engineering team updates the Building Energy Efficiency Standards codes single-family and low-rise multifamily residential and appliances in Parts 6 and 11 for California’s State Building Codes. The team draws on their expertise in the current code cycle and plans for the next cycle to help cities with local reach codes—those that are more-stringent than the state code but must prove to be cost-effective. Recent reach codes studies include cost-effectiveness of all-electric new construction and requiring above-code solar to offset car charging in multifamily buildings.
The Honda Smart Home is a living ZNE laboratory built to evaluate and optimize advanced integrated systems and understand their impact on the grid. Frontier Energy and UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center designed the house’s mechanical systems and recommended building materials to reduce energy demand. In 2016, the house producing more energy over the year than the residents used for living and vehicle charging. Frontier’s engineers continue to collect data and evaluate performance of technologies and advanced systems. Data is available to the public at www.hondasmarthome.com.
In 2007, Frontier implemented CenterPoint Energy’s targeted low-income energy efficiency program. We continue to innovate the program to reduce administrative expenses, improve competitiveness, and increase participation by energy efficiency service providers. Most recently, we partnered with CPE for a program aimed at low-income residents in older, all-electric multifamily housing. Program participants and project sponsors give glowing feedback and thanks, citing their happy customers’ reduced energy use and lower energy bills.
For the nine-county BayREN, Frontier designed and implements the Multifamily Building Enhancements, which offers cash rebates and no-cost energy consulting for multifamily properties. Frontier Energy simplified the rebate approach with an “interest form” that applicants complete. Our specialists then call property owners to guide them through the application process, and then reviews submitted applications and approves them for rebate payment. By December 2019, BayREN’s Multifamily program had completed projects for 37,130 units with an average of 16% in energy savings and over $27.8 million in rebates processed. Visit the program website.
For more than 30 years, Frontier Energy’s commercial foodservice group has conducted on-site assessments of restaurants, institutional kitchens, and other commercial facilities on behalf of utilities nationwide. The team shows kitchen managers and chefs behavior changes that can immediately reduce energy, water, and waste, and follows up with a written report that includes recommendations for rate structures, equipment replacement, and design changes that can reduce costs and improve indoor air quality. Visit our www.fishnick.com.
Direct emissions from industry make the sector the third-largest source of greenhouse gases in the U.S. Combined heat and power (CHP) systems helped reduce energy use across industrial sectors. Process improvements can reduce energy needs and, therefore, greenhouse gas emissions. Frontier’s experts work with utilities and industrial facilities to evaluate the feasibility of CHP, help design facilities that use less energy and water, and implement behavior changes that achieve immediate benefits.
On behalf of CenterPoint Energy customers, Frontier’s Energy Insight certified energy auditors visit facilities to conduct a Natural Gas Energy Analysis. Auditors inspect the building envelope and natural gas equipment to identify opportunities to save energy and lower costs. After the audit, the owner/resident receives a written report with specific energy-saving recommendations, projected energy and cost savings, available rebates, and estimated payback. Visit the program website.
When Involta designed a world-class data center in Boise, Frontier’s Energy Insight was at the table to identify and evaluate options that would save energy, lower operating costs, and qualify for utility rebates and other incentives. In additional to modeling, Energy Insight’s engineers visited similar facilities to understand methods of operation. By understanding how the people work with the equipment, the team’s recommended design is estimated to save 866,431 kWh annually, reducing the electric bill by about $54,000 a year.
The Emerging Technologies Program (ETP) is a collaborative of North American utilities focused on accelerating cutting-edge energy efficiency technologies. Frontier Energy supports ETP with member outreach and engagement, event planning, website maintenance, and educational resource development. We also developed a CRM to successfully increase member engagement and ensure that members received the important information they needed.
As a NYSERDA technical review contractor, Frontier Energy performed technical assistance review for performance-based incentives for central chiller systems, unitary HVAC upgrades, VFD application for pumps and fans, and lighting retrofit projects. Frontier Energy staff reviewed 145 performance-based energy conservation projects, with total annual electrical savings of 74 million kWh, peak demand savings of 12.9 MW, and annual fossil fuel savings of 298,000 therms. Frontier recommended incentives totaling nearly $9 million.
Currier Plastics, founded in 1982, expanded its operations to a 128,000-square-foot facility in Auburn, New York. The owners embarked on a smart growth project to be as energy efficient as possible. Frontier Energy helped Currier by evaluating energy savings potential from chilled water systems, lighting systems, and injection mold and blow mold equipment. Our team also helped Currier apply for, and receive, incentives from NYSERDA. To date, Currier has saved 3,611,216 kWh/year and realized $433,000 in incentives.
America’s 2.1 million farms generated $194.4 billion in cash crops in 2015, and $162.9 billion in animals and animal products, with exports of $133 billion. Agriculture is also responsible for about 9% of GHG emissions, although most are tied to animals and crops. Frontier works with farms, dairies, ranches, and food processors to optimize equipment, optimize performance of biodigesters, and design demand response programs to control the human-caused GHG emissions.
Critz Farms is an “agritainment” farm in upstate New York that grows pumpkins, apples, berries, and conifer trees and invites families to harvest the agriculture. To reduce the farm’s annual energy use Frontier Energy evaluated the cider mill’s tasting room, production room, warehouse, cold storage, brew house, kitchen, and cidery, and a separate barn with commercial foodservice equipment. Based on the audit, Frontier recommended measures that amounted to total annual savings of more than 7,000 kWh—26% of the cider mill’s total electric usage and 33% of the barn’s total electric usage.
NYSERDA brought Frontier Energy in to conduct a detailed energy audit at Renner Farm, a small dairy in upstate New York. We evaluated the tie-stall barn that contained the milk house, shop, shed, garage, and house to evaluate the potential for energy efficiency improvements. The farmer was specifically interested in LED lighting upgrades. We recommended several cost-effective measures that will save about 13,000 kWh, which is 24% of the farm’s total electric usage.
Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS)—capturing carbon dioxide from power plants and then depositing it where it will not enter the atmosphere—can play a major role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For more than 15 years, Frontier Energy has shepherded studies and pilots for CCS through industry collaborations at WESTCARB and C2SAFE.
Led by EPRI, the California CO2 Storage Assurance Enterprise (C2SAFE) project conducted pre-feasibility work for commercial-scale geologic CO2 storage in the Southern San Joaquin Valley of California. Frontier Energy helped research and write the CO2 source characterization and capture techno-economics report and the implementation plan report and led the integrated scenario analysis report. Along with other members of the C2SAFE team, Frontier Energy conducted outreach to industry stakeholders and policymakers, holding meetings in Sacramento and Bakersfield. These efforts laid the groundwork for a Phase II submission to DOE.
From 2003 to 2014, Frontier Energy conducted outreach for the West Coast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (WESTCARB) project. Frontier staff organized and ran WESTCARB’s annual business meetings, including field tours to power plants and drill sites; wrote, designed, and produced collateral, website, and videos for target audiences; exhibited at international technical conferences and DOE program reviews; staffed community meetings in support of WESTCARB field projects; and participated in science teacher training workshops on climate change and mitigation options. Visit the WESTCARB website and YouTube channel.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR AESP
On February 18, 2020 Frontier Energy’s Chris Bradt moderated “Signs on the Road to Electrification,” a panel at the Association for Energy Service Professional’s (AESP’s) 30th Annual Conference. Panelists Katie Sloan from Southern California Edison, Panama Bartholomy from the Building Decarbonization Coalition, Chad Asay from Sonoma Clean Power, and David Jacot from Los Angeles Department of Water and Power recommended the following resources for additional information.
California PUC building decarbonization proceeding
Information and links for the CPUC’s rulemaking on building decarbonization (R.19-01-011). The proposed scope of the rulemaking includes: 1) implementing California SB 1477; 2) potential pilot programs to address new construction in areas damaged by wildfires; 3) coordinating CPUC policies with Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards and Title 20 Appliance Efficiency Standards; and 4) establishing a building decarbonization policy framework.
SCE Pathway 2045
This website links to the SCE Pathway 2045 White Paper and outlines SCE’s 2019 data-driven analysis of the steps that California must take to meet the 2045 goals to clean our electricity grid and reach carbon neutrality.
A Roadmap to Decarbonize California Buildings
Released by the Building Decarbonization Coalition in 2019, this roadmap lays out a plan for the state to cut building emissions 20 percent in the next six years and 40 percent by 2030 – and to adopt zero-emission building codes for residential and commercial buildings by 2025 and 2027, respectively.
E3 Study: Residential Building Electrification in California
A study of the consumer economics, greenhouse gases, and grid impacts of gas fired versus electric technologies and appliances in residential buildings in California.