Supplier diversity is an issue that is coming up more frequently on conference agendas and in questions from state legislators and utility commissioners, as well as within energy efficiency businesses and utilities. This paper will explore efforts to increase supplier diversity for utilities through a comparative analysis of Midwest utilities’ and states’ supplier diversity initiatives. The different states within the region approach the diversification of the industry in various ways. Examining these diversification practices does not reveal a best practice - be it through state policy or a utility program - but does foster comparative analysis useful in examining the different approaches for achieving supplier diversity goals. It is important to note that supplier diversity initiatives are in their preliminary stages across the region. Some states are further along in the initiative than others and there is potential for an increase in these efforts. We included a discussion of workforce development to illustrate to the reader the similarities between the two and to emphasize the implications supplier diversity has on workforce development leading to diversification of the industry.
Presenter: Sophia Markowska, Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
The science and application of subsurface drip irrigation (SSDI) is long proven and seeing an increase in the scale and size of systems being installed. Producers show reserve due to high installation costs and uncertainty of how it may be managed or applied to their current farming system. A CO dairy felt that the risk of uncertainty was worth the investment and the benefits of SSDI over a traditional center pivot system includes a significant increase in corn tonnage yield, more efficient and reduced nutrient applications, and increased land/irrigation coverage. The poster will discuss the application of SSDI in an intensively managed corn silage production system. SSDI has proven to overcome concerns of compaction on high wheel traffic corn silage production. The system has effectively reduced tillage, incorporated cover crops and maximized manure application to assist with the farm nutrient management plan. A presentation of the costs/benefits of the system will be displayed.
Presenter: Gary Gilles, GDS Associates, Inc.
Gary Gilles is an energy analyst for GDS Associates Inc. and holds his Certified Energy Manager (CEM) license. Gary earned a B.S. in Sustainable Management from the University of Wisconsin – Stout in 2011 and an A.A.S in Electrical Engineering Technology from the Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 2005. Gary’s passion is sustainable agriculture and since 2011 has combined his passion for agriculture with years of military and private sector technical experience to assist producers in implementing various types of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on their farm. Over the years, Gary has assisted the implementation of several state and utility-based efficiency programs including the Colorado Agriculture Energy Efficiency Program and the Wisconsin Focus on Energy Agriculture Program. Finally, Gary is a certified technical service provider through the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and works with producers from several states around the country to develop Agriculture Energy Management Plans (AgEMP’s) for their operations.
Municipal and co-op utilities can be overlooked when it comes to energy efficiency, but from 2013-16 in MEEA's 13 states, small utilities saved 2.9 TWh of electricity, growing from 8% to 9.4% of total savings. Some states require EE programs from small utilities while others are voluntary. In any case, statutory and regulatory differences can mean that small utility EE plans and reports can be much less detailed than from large IOUs. From an advocacy view, this means we know much less about how small utilities in the Midwest administer and evaluate EE. To that end, we will survey small Midwest utilities about EE practices such as program administration, use of technical resource manuals (TRMs) and participation in stakeholder groups. This will help us gauge the potential for regional projects to facilitate small utility EE, such as measure databases, program templates or other info sharing/technical assistance. We will conduct the survey through summer 2018, with results by fall 2018.
Presenter: Gregory Ehrendreich, Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
Greg Ehrendreich is MEEA's Research Analyst, using data and analysis to support MEEA's policy activities. He joined MEEA in 2006. Prior to MEEA, his activities include studying pollution control and sustainable business, service and retail work, labor activism and several years of post-graduate study of cartilage and arthritis. Greg holds a BS in Biochemistry with a minor in Environmental Studies from Beloit College and an MS in Environmental Management from the IIT-Stuart School of Business.
Electric Utility Infrastructure (EUI) represents a large potential opportunity to achieve energy efficiency improvements. Minnesota is currently conducting studies to address EUI efficiency with two main goals: estimate the statewide potential for infrastructure efficiency improvements; and to understand the existing policy and regulatory framework surrounding EUI. The projects will produce specific policy recommendations to help drive implementation of cost-effective EUI improvements.
The projects include an extensive stakeholder engagement process to raise awareness and solicit feedback to inform the development of an action plan. The action plan will include recommendations for ways to improve the existing regulatory framework. Broad lessons learned will inform national energy efficiency efforts such as grid modernization, smart grid, renewables, and the evolving utility business model. Our proposed presentation to IES will summarize the findings of the two projects.
Presenter: Travis Hinck, GDS Associates
Travis Hinck provides technical expertise to GDS clients on energy efficiency issues. He currently manages two projects for the Minnesota Department of Commerce focused on Electric Utility Infrastructure and previously developed EUI TRM measures for MN. Travis is also on the energy efficiency program implementation for Ameren Illinois, where he reviews efficiency projects for technical accuracy and ensures the program complies with the IL Technical Reference Manual.