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November 16th, 2012

Efficiency Maine Trust Large Efficiency and Distributed Generation RFP

by Andrew Price, President & COO

The Efficiency Maine Trust (EMT) has issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) for large electrical efficiency or distributed electric generation projects in the State. Perhaps less interesting to readers from outside of Maine, the RFP should be compelling reading for medium to large consumers of electricity in Maine. EMT has $4,000,000 to give away to the most competitive bidders under this RFP. Only two things are certain: (1) if you don’t apply you can’t win an award and (2) somebody else will make good use of this money! So if you are a large consumer of electricity in Maine, please keep reading.

The goal of the RFP is twofold: 1) reduce overall kWh energy usage by improving end-use efficiency and, 2) reduce peak kW demand loadings during the peak summer usage hours. All applicants must commit to at least a 50% match of funds. Grants, however, will be awarded on a competitive basis and a contribution of greater than 50% of a project’s cost will improve an applicant’s odds of success. The minimum and maximum grant size per proposal is $100,000 and $500,000 respectively. A single entity may submit multiple proposals but cannot receive more than $1,000,000 in the aggregate.

Proposals will specifically be scored on the following criteria:

(1) kWh savings. 35 points. The proposal that reduces the most kWhs per dollar of requested grant money will receive the full 35 points. All other proposals will be given a lower score in proportion to how their kWh reduction per dollar of grant money ratio compares to the best proposal.

(2) Summer peak kW demand reduction. 35 points. The proposal that reduces the most kW demand per dollar of requested grant money will receive the full 35 points. The kW demand reductions must come between 1pm and 5pm, Monday through Friday on non-holidays during the months of June, July, and August. All other proposals will be given a lower score in proportion to how their kW reduction per dollar of grant money ratio compares to the best proposal.

(3) Management and resource adequacy and readiness. 30 points. EMT makes a judgment call on how ready and capable an applicant is to complete and maintain the proposed project. 

(4) Comprehensive project bonus. 15 points. As specified in the RFP: “Projects that achieve more comprehensive energy savings using a blend of measures to capture all or a significant portion of the cost-effective energy efficiency opportunities at a facility will be considered for a comprehensive project bonus. This is not an opportunity to include measures that on their own are not cost-effective or proven, but rather an opportunity to present a portfolio of measures with varying degrees of cost-effectiveness.”

The EMT will not fund projects that have a payback of less than 1.5 years, these projects should succeed on their own merits without grant assistance. The EMT will also not fund projects that have paybacks in excess of 10 years, these projects should be passed up as long as there is the proverbial lower hanging fruit.

Any project that reduces both kWh energy and kW demand could potential qualify for the RFP. Examples of projects that would qualify include: lighting retrofits; variable frequency drives; industrial fans, pumps and grinders; compressed air systems; HVAC; and onsite electrical generation (such as solar PV or combined heat and power). Good luck to everyone who submits a proposal!

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