Supporting Clients All Year Long: A CES 2021 Retrospective

by Nina Callanan in

By Nina Callanan, Director of Marketing

As yearend approaches, our natural – and human – tendency is to look back and reflect on the past year and to look forward to the turning of the calendar to plan, prepare, project, hope, and dream. For businesses, this cycle holds true as companies set aspirational, monetary, and budgetary goals that guide their future growth trajectory.

For Competitive Energy Services (CES), 2021 proved to be pivotal and weighty as we helped our clients navigate the unknown of a business and economic climate still in the throes of a once-in-a-century pandemic. Through the twists and turns of this year, we have stayed on top of market fluctuations and remained client focused – a steady, reliable presence.

Photo by allanswart

With the new year on the horizon, this extraordinary situation is top of mind for us each day as we continue to hold true to our mission and purpose of providing strategic energy management services for our clients to suit their unique needs.

As independent energy experts, CES enables clients to achieve their energy and sustainability goals. We take great pride in being innovative and providing our clients with customized services that take into consideration their unique requirements. Our story is our independence, our market expertise, and our focus on being long-term trusted partners to our clients. In 2021, we accomplished this through research and analysis, budgeting and tracking, new data related product development, advising clients on wise and prudent procurement strategies, meeting and conversing with you our clients and friends, and by relying on the expertise of our team to advise, direct, help, and support.

Through CES University, we also launched new content-related initiatives focused on pertinent energy topics of the day to better support and inform our clients on topics that impact day-to-day business operations and future growth. It’s an exciting time for us as we continue to do what we do best - listen to our clients’ needs and questions, while measuring what we hear against fluctuations in the commodities markets and external environment and advising accordingly.

We also recognize our clients’ need for valuable content and have taken major strides this year to share our energy expertise in this way. Our look back on 2021 focuses on the content we’ve created and shared with our clients, along with places we’ve gone, announcements we’ve made, highlights of our community charity efforts, and more.

CES Market Summary

Our longstanding, weekly Market Summary, which highlights key energy events, provides market analysis, and delivers a practical summary of current market conditions is designed to keep our clients ahead of the curve when it comes to their energy initiatives. Visit the CES website and sign up to receive the weekly Market Summary. In addition to the Market Summary, CES launched additional content offerings in 2021, which include the CES Insider, our monthly newsletter.

CES Insider

The CES Insider is a go-to CES online resource where you can find topical energy-related stories, information on CES product and service offerings, news announcements, case studies, videos, and profiles of our team of energy experts. Visit the CES website and sign up to receive the CES Insider.

The CES Insider spotlights the Market Summary and CES Insights, our monthly blog. CES Insights is a dedicated space where we will continue our commitment of sharing industry news and expertise with our clients and friends. Below is a recap of our 2021 CES Insights articles.

La Niña is Near: What Does That Mean for Energy Prices and Your Business? by Max Webb, Managing Director of Pricing Analytics and Zack Hallock, Energy Services Advisor, October 27, 2021

Join Managing Director of Pricing Analytics, Maxwell Webb, and CES Energy Services Advisor, Zack Hallock, as they dive into the basics of winter (defining the differences between “El Niño” and “La Niña”), weather predictions for winter 2021/2022, the impact on energy industry pricing, and what you can do to prepare.

Why Have Natural Gas Prices Increased So Much? by Keith Sampson, Senior Vice President, Energy Services and Chris Brook, Director of Natural Gas & Energy Services, September 30, 2021

CES energy experts Keith Sampson, Senior Vice President, Energy Services, and Chris Brook, Director of Natural Gas & Energy Services talk through the current market trends and commodity price fluctuations and share information on New England natural gas commodity costs.

Emissions Accounting: Purchasing & Retiring Supplemental RECs by Zac Bloom, Vice President, Head of Sustainability & Renewables, August 31, 2021

In this article, Zac Bloom, CES Vice President and Head of Sustainability & Renewables. expands our ongoing exploration into Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). Zac dives into emissions accounting and offsetting scope-2 emissions, with a deeper look at Green-e RECs, as well as the different options available for purchasing and retiring supplemental RECs, including VPPAs.

What Is a Renewable Portfolio Standard? by Sandy Beauregard, Director of Sustainability Services, July 29, 2021

In this article, our very own Sandy Beauregard, Director of Sustainability Services, covers the introduction and history of Renewable Portfolio Standards (also known as RPS), how suppliers meet RPS requirements, and the impact RPS has on consumers and the energy market.

Capacity Savings Opportunities for End Users in an Evolving Grid by Eben Perkins, Managing Director of Consulting Services, June 17, 2021

In our first installment of CES Insights, CES Managing Director of Consulting Services, Eben Perkins, discusses the importance of demand preparation for commercial, industrial, and institutional electric customers; the benefits of the CES Self-Help Program; and the potential savings this could have for you and your business.

CES Energy Intel

As part of the CES University content offerings, CES Energy Intel consists of a series of informational and educational videos created by our energy experts to provide additional training and support to our clients. These videos address the most common questions we receive from our clients, in addition to services we offer, and energy news perspectives. The following CES Energy Intel videos were produced in 2021 and address evergreen energy topics that impact businesses year after year. We encourage you to review them at your leisure and reach out to discuss how to approach your energy questions and needs in 2022.

ISO New England: Winter 2021/2022 Fuel Security featuring Eben Perkins, Managing Director of Consulting Services, October 29, 2021

Managing Director of Consulting Services, Eben Perkins, tackles an update on fuel security for the 2021/2022 winter season in the New England region. Through this segment, “ISO New England Winter 2021/2022 Fuel Security,” CES aims to provide informed insight on changes in the gas market over the last six months which directly affect future fuel security for our clients.

Photo by: Nicholas Doherty

What Is A REC? The Key Points featuring Simon Pritchard, Director of Analytics, August 25, 2021

In this CES Intel installment, Director of Analytics, Simon Pritchard, covers the key points of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). From the process of generating RECs in compliance with Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) to what you need to know about procuring renewable energy – including the cost and risk involved – this instructive piece provides you with the foundation needed to kick-start conversations about renewable energy goals.

Demand Response: What It Is and What It Means for You featuring Zack Hallock, Energy Services Advisor, June 3, 2021

Interested in preparing your business for Peak Season and helping your bottom line? In this installment of CES University, CES Energy Services Advisor, Zack Hallock, discusses Demand Response and what that means for you and your business during the warmer months of the year. The primary focuses of this video includes the ISO-NE Capacity Market, the basics of the Demand Response system, revenue and utility programs, the CES Self-Help program, and the overall value stack of these services. Join Zack as he explains it all!

Are You Ready for Peak Day? Beat The Heat with CES Self-Help featuring Elliot Boyd, Energy Services Advisor, May 3, 2021

As summer approaches each year and we enter the peak demand season for electricity in New England, CES recognizes that it is time for clients to start thinking about electricity use, especially as it relates to managing Peak Day electricity load. In this presentation, Energy Services Advisor, Elliot Boyd, walks viewers through the basics of Peak Day, while creating understanding of capacity charges in the Independent System Operator – New England (ISO-NE) capacity system. This presentation covers the fundamentals of Peak Day itself, the key determining factors in Peak Day 2021 (including COVID-19 and NE Solar Resources), and a quick look at CES’ Self-Help Program. It’s never too early to plan for Peak Day!

What’s Your Capacity? Forward Capacity Auction 15 featuring Eben Perkins, Managing Director of Consulting Services and Larry Pignataro, Associate Manager & Senior Energy Services Advisor, April 5, 2021

In "What's Your Capacity?," Eben Perkins, Managing Director of Consulting Services and Larry Pignataro, Associate Manager & Senior Energy Services Advisor discuss ISO New England's Forward Capacity Auction 15 (FCA15) for power system resources, which concluded in February. This CES University 10-minute video resource highlights final auction results and what they mean for reliable grid operations now and in the future. Through thought-provoking questions and analysis, Eben and Larry also share the impact on rate payers across the spectrum of energy users. Take a listen and learn more about what this means for you.

CES Webinars & Annual Seminar

Each spring, CES looks forward to hosting its annual energy seminar. It’s an opportunity for us to network and to hear direct feedback from our clients on issues and topics that concern them the most. The 2021 CES Annual Seminar focused on a commodity market update, electric reliability in ISO New England, and New England Trends in Renewable Energy. We want to thank everyone who participated in our seminar. We also look forward to hosting this event for our clients and friends in the spring of 2022. Information to follow in the new year!

As part of our CES Lunchtime Webinar Series, CES hosted Solar Development Updates in Maine, featuring Charlie Agnew, Managing Director of Energy Services. In this informative webinar on the hot topic of solar development in Maine, Charlie discusses L.D. 1711, which was passed by the State Legislature in June of 2019. The webinar addresses the buzz around state on the topic of solar, issues that will continue to challenge project development, how to choose a winning project, and more. Tune in to learn more about solar development now and in the future.

CES: On the Road

New this year to the CES University content offerings is CES Road Trip, a regular feature in our CES Insider newsletter. Through Road Trip, CES features various energy infrastructure projects – road trip style. We have always enjoyed visiting and learning about the physical energy infrastructure that powers our world. Our colleagues, family, and friends are often subject to detours on business trips and family vacations. We’ve seen and shared some beautiful and interesting locations this year…with more to come in 2022. For now, here’s a look back on the places we’ve seen this year.

Saddleback Ridge

While on a Maine-based family vacation this summer, President Andy Price and his crew visited the Saddleback Ridge Wind Project, located in Carthage, ME. Completed in 2015, the Saddleback Ridge Wind Project is a 34.2 MW, 12-turbine wind project which generates about 100,000 MWhs of renewable electricity each year. A rough but scenic 3-mile hiking trail leads over the summit of Bald Mt before ascending to the summit of Saddleback Ridge and a nice vantage point to view the Saddleback Ridge Wind Farm. Also visible from Saddleback Ridge is the 51 MW Record Hill wind project to the northwest and the 23 MW Canton Mountain wind project to the south. See our August CES Insider newsletter for the full story.

Pride Manufacturing

In mid-August, CES’ Managing Director of Energy Services Charlie Agnew, accompanied by Senior Pricing Associate Lydia Jopp, visited long-standing client, Pride Manufacturing Co LLC, located in Burnham, Maine. See our September CES Insider newsletter for the full story.

Photo by Charlie Agnew

City of Manchester – New Solar Array

On Monday, September 20, CES Energy Services Advisor Zack Hallock joined Manchester, New Hampshire Mayor Joyce Craig, representatives from the Manchester Department of Public Works, and key partners at a groundbreaking ceremony to launch the City of Manchester’s newest solar array. See our October CES Insider newsletter for the full story.

Ribbon Cutting for ECA Maine BET LLC

On October 14, Andy Price, CES President and COO and Charlie Agnew, Managing Director of Energy Services visited the first large solar array built by ECA Solar/Standard Solar under Maine’s expanded Net Energy Billing program and attended an official ribbon cutting event at the Bethel, Maine site. See our November CES Insider newsletter for the full story.

Special Announcement

In November, CES, along with AmherstBowdoinHampshireSmith, and Williams colleges and partner NextEra Resources jointly announced that the Farmington Solar Array -- one of the largest utility-scale solar power facilities currently in operation in New England – went online. CES acted as advisor to this group of higher education clients with the end goal of a joint renewable energy purchase.

Trade Show Wrap-Up

Each year, CES’ Energy Services Team represents the company at various trade shows in the region and our experts often speak on top-of-mind energy topics. This year was no exception. A mix of in-person and virtual, CES values these important partnerships, the connections made, and the opportunity to share the CES story. Below are some of the events we attended in 2021. Our thanks to these groups for their long-standing friendship and for the opportunity to be a part of their annual gatherings.  

Semiconductor Environmental Safety and Health Association (SESHA) – In May, CES Associate Manager & Senior Energy Services Advisor, Larry Pignataro, along with Steve Roberge of Axcelis Technologies, presented an “An Energy Project Case Study” based on the benefits of cogeneration to the attendees of the 43rd Annual SESHA Symposium.

Tri State Association of School Business Officials (Tri-State ASBO) While events were still held remotely in the early part of the year, CES Managing Director of Energy Services, Charlie Agnew, returned to the Tri-State ASBO Annual Conference remotely in May, holding down the fort and speaking with attendees in our virtual trade show booth about their energy needs and plans.

New England Healthcare Engineers’ Society (NEHES) – Our first in-person show returned in June as Energy Services Advisor, Zack Hallock, represented CES at the New England Healthcare Engineers’ Society (NEHES) annual spring Conference. Zack boldly stepped into some big shoes with this event, taking over our long-standing relationship with NEHES from CES veteran Energy Services Advisor, Paul Scordato, following his retirement.

Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (AIS) – Excited to be back on the trade show floor, CES Senior Vice President, Energy Services, Keith Sampson, and Associate Manager & Senior Energy Services Advisor, Larry Pignataro, joined our friends at the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools in November for their 2021 Business and Operations Conference.

Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) – A few short weeks after his last appearance, Larry Pignataro was at it once again, returning to the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) Annual Convention for our third year in a row, manning the CES booth, thankful to be meeting with clients and attendees in-person.

Charity Events

Northern Essex Community College Golf Tournament

CES sponsored and attended the Northern Essex Community College (NECC) Golf Tournament on August 30. Keith Sampson, Senior Vice President, Energy Services and Larry Pignataro, Associate Manager and Senior Energy Services Advisor represented CES on the green at the Renaissance Golf Club in Haverhill, MA. The proceeds of this event benefitted the NECC Athletic Program, which in turn sponsors 12 intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women. This tournament is a tradition for our team, and we look forward to joining again next year!

Pictured: Keith Sampson

15th Annual United Way Build a Community Golf Challenge

On September 13, we had the opportunity to unpack our golf clubs yet again by sponsoring and attending the 15th Annual United Way Build a Community Golf Challenge. CES Associate Manager & Senior Energy Services Advisor, Larry Pignataro, and Managing Director of Pricing Analytics, Maxwell Webb, were out on the green supporting this charity event. Tournament proceeds benefit the United Way of Southern Maine, whose mission is to improve people’s lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community. Thank you to United Way and Pratt & Whitney for hosting us!

Pictured: Larry Pignataro & Max Webb

Thank You...and See You in 2022!

As you can see, 2021 was quite a year. As always, our clients are our top priority and it’s a pleasure to work on your behalf each and every day. Thank you for your partnership and trust in us. We look forward to working with our clients in the new year, to forging new and long-lasting collaborations, and to sharing helpful information, stories, advice, and updates along the way.

We’re already planning our content calendar for 2022 and we have you in mind as we do so. Sign up today for our weekly Market Summary and monthly CES Insider newsletter so that you don’t miss a CES beat.

Meantime, from all of us here at Competitive Energy Services, we wish you and yours a happy holiday season and new year. See you in 2022!

 

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