Sunday, May 15, 2016

POLB: 'Green Port of the Future’ Boosts Rewards for Energy Efficiency

April 26, 2016

Investing in energy efficiency at the Port of Long Beach is about to pay off more than ever.
Through a new incentive, the Port is increasing the benefits for tenants who replace their old, inefficient electrical equipment with new technology – and boost the overall sustainability, resilience and competitiveness of the Port in the process.
Effective April 1, Port tenants purchasing new lighting, climate control and other equipment eligible for rebates through two Southern California Edison (SCE) programs can apply for a matching rebate from the Port. The Port incentive is called the Energy Efficiency Rebate Match (EERM) Program.

“We’re giving our tenants another great reason to upgrade to high-efficiency equipment that helps the environment and their bottom line,” said Port CEO Jon Slangerup. “Their success equals our success.”

For more than a decade, SCE has rewarded its customers for using less electricity. In the case of commercial users, the utility’s core incentive programs are known as Express Solutions and Customized Solutions. The Port developed EERM to encourage tenants to participate by sweetening the deal with matching rebates. To introduce the new program, the Port will hold a workshop on Thursday, May 5, where Port and SCE representatives will explain how tenants can apply.

The matching incentive is the Port’s latest measure for accelerating energy efficiency strategies under its Energy Island Initiative, a comprehensive program for transitioning to renewable power sources and self-generation systems. By focusing on clean energy generation, conservation and power projects, the Port is seeking to become a sustainable energy network, or “island,” integrated with the grid, yet capable of supporting cargo operations during outages and emergencies.

“We’re launching the rebate program to cut energy demand prior to looking at new power generation,” said Heather Tomley, the Port’s Director of Environmental Planning.

Making the best and highest use of all electrical equipment reduces the amount of power tenants need to operate and increases the sustainability and resiliency of the entire Port complex, Tomley said. “Whether we’re talking about the electricity we use now or future energy demand, our best-practices approach includes finding the most economical ways to achieve our energy goals.”

A major driver of EERM and other Energy Island measures is the growing demand for electricity within the Port. Lease and regulatory clean air requirements – including California’s shore power rules requiring ships to plug in at berth to cut emissions – are increasing demand for electricity. Reducing consumption figures prominently in regional efforts to meet local, state and federal clean air targets, as well as the Port’s own goal of driving emissions down to zero.

The Port’s matching rebate will help get the word out about SCE incentives that few tenants have used to date, said SCE Senior Account Manager Damon Hannaman. “As the demand for electricity increases, the Port of Long Beach is leading the way to ensure port operations are cleaner and more sustainable.”

Rebate details

Approved March 28 by the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, EERM kicks off with a $500,000 budget. EERM rebates provided by the Port are capped at $50,000 per tenant and will be available on a first-come-first-served basis. In combination with SCE rebates, EERM funding will not exceed 100 percent of the project cost; however, it is possible for a tenant to receive a combined 100 percent rebate from the Port and SCE.

Eligible applicants are Port tenants with an active SCE electric service account and a lease, preferential assignment, or similar arrangement with the Port of Long Beach. Both SCE and EERM rebates are paid when the work is completed and the new equipment is operational.

Upgrades eligible for the EERM rebates are approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and listed in SCE’s Solutions Directory. Eligible equipment includes lighting; refrigeration; building improvements such as windows, flooring, ceiling and wall upgrades that minimize heat loss and reduce moisture; water heating; heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; office energy controls; motors and pumps; and processing equipment such as compressors and storage tanks.

“SCE does not endorse any specific product,” Hannaman said. “Many manufacturers have equipment that meets the energy efficiency standards of our programs.”

SCE’s Express Solutions program involves the purchase and installation of off-the-shelf equipment whose energy benefits are well documented. The utility’s rebates for this program are based on a per-unit incentive that the Port would match subject to certain limits. Replacing older lighting technologies with light-emitting diode (LED) lighting is a commonly used option and one likely to benefit Port tenants, Hannaman said.

The Customized Solutions program involves deploying the same CPUC-approved technology in a new way, with the rebate based on the actual energy and demand savings of the specific project. For example, large-scale use of HVAC systems or compressors could qualify, but additional evaluation may be required to determine whether the application meets SCE’s energy efficiency goals for the rebate.

Likewise, energy efficiency upgrades must meet Port requirements to qualify for the matching rebate and may be subject to the Port’s permitting process. Some equipment, such as induction and flood lighting, qualifies for SCE rebates but is not eligible for the Port incentive.

Overall efficiency gains and cost benefits will depend on current energy usage and the type of upgrade. With upgraded lighting, for example, only half as much power may be needed to light the same area, Hannaman said.

Additionally, SCE offers an On-Bill Financing program with an interest-free loan repaid with the customer’s monthly savings.

Groundwork for a greener future

The Port and SCE have established a framework for streamlining projects eligible for the complementary rebates. They also are collaborating on technical support to help tenants assess their energy usage and the opportunity to lower consumption and cost, which includes free energy audits. “This program is supported by the combined resources and expertise of our technical staff and consultants,” Tomley said.

Total Terminals International (TTI) Inc., which operates the 380-acre container terminal on Pier T, participated in an initial energy audit to help the Port and SCE develop a template for assessing the energy supply and demand of a marine terminal. TTI Director of Special Projects Kevin Nicolello said he and other terminal operators look forward to the rollout of the EERM.

“Everyone is looking at bigger ships, bigger cranes and automation, and that means more power,” said Nicolello, adding that TTI appreciates the opportunity to work with the Port, SCE and their experts to help launch EERM.

Long-term planning is crucial in the case of container terminals, which invest heavily in their operations, Nicolello said. “The Port is definitely moving in the right direction. We’re glad to partner with them to do whatever is needed to run a cleaner, more competitive operation.”

SCE and the Port also collaborated on a high-mast LED demonstration project with SSA Marine at Pier A. Pending the results and CPUC approval, the equipment project may be eligible for SCE’s Express Solutions program, which typically has higher rebate values. Currently, high-mast LED lighting is subject to the Customized Solutions program with rebates calculated on a per-kilowatt-hour savings basis.

For now, the Port’s rebate program is focused on commercially available energy efficiency solutions. However, the collaboration sets the stage for working with SCE on more ambitious port-specific projects, which could include microgrid and energy generation technologies.

“Our success has always been rooted in collaboration,” Tomley said. “Building on those relationships is central to achieving our Energy Island goals."


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