In 2017, Research Into Action led a needs assessment study for the California investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to identify ways to improve the usefulness and usability of the California Evaluation Framework (the Framework) and to ensure it aligns with and continues to meet evaluation needs as the state’s clean energy policies and landscape evolve.
What we did
We, along with our subcontractor Navigant Consulting, completed three key activities for this study:
- An industry discussion at the 2017 California Efficiency and Demand Management Council (CEDMC) Spring Symposium
- A detailed policy review to see how policy decisions may affect evaluation requirements in the next five to ten years
- Telephone interviews with 45 California energy efficiency evaluation stakeholders, including: regulators, IOUs, community choice aggregators, regional energy networks, local government partnerships, evaluation and data analytics vendors, and third-party implementers
What we learned
The research identified needs pertaining to practical considerations such as future evaluation, measurement, and verification (EM&V) structure; roles and responsibilities; and the extent to which methodologies and protocols support emerging Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) and align with regulatory and utility priorities. The recommendations provide guidance on steps for the revisioning process and the key subjects it will need to address, including:
- Begin revising the Evaluation Framework as soon as possible and, because they are interrelated, include the Evaluation Protocols.
- Ensure the process is transparent and clearly designates roles and responsibilities to strategically engage new entrants (e.g., community choice aggregators, regional energy networks, and third-party implementers), and ensure these parties understand the guidance and can use it going forward.
- Convert the Framework and Protocols into a web-based document that includes an ongoing process for revision as the California Public Utilities Commission’s EM&V policy evolves.
- Address the following topics in the revision process: billing analysis, experimental design, behavioral programs, baselines, net-to-gross attribution, sampling and uncertainly, market transformation, codes and standards, and cost effectiveness.
California regulators will consider the findings from this needs assessment to optimize and update the Framework.
Read the full report here.