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Determinants of Energy Use in Institutional Buildings: A Minnesota Example

Eric Hirst

Year: 1982
Volume: Volume 3
Number: Number 1
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol3-No1-4
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Abstract:
Energy use data are usually disaggregated by major end-use sector: residential, commercial, industrial, transportation. Generally speak-ing, data are weakest for the commercial sector, perhaps because this sector is often defined as a residual (i.e., that portion of the economy not included in the other sectors). However, energy use in commercial buildings accounts for about 15 percent of total U.S. energy use and is grow-ing more rapidly than energy use in other sectors. For example, commercial energy use amounted to almost 10 QBtu (10 EJ) in 1979; the average growth rate in commercial sector energy use was 1 percent per year between 1973 and 1979, compared with a growth rate of 0.3 percent per year for total U.S. energy use [1; 8].



The Economics of Utility Residential Energy Conservation Programs: A Pacific Northwest Example

Eric Hirst and Richard Goeltz

Year: 1984
Volume: Volume 5
Number: Number 3
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol5-No3-11
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Abstract:
The bottom line for any utility conservation program is its overall worth: whether program costs are justified by the value of the electricity savings. That is, are these programs worthwhile investments to utility customers that participate in the programs, customers that do not participate, the utility system, and society as a whole? How sensitive are estimates of program worth to the input parameters (program-induced energy savings, discount rates, future average and marginal electricity prices)?This paper discusses our assessment of program benefits and costs for the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) Residential Weatherization Pilot Program. Unlike other assessments, the present work is based on a detailed empirical evaluation of the program. We collected enough data from both program participants and nonparticipants to analyze the actual energy savings that could be attributed to the BPA program. We also obtained information on actual program costs. This information was used to compute the Net Present Worth (NPW) of the program from the perspectives of program participants, the BPA power system, and the Pacific Northwest region as a whole.



Energy and Economic Effects of Utility Financial Incentive Programs: The BPA Residential Weatherization Program

Eric Hirst

Year: 1987
Volume: Volume 8
Number: Number 2
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol8-No2-7
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Abstract:
Many electric utilities offer their residential customers substantial financial incentives (low-interest loans or rebates) to install energy-efficient equipment and building retrofit measures (Stern, Berry, and Hirst 1985). For example, the Tennessee Valley Authority gave zero-interest loans to almost 500,000 households between 1977 and 1985; these loans average almost $1000 each for installation of retrofit measures (TVA 1985). Pacific Gas and Electric Company spent almost $100 million on administrative and debt service costs for its residential retrofit loan program, in which about 500,000 households participated (California PLC 1984).



Flexibility Benefits of Demand-Side Programsin Electric Utility Planning

Eric Hirst

Year: 1990
Volume: Volume 11
Number: Number 1
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol11-No1-13
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Abstract:
Electric utilities face a variety of uncertainties that complicate their long-term resource planning and acquisition. Many utilities deal with these uncertainties by pursuing flexible strategies that allow changes to be made incrementally with little difficulty and at low cost. Thus, utilities today avoid construction of large, baseload power plants because of their long construction times and high capital costs. On the other hand, utilities view combustion turbines as flexible because they have small unit sizes, take only a few years to build, are inexpensive, and can later be converted to combined-cycle units (to increase capacity and improve performance). Energy-efficiency and load-management programs, because of their inherently small unit size and opportunities to adjust participation over time, are attractive for the same reasons.



Price and Cost Impacts of Utility DSM Programs

Eric Hirst

Year: 1992
Volume: Volume 13
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol13-No4-4
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Abstract:
More U.S. utilities are running more and larger demand-side management (DSM) programs. Assessing the cost effectiveness of these programs raises difficult questions for utilities and their regulators. In particular, should these programs aim to minimize the total cost of providing electric-energy services or should they minimize the price ofelectricity?Most of the debates about the appropriate economic tests to use in assessing utility programs do not address the magnitude of the impacts. As a result, questions remain about the relationships among utility DSM programs and acquisition of supply resources and the effects of these choices on electricity prices and costs. This study offersquantitative estimates on the tradeoffs between total costs and electricity prices. A dynamic model is used to assess the effects of energy-efficiency programs on utility revenues, total resource costs, electricity prices, and electricityconsumption for the period 1990 to 2010. These DSM programs are assessed under alternative scenarios for three utilities: a "base" that is typical of U.S. utilities; a "surplus" utility that has excess capacity, few planned retirements, and slow growth in fossil-fuel prices and incomes; and a "deficit" utility that has little excess capacity, many planned retirements, and rapid growth infossil-fuel prices and incomes. Model results show that DSM programs generally reduce electricity costs and increase electricity prices. However, the percentage reduction in costs is usually greaterthan the percentage increase in prices. On the other hand, most of the cost benefits of DSM programs can be obtained without raising electricity prices.



Simulating the Operation of Markets for Bulk-Power Ancillary Services

Eric Hirst and Brendan Kirby

Year: 1998
Volume: Volume19
Number: Number 3
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol19-No3-3
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Abstract:
The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requires electric utilities to offer six ancillary services. Most of the tariffs filed with FERC price these services on the basis of traditional cost-of-service (embedded) costs, Because most of these services are provided by generating units, however, it should be possible to create competitive markets for them. This paper describes, the structure of, and results from, a spreadsheet model that simulates markets for seven services: losses, regulation, spinning reserve, supplemental reserve, load following, energy imbalance, and voltage support. The model also analyzes, system control, although this service will continue to be provided solely by the system operator under cost-based prices. Developing this computer model demonstrated the likely complexity of markets for energy and ancillary services. This complexity arises because these markets are highly interdependent. For example, the cost of regulation (the frequent change in generator outputs to track the minute-to-minute fluctuations in system load) depends strongly on which units, are already being dispatched to provide energy and losses, their variable costs, and their operating levels relative to their maximum and minimum loading points.





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