Eric Christensen Quoted in Utility Dive on Seattle's Energy Efficiency Pilot

Of Counsel Eric Christensen (Seattle) was quoted in a January 28 article in Utility Dive titled "Seattle to Test Paying for Commercial Building Efficiency through Long-Term PPAs." The article focuses on Seattle City Light's Energy Efficiency as a Service pilot, which is aimed at commercial buildings and is designed to be a replicable transaction structure that can help address challenges related to improving buildings' efficiency.

The pilot is based on the previous Metered Energy Efficiency Transaction Structure (MEETS) pilot at Seattle's Bullitt Center and will pay for energy savings through 15- to 20-year power purchase agreements that allow for deeper retrofits with longer payback periods. Traditional energy efficiency efforts in commercial spaces are typically limited to payback periods up to about two years comparatively, in part due to the short life of commercial leases.

"The pilot is designed to create an easily-replicable transaction structure that would allow the financing of deeper energy retrofits," said Eric. "It is designed to overcome an incentive problem that has crippled energy efficiency progress in the commercial sector."

Eric also noted that the program uses a PPA to pay for "efficiency energy" in a range of about $0.074/kWh to $0.09/kWh. The primary flow of funds would be the utility paying an “efficiency energy developer” for savings that are verified by an independent third-party auditor. "By treating it that way, it becomes the equivalent of purchasing from a wind or solar farm," he said.

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