The Illinois Energy Transition Act (ETA) went into effect on September 15, 2021. The ETA obligates the state to implement new programs, initiatives, and activities to further the state’s goals of transitioning the state to 100% clean energy by creating a responsible transition away from carbon-intensive power generation. Since then, the state has been aggressively creating the necessary clean energy infrastructure to make this happen. In fact, a quote attributed to the Abraham Lincoln lays the groundwork where “The best way to predict the future is to create it”.
A critical first step in the clean energy transition programs is to promote end-use customer energy efficiency. The State’s largest utility, Commonwealth Edison, has been actively promoting customer efficiency for a number of years. The most recent impact evaluation for the year 2021 showed that ComEd has offset over 285 MW of demand and 1,700 Gigawatts hours of energy during that program period. An interesting aspect of the results is the strong Net-to-Gross ratios for their portfolio of programs (88% for both demand and energy). ANB products like eTRACK+ and eTRM help ComEd document these savings by being the system of record for all program activities. eTRACK+ system is used to coordinate program activities between the utility, program implementers, and trade allies, and eTRM provides standardized calculations for energy and demand savings. ANB also uses an additional Quality Assurance Review Team to review and perform quality assurance checks to ensure data integrity and accuracy within the eTRM and eTRACK+ platforms. This ensures that savings are end-to-end documented, that in turn, helps drive an accurate Net-to-Gross ratio.
Facilities assessments for commercial buildings and schools are an important piece of the energy efficiency portfolio. ComEd uses ANB’s Facility Assessment System (collectively the eTRACK+, portal, tablet application, and eTRM platforms used in tandem) to manage and track field assessments and document pre and post-construction conditions. Also, the Facility Assessment System is integrated with ComEd’s Customer Relationship Management platform to push and pull information at various stages of the project life cycle. ComEd is also using the Facilities Assessment System in a new statewide initiative for the Public-School Carbon Free Assessment program. The goal of this new program is to increase the efficiency of schools’ energy usage, reduce the carbon emissions associated with their energy usage and move toward a goal of energy use in public schools being carbon-free by 2030. The completion of assessments at all 3,000 public schools across the State is targeted by the end of 2029.
ComEd has also recently announced their new Beneficial Electrification Plan that will focus on both residential and commercial sectors. For residential customers, $15 million per year in rebates will be available for vehicles, in-home charging stations, and other home technologies such as HVAC and cooking equipment. In the commercial space, over $60 million annually in incentives will be available for fleet conversion from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric. Incentives will be offered for both vehicles and charging equipment. The eTRACK+ platform will be supporting both initiatives as well.
In conjunction with the energy efficiency portfolio is an effort to increase the adoption of small-scale renewable generation. According to the Energy Information Administration, the growth in small-scale photovoltaics in Illinois is growing rapidly. In fact, since 2020, they are nearly doubling year over year. The ComEd Distributed Generation team uses the eTRACK+ platform and portal to manage and track their solar rebate applications. ComEd also utilizes the built-in mobile application of eTRACK+ to document and conduct field inspections.
As the Land of Lincoln creates its clean energy future, ANB Systems is supporting not only workflow management tools and data management solutions but also providing tools to assist in facilities energy assessments for non-residential buildings and the interconnection of renewable distributed generation technologies. Another saying attributed to President Lincoln is, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time”. Futures are not created overnight, but with systems like eTRACK+, they can efficiently coordinate the effort of all program participants to ensure that the transition occurs as smoothly and simply as possible.
Written by – Michael Stockard
Michael Stockard is an independent consultant at Stockard Energy Advising and is a member of the Advisory Panel at ANB Systems. Michael has over 40 years of experience in the design and implementation of demand-side management programs.