Update from Manager of Energy Services, Debbie DePetris

We are thrilled to announce our latest community solar project, Community Solar East, sited at the Port of Camas-Washougal, with participation opportunities for residential, commercial and industrial customers. If you are interested, be sure to read the below article and reach out to your Key Accounts Manager with any questions.

Also included in this edition of the newsletter is a summary of the Washington Clean Buildings Act and what this new law may mean for your facilities. And we can all be inspired by the ways PeaceHealth is using SEM technology to better understand and manage their energy use for comfort, safety and sustainable savings.

Lastly, we hope you save the date for our Annual Key Accounts Forum coming in October. This is our opportunity to share important utility updates with you, but you will also have the chance to speak with our General Manager and Senior Leadership about anything utility-related that is important to you. We hope to see you there!

Community Solar East Offers Business and Government Customers Renewable Energy Credits and Annual Utility Bill Credit

Starting September 1st, business, municipal and special district customers who want to participate in a renewable energy project can sign up to participate in Community Solar East, Clark Public Utilities’ newest community solar array.

Community solar projects offer participants the benefits of solar energy without the major investments in the solar arrays and costly facility upgrades to support it. With community solar, participants purchase units of the system capacity, which are paid back to them through “virtual net metering” in the form of credits on their electric bill annually over the lifetime of the array. The size of the energy credit earned is based on each customer’s participation level and energy produced by the system.

Community Solar East is a 799kW (equal to 799,000 watts) solar array being installed on the rooftops of five buildings owned by the Port of Camas-Washougal. The system’s output is being split between several customer sectors. Among them, the business and government customer sectors will have access to their own pool of two rooftop arrays, sized at 300 kW (300,000 watts) in total. 500 watt solar units are available to business and government customers for purchase at $850 each; customers can purchase up to twenty units for a total cost of $17,000.

Participation in community solar offers benefits beyond bill credits and clean energy. Community Solar East will be registered in the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information Systems (WREGIS). Participating businesses and governments can elect to receive their associated Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from the project.

Businesses may be eligible for a federal tax credit of 30 percent available to businesses that participate in community solar projects. Also, the federal Inflation Reduction Act created a new direct payment option for select entities (such as municipalities that do not pay federal taxes) to collect the 30% tax credit.

Small business and non-profit entities that want to support community solar but are not able to make a significant investment in the system, can still show their support by purchasing a mini unit. Mini unit subscriptions do not offer energy credits; but participants will receive a commemorative sticker that participants can display to demonstrate their support of a local renewable and carbon-free energy resource.

For more information about Community Solar East, the benefits of “virtual net metering,” or subscription options, contact your Key Accounts Manager or email [email protected]. For general project details, learn more at www.ClarkPublicUtilities.com/Solar.

Save the Date!

Our upcoming Key Accounts Forum will be held in-person on October 11 from 9am to 12pm at the Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way.

Highlights include a presentation from Clark Public Utilities General Manager, Lena Wittler, as well as program and department updates.

Breakfast will be provided.

Invitations to follow. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone again!

Have questions About the Commercial Lighting Incentive Program (CLIP)?

Contact Mike Wallace at (360) 992-3135 or [email protected].

Facilities Optimization and Conservation Culture are Simple Steps to Lower Operating Costs

Strategic Energy Management (SEM) is a Clark Public Utilities program that focusses on low cost / no cost opportunities in commercial buildings and provides the tools and education to start saving energy immediately and sustain these savings over time. SEM participants learn through energy scans, energy management assessments, workshops and coaching calls how their business uses energy and how to identify where waste is happening. Further, SEM participants have the opportunity to share best practices with a cohort of peers, work to increase employee engagement and track their efforts with a customized energy model. Since Clark Public Utilities started the Commercial SEM program in 2019, the program continues to grow. This year, 18 companies are participating in the program, with over 40 buildings formally enrolled.

PeaceHealth is a relatively new participant, but has shown the ability to make significant changes in their operations in pursuit of energy efficiency and operational sustainability. In their first year of participation in the program, PeaceHealth was able to achieve annual savings of 502,194 kWh. Through implementing strategic energy management, PeaceHealth was able to reduce their annual electricity bill by nearly $25,000 and receive a utility incentive of over $12,000. Brian Nelson, the Sustainability Programs Manager at PeaceHealth had this to say about their year one engagement: “Many people aren’t aware of how massive healthcare’s impacts on climate change are – in fact, if global healthcare was a country, we would be the fifth largest contributor to worldwide, annual emissions. PeaceHealth is pleased to be able to partner with Clark PUD and the SEM program to work to minimize the impacts of our operations and the costs to provide excellent healthcare to our communities”.

If you are interested in enrolling in the Strategic Energy Management Program, please contact Bill Hibbs at (360) 992-3340 for more details.

Strategic Energy Management Should Expand to Focus on Decarbonization

By Jonah Eisen, Research Assistant, Industrial Program, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEE)

Strategic energy management (SEM) programs have long helped energy-intensive industrial and commercial businesses reduce their electricity and gas costs. Now these programs could be expanded and tailored to maximize their impact on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A new ACEEE white paper explores how SEM can support decarbonization efforts and provides strategies that policymakers and practitioners can use to broaden the scope of these programs to better meet today’s GHG emission reduction goals.

SEM is a set of organizational practices and principles that creates the foundation for continuous, long-term energy savings. SEM programs—primarily funded and delivered by utilities—focus on operational energy savings, rather than installing new technologies or infrastructure that require major capital investments. These programs range from helping companies achieve minor efficiency changes (e.g., leak detection) to meeting or exceeding the requirements of the ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard.

SEM programs have helped save energy for decades. Now they should focus on reducing emissions.

The traditional SEM approach focuses on avoided energy consumption, meaning the electricity, gas, or other energy resource savings that result from behavioral, operational, and efficiency measures. It was not designed for tracking or reducing carbon emissions.

While these low- to no-cost programs are appealing for their energy reduction potential (participants often realize a 2–10% energy consumption reduction in their first year), many companies are now also eager to adopt practices and solutions to help meet ambitious GHG reduction targets. Developing SEM programs that could also work with customers to identify and apply decarbonization strategies such as electrification, demand response, or on-site renewables would help them achieve those goals.

Continue reading this post online.

Green Buildings For Washington (HB 1257): What You Need To Know To Start Optimizing Energy Efficiency

By Ruth Favela, Tagup

Green Buildings for Washington calls for compliance starting in 2026 — not complying costs more than understanding how to minimize energy consumption in Seattle.

Buildings are the biggest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions across the globe and are responsible for 39% of all global energy-related CO2 production. That’s why major cities across the world and in the United States are making an effort to sign climate-related legislation into place. As climate change continues to impact the planet, we must work together to meet green building goals.

In Washington state, House Bill 1257, or the Green Buildings for Washington law is leading the charge in this area, setting ambitious targets for energy efficiency and sustainable construction practices. In this blog, we’ll explore the details of HB 1257, why it’s important, and how you can start optimizing energy efficiency to comply with the law.

Continue reading this post online.

Upcoming Trainings

Pump System Fundamentals Course
Sept 12, 7 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. virtual

The Pump System Fundamentals (PSF) Live Virtual Course is a Live (Virtual) Instructor-Led training course designed to educate and train pump engineers, technical sales, pump system owners, designers, and operators on the fundamentals of pump and system design, including system hydraulics and calculations, pump and system curves, system components, factors affecting reliably and energy consumption, and control.

Distributed Energy Resources & Resiliency
Sept 20, 11 a.m. – noon, virtual

Distributed energy resources, including onsite renewables, electric vehicles, and battery storage, will play a critical role in the shift to a clean and resilient energy system. Presenters will discuss applications and benefits of these technologies in commercial and multifamily buildings, including DER integration in building retrofit projects. Scholarships available on a first-come, first-served bases. If you are interested, contact your Key Accounts Manager.

Opportunities to Optimize Performance through Digital Twin Technology
Oct 18, 11 a.m. – noon, virtual

Learn about how digital twin technology can help optimize building performance and operations in both new and existing buildings. Presenters will discuss how interacting with live Internet of Things (IoT) data can generate actionable insights for building operators. Scholarships available on a first-come, first-served bases. If you are interested, contact your Key Accounts Manager.