Energy-savings incentive program widens its reach
June 23, 2014
An NV Energy program that provides incentives for companies that invest in electric conservation is widening its reach with a marketing program.
"We don't want to miss anyone," says Adam Grant, the utility's manager for energy efficiency and conservation.
The SureBet program, now in its 11th year, still has funds available this year for companies that invest in systems that reduce their use of power. A three-year-old program that provides incentives for savings of natural gas, however, is fully committed for this year.
Despite wide use of the incentives program during the past decade, Grant said commercial customers continue to use the funding to help pay the cost of improvement to lighting systems — exterior lights are getting a lot of attention these days — as well as controls for big electric motors.
The Peppermill, for instance, received a $92,000 rebate from the SureBet program to help pay for installation of LED lighting in the parking lot at its Reno property as well as its Western Village in Sparks.
With the rebate, the project will pay for itself in 1.7 years, says Dean Parker, executive facilities director at Peppermill.
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Some of the incentives are more esoteric.
Truckee Meadows Water Authority, for instance, earned nearly $115,000 in rebates in the past couple of years for reconstruction of the Highland Canal, one of the water sources for its Chalk Bluff Water Treatment Plant in west Reno.
The canal reduced the utility's need to pump water into the plant, saving about 3.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. That's enough electricity to power 379 homes in northern Nevada.
The SureBet staff includes engineers who help commercial customers calculate potential energy savings from new installations and retrofits. There's no cost to commercial customers who use the service.
Rebates are available for up to 50 percent of the cost of a project.
A public-policy initiative that's working to increase energy conservation in Western states welcomes the initiative to market the SureBet program to more businesses.
"Utility energy efficiency programs for businesses — as great as they are — do not sell themselves," says Tom Polikalas, Nevada representative for the policy organization, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. "We have learned that it takes contactors like SureBet going out and telling people about the programs, how they work, and what the benefits are before people apply it to their own business."