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Monitoring and Course Correction

PACE - Monitoring and Correction

Background

“Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?”

This refrain, familiar to any parent who has ever taken their child on a long trip, underscores an important point.  On the journey to 100% renewable energy, a town needs to track and report its progress. Setting milestones along the journey can help.

In the planning section of this guidebook we quoted Lewis Carol to emphasize that a plan is necessary to achieve a goal. That plan defines the path forward. The ultimate goal of 100PercentCT will take years to achieve, and involves many participants. In setting an “endpoint” to this process, each town should consider a range of factors, including those goals set by the state and the regional grid. Often, these goals are set arbitrarily: near enough to prompt action and yet distant enough to allow for the large amount of work that will be required. While important, such distant goals do not help to measure incremental progress. For this purpose, incremental goals or milestones are essential.

Monitoring will allow the town to:

  • gauge progress
  • detect dependencies that were not evident initially (e.g., a lack of electric vehicle (EV) charging)
  • make course corrections
  • solicit assistance from PACE and from similarly situated towns

Getting Started

Although a newly commissioned plan has no progress to monitor, the time to start the monitoring process is at the commissioning. Ideally the plan should answer these questions:

  • What is success and how will we know it when we see it?
  • How is progress to be measured. All of the following are possible measurement approaches:
    • Direct measurement of energy consumed and/or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
    • Direct measurement of renewables locally situated
    • Direct measurement of renewables on the grid
    • Measurement of activity:
      • Campaigns initiated
      • Mailings sent
    • Measurement of vehicle miles travelled (VMT). This technique is increasingly possible, as this data is captured via location tracking apps in our phones.
    • Evaluation of fuel efficiency of the town’s fleet. This evaluation should consider:
      • Gas mileage of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, including hybrids and
      • “electricity mileage” of battery electric (BEV) vehicles.

Checklist

  • Review your plan and create a definition of success and a measurement system.
  • Set interim milestones, in ten-year intervals, for example, for a range of individual measures such as overall energy usage, installed renewables, efficiency measures, etc.
  • Track your town’s energy efficiency measures over time using the EnergizeCT Clean Energy Communities (CEC) Dashboard. The CEC Dashboard contains a wealth of detailed information about how many residents and businesses are implementing a wide range of efficiency measures. For example, the Dashboard shows how many residents have conducted Home Energy Solutions (HES) audits (both non-income-eligible and income-eligible), how many then received rebates for energy-efficient appliances, insulation, etc. Similarly, it shows how many businesses have taken part in a wide range of incentive programs, including the Small Business Energy Advantage (SBEA), the Business Sustainability Challenge, etc.
  • Track your town’s installed renewables using data available from the EnergizeCT website (see links below). This information should be reviewed annually.
  • Set an expectation for each fuel source between plan inception and 2050:
    • Electricity consumption should increase during that period as electrification increases demand. Accurate consumption measures may be hard to monitor in the future, because some of the renewables coming online will be behind the meter, and therefore will not show up in the metered statistics.
    • Natural gas consumption should fall and natural gas connections should stop increasing.
    • Oil consumption should decrease; we know of no way to track this.
  • The transportation sector should be evaluated for the following:
    • A review of the grand list that tracks number of vehicles and number of EVs.
    • A review of public transport miles driven.
    • A review of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure improvements.
  • ISO New England publishes an annual review of the electric sources for the New England grid. Over time we should expect to see fossil fuels decline, nuclear remain roughly constant until retirement of reactors, and a steady increase in renewable generation.

Resources

  • Tracking Energy Efficiency
    • The EnergizeCT Clean Energy Communities (CEC) Dashboard contains a wealth of energy efficiency statistics for towns across the state. To view the overall dashboard, click here.
    • To view the detailed statistics regarding residential and business participation in energy efficiency programs, click here.
  • Tracking Installed Renewables
    • The CEC dashboard contains a report of installed renewables by town. The report contains the capacity of installed renewables and number of installations for each year. To view this report, click here.
  • Part of this journey involves sharing successes and failures – one of the biggest resources available to towns is other towns. PACE works closely with Clean Water Action’s CTEnergyNetwork which allows towns to learn from the experience of others and crowd source solutions. As you proceed along your own journey to 100%, please share with us your experiences. What has worked for you? What didn’t work? What resources (e.g., presentations, case studies, requests for proposals, resolutions, etc.) can you share with the rest of us. Thank you.

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