Tri-State partnering with ENERGY STAR; adding appliances and new electric technologies to its energy efficiency program
Consumer participation expected to increase in 2009
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association’s board of directors recently approved significant additions to the power supplier’s long-standing Energy Efficiency Credits program to further promote energy innovation and the wise use of electricity. The changes include providing monetary incentives to end-use electric consumers for the purchase and use of ENERGY STAR appliances and a wider deployment of new energy saving technologies, such as LED lighting and low temperature heat pumps.
To further strengthen its commitment to support smart energy use, Tri-State also is partnering in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy’s popular labeling program ENERGY STAR. As a partner utility in the initiative, Tri-State has pledged to coordinate and administer energy efficiency and energy education programs that promote ENERGY STAR.
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“Tri-State’s new partnership with ENERGY STAR will help electric cooperative consumers save money and support the environment through energy efficient products and practices,” said Keith Emerson, coordinator of the association’s energy management program. “Rural electric co-op consumers will benefit from up-front rebates for their energy efficient purchases and then save money on their energy bills for years to come.”
Participation in Tri-State’s energy efficiency program hit a record level in 2008, with $1.6 million paid out by the association to end-use consumers. Tri-State also provides additional funding for program marketing and energy efficiency training to increase the impact of the initiative. As a result of the new additions to the program, Tri-State expects consumer interest and activity to increase significantly this year. Since its inception in 1985, the program has resulted in the reduction of approximately 73 megawatts in demand and saved 80,000 megawatts-hours in energy.
“The enhancements to Tri-State’s energy efficiency program illustrate the forward-thinking of electric co-ops as we work to encourage the use of new technologies,” said Emerson. “Many of the changes to the program reflect a greater emphasis on advancing promising electric technologies through deployment and pilot project opportunities.”
Beginning in 2009, Tri-State has expanded the fleet of eligible products by including additional incentives for certain ENERGY STAR heat pumps and air-conditioners, as well as household refrigerators and freezers, clothes washers and dishwashers.
Also new to the program are limited matching fund incentives for commercial applications of LED (light emitting diode) lighting utilized for street lighting and in-store refrigerator cases, funding for up to 44 low temperature heat pumps deployed throughout the membership, funding for six heat pump water heaters as well as a pilot program to test “smart grid” technologies.
Tri-State is also distributing 100 energy efficiency home kits to each of its 44 member systems, as well as providing a $4 incentive for each additional kit purchased by a co-op. Contents of the kits – which many of the co-ops plan to give away at their annual meetings – will assist consumers in reducing their energy costs and save 76 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually per kit.
Tri-State and its member co-ops already have distributed approximately 400,000 compact fluorescent light bulbs to rural consumers. In January 2007, Tri-State provided 1,000 CFLs to each of its 44 member systems; each co-op then determined how to distribute the energy-efficient light bulbs to its consumers. Since then, Tri-State has continued to offer its members a rebate of $1 per CFL and many co-ops choose to pass the rebate directly on to customers.
Over the 24-year history of its energy efficiency program, Tri-State has provided consumers throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska and Wyoming with cash rebates when installing highly efficient heating and cooling systems – such as ground source heat pumps. Additionally, irrigation and commercial and industrial consumers have benefited by installing high-efficiency electric motors.
Future potential projects that are currently under study for possible incorporation into Tri-State’s program include commercial lighting retrofits that employ more efficient lighting technologies, residential weatherization programs and technologies such as heat pump water heaters that not only reduce costs, but a consumer’s carbon footprint as well.
Updated: March 2, 2009