Industrial Utility Efficiency

BPA’s Energy Smart Industrial Program

Blower & Vacuum Best Practices Magazine interviewed Mr. Marcus Wilcox, President, Cascade Energy Engineering.            


What is the relationship between the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and your firm, Cascade Energy Engineering (Cascade)?

Cascade was awarded the contract to collaboratively design and implement the BPA Energy Smart Industrial (ESI) program. The program was designed during the summer of 2009. Cascade is in charge of implementing the program while BPA remains the overall manager providing direction and oversight to Cascade. This is an innovative and unique way to design and run a program.

BPA is a power wholesaler. BPA’s customers are electric utilities. This program was designed with input from utilities that have different needs, end users, and conservation goals. We therefore designed an “a la carte” menu of industrial program components for them.

Working together, we designed the BPA ESI program in four months and launched it on October 1, 2009 to BPA utility customers in a total of 8 states. We currently have 95 utilities signed up for the program. These utilities account for a very large percentage of the total industrial load served by BPA.

Please describe the over-all objectives of the BPA Energy Smart Industrial Program.

According to Jennifer Eskil, BPA Industrial Sector Lead “The purpose of the Energy Smart Industrial program is to assist BPA utility customers and their industrial facility customers in increasing cost-effective energy efficiency savings. The program is a primary mechanism for BPA utility customers to achieve industrial load energy savings targets of 12 aMW in fiscal year 2010 and 15 aMW in fiscal year 2011.”

The BPA ESI Program serves the needs of both large and small utilities, large and small industrial customers, and it can address both new construction and retrofit capital projects. The ESI Program is also specific to electrical energy savings. It does not address natural gas savings and does not address demand response initiatives.

The program serves utilities and their respective end users with a diverse portfolio of capital projects, energy management, lighting, and small project components. Obviously, compressed air is a significant target for this program. This is one of the most comprehensive and innovative industrial programs in the U.S. It is much more than incentives, offering high-performance technical assistance and cutting-edge energy management approaches.


How does the “Custom Projects” component of the BPA ESI Program work?

Custom Project Incentives cover the typical capital upgrade project. This could be for new construction or a retrofit project. An example of a retrofit is to replace existing inlet-throttled air compressors with a variable frequency drive (VFD) air compressor or to install more energy efficient compressed air dryers.

Custom Project Incentive levels can pay up to 25 cents per kWh saved - up to 70 percent of the total project cost. There is no total dollar cap per project. Every project is closed out with an aggressive Measurement and Verification (M&V) process that documents final savings and cost. In most cases, detailed performance measurements (e.g., kW, pressure, control variables, etc.) are the basis for M&V. For new construction, calibrated modeling tools are utilized.


What is the second feature of the “Energy Management” component?

The second energy management feature is Track and Tune (T&T). This feature pursues “no-cost and low-cost” Operations and Maintenance (O&M) energy-saving opportunities. An expert will review the facility or large sub-system for several days and identify these O&M action items. The facility will then implement the action items with in-house staff, contractors, or vendors. System performance is tracked for up to 5 years to rigorously verify savings and document long-term performance. The long-term tracking helps prevent or correct backsliding in system performance.

The program pays for some or all of the cost of the expert review, a performance tracking system, and implementation of the O&M opportunities (7½ cents per kWh up to 70%). In addition, the program pays modest annual incentives during the 5-year tracking period (2½ cents per kWh annually). We have a full-time person doing this tracking alongside the end user.


Please describe the HPEM Feature.

The third feature of the “Energy Management” component is called High Performance Energy Management (HPEM). The objective of this feature is to train the end user and help them implement strategic energy management. This can include one-on-one coaching of upper management or networking groups of multiple end users so they can learn from one another. This creates a better corporate climate for energy efficiency and can directly deliver savings.

The goal of HPEM is to drive more energy efficiency projects and generate direct savings. The ESI program provides HPEM at no cost to the participating end users and in some cases may make annual payments of 2½ cents per kWh for rigorously verified savings for a 5-year monitoring period.


What is the final and third component?

The ESI has two trade ally driven offerings; Small Industrial (SI) and Northwest Trade Ally Network (NW TAN). SI is designed for small projects such as compressed air 75 horsepower and smaller. We’ve developed an excellent calculator tool that provides quick assessments of key compressed air upgrades.

The calculator tool allows end users or vendors to fill in data about their pending projects and submit it to the ESI Program for review and approval. The objective is to be lean and mean and quickly generate energy savings in smaller applications which can’t justify the cost of on-site audits.

The ESI team conducts a QC review of the submission and provides quick approvals or denials on the application. These projects are treated the same as the Custom Projects as far as funding goes. That means that the Small Industrial Projects can qualify for up to 25 cents per kWh saved - up to 70 percent of the total project cost. There is no total dollar cap per project.

NW TAN is a comprehensive network of lighting vendors, distributors, and contractors that collaborate to market and implement energy efficient lighting technology. The ESI program provides lighting specialists to work with utilities, end users and vendors to make lighting projects happen.


Please describe Cascade Energy Engineering.

Cascade Energy Engineering employs 50 people - 35 of whom are engineers. We have offices in Washington, Oregon and Utah. We also have “outpost” staff in Idaho and New York. We focus on industrial energy efficiency consulting and have been in business since 1993.


What services does your firm provide?

Cascade Energy Engineering provides three main categories of services to industry. First, we offer traditional project-oriented, energy-efficiency consulting for either retrofit or new projects. We serve every industry and every subsystem in facilities. The largest industrial users of energy in the Pacific Northwest are the pulp and paper and food processing industries.

We also provide energy management services. For example, we provide corporate energy management to Sysco Corporation who has over one hundred food distribution warehouses throughout North America. This service includes:

1. Create a corporate energy management strategy

2. Provide a web-based software tool tracking monthly energy use. This includes a real time pulse meters so they can see their power profile and on-line forums where users can talk.

3. Provide ongoing technical consulting for the facility. We will audit and review action items with plant personnel.

4. Do a Kaizen Blitz (we also call them “tune-ups” or “commissioning”) looking for low-cost or no-cost opportunities. When we do a tune-up at Sysco, we are there for 2 to 5 days. We    send an Energy Engineer and a technician who is really experienced with lighting, battery chargers, and ammonia refrigeration. Almost every food processor and warehouse uses          ammonia refrigeration.

We have completed over two hundred of these tune-ups for Sysco and others. Sysco’s kWh per cubic foot of storage space has dropped by 1/3 since the energy management program started 2006.

Finally, we also provide utility energy efficiency program design and management services – like BPA’s Energy Smart Industrial Program. For more information, see

For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Eskil, Industrial Sector Lead, Bonneville Power Administration and Energy Smart Industrial Program. and Marcus Wilcox, President, Cascade Energy Engineering & Executive Director, Energy Smart Industrial Program, tel: 509-524-8621, Email: or