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INTRODUCTION

One of the state of California's largest end uses of electricity is in the treatment, heating and cooling, and conveyance of water. In 2005, the California Energy Commission estimated that water-related energy accounts for almost 20% of the state's electricity requirements. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) followed this observation by authorizing water-energy pilot projects designed to validate claims that saving water can save energy and explore whether energy savings may be realized through water conservation measures and incorporated into electric utility energy efficiency programs (http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/energy/Energy+Efficiency/Water+Energy+Nexus+Programs.htm).

CALIFORNIA WATER-ENERGY PILOT PROGRAMS

The Investor Owned Electric Utilities (IOEU) in the state have offered a number of incentive programs in the areas of energy efficiency and demand response related to the water sector for years (such as pump efficiency testing, incentives for more efficient water treatment, and demand response programs) but these pilots were different. In these, the IOEUs partnered with the water agencies in the state to provide incentives in what were traditionally water conservation programs and evaluated the energy savings associated with water conservation (Table 1).

The CPUC asked the following questions;

  • Is the program cost effective from energy ratepayer perspective (what are the energy avoided costs from water saving programs)?
  • Is the program cost effective from water rate payer perspective (what are the avoided costs to the water provider from water saving programs)?
  • Is the program cost effective from the combined perspective (if both the water and electric utility contributes dollars, are the benefits commensurate with the dollars invested)?
  • Is the program cost effective from societal perspective?

EMBEDDED ENERGY IN WATER DETERMINATION

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Lon W. House, PhD, CEM, CSDP, is a Water and Energy Consultant with over 25 years of experience. Dr. House has a Bachelors, two Masters, and a PhD in Engineering and Economics from UC Davis. He is a Certified Energy Manager (CEM) and a Certified Sustainable Development Professional (CSDP) with the Association of Energy Engineers. Dr. House taught engineering in Graduate School at UC Davis for a number of years and was the Founder and Co-Director for Hydropower at the UCD Energy Institute. He worked for the California Energy Commission as a utility planner, and was the chief utility planner for the California Public Utilities Commission.

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