Other Energy Services

Unison Energy principals and our engineering partners have saved clients millions of dollars through the design, development, and implementation of comprehensive energy management programs and CHP systems. We can provide energy master planning services including evaluating energy supply options, energy modeling, capital expenditure assessments and life cycle cost analyses to help our clients achieve their energy goals.  Our practical, hands-on approach coupled with our vast technical depth provides our clients with a mechanism to achieve their financial and operational goals.

We have extensive experience in partnering with property and business owners as well as other third party technical and financial organizations to develop, design and implement performance based energy initiatives. Our project breadth ranges from large, complex cogeneration systems to modular CHP systems, to the implementation of new building controls and lighting systems.

Our energy services include:

  • Cogeneration and CHP feasibility studies
  • Tariff assessment via Unison’s TariffDB
  • Master energy planning

Cogeneration and CHP feasibility studies

In keeping with our turnkey approach, Unison can perform an initial feasibility analysis with some basic information, and at no cost to the customer. This analysis will indicate whether a facility’s electrical and thermal loads make the facility a good candidate for a CHP system and, if so, what the general size and projected savings of the system would be.  Unison will also provide the customer with detailed preliminary CHP proposal in the form of an Energy Services Term Sheet as well as provide its standard Energy Services Agreement (“ESA”) for review.

If our initial facility CHP feasibility study confirms attractive energy savings and our standard ESA terms are satisfactory to the customer, then Unison will undertake a more formal CHP Feasibility Study involving a detailed CHP system design and engineering review. This is where we kick the tires, analyze historical and future electric and natural gas rates and utility interval data in our proprietary utility tariff model, review the current utility interconnection, inspect the plant and equipment operating hours, and more. If this feasibility study corroborates our initial energy savings estimates or better, then Unison and the customer would sign the ESA and begin the process to complete the project including final ESA contracts and CHP system implementation including permitting, design, build, commission and operations, etc.

Common feasibility study Q&A

Prior to installing an on-site cogeneration solution, three questions are critical during the feasibility stage of the project:

  1. How will the utility costs change?
  2. What happens if the commodity price of gas or electricity changes?
  3. Who will manage gas purchases for a CHP system?

1. Tariff assessment

If you are a company considering on-site power generation with multiple sites located in different gas and electric territories you understand that utility tariffs are complex, constantly changing, confusing, and different for every utility, every state, and every rate.  Simple analyses to estimate changes in rates paid due to changes in demand or usage can oversimplify complex rates and skew investment decisions with wrong conclusions. However, accurately calculating tariff rates is time consuming and requires expertise and patience.

Unison Energy has built out a proprietary tariff database that accurately models over 500 tariff rates in 17 states for both gas and electric tariffs.  Our system is updated daily to incorporate the latest changes in tariff rates.  New structures are incorporated as utilities change their rates.   Our rates accurately calculate tariff rates to 99.9% accuracy.  Many of our rates go back 10-12 years so we can accurately model historical rate changes.

This provides Unison Energy with a distinctive ability to support clients in answering the following questions:

  • How much will I pay the utility after implementing a CHP System, solar system, or energy efficiency project?
  • How much will this reduce demand charges, usage charges, taxes?
  • Will there be any standby charges?
  • What happens to demand charges in case of an outage or failure?

Without being able to answer these questions quickly and reliably, energy services providers aren’t selling a complete solution and subject their clients to additional costs over the term of the energy services contract.

TariffDB v1

 TariffDB explained

TariffDB v2To calculate the correct electric and gas rates,  we select the client site’s local electric and gas utilities:

The TariffDB system dynamically requests the relevant rate inputs and calculates each of the relevant tariff elements.

Our TariffDB system then provides links for each tariff directly to the current tariff book for that utility.

 

2. Gas & electric commodity assessment

Tariffs are only half of the energy bill.  A switch to gas powered engines from the electric grid requires understanding natural gas commodity rates.  Unison Energy’s research team is able to accurately model how electricity and natural gas rates have changed over time.

TariffDB v3

Historically, gas and electricity prices closely follow each other as illustrated in the adjacent historical graph.  This is the result of natural gas generation providing as much as 50% of the generation capacity in the markets we serve and being responsible for generating the electricity used to address “peak” energy demand which typically represents the marginal cost of electricity – what you pay.

Our commodities research team has modeled the sources of gas and electricity price changes both historically and projected across different utilities and states.  Our research team supports clients with analyses such as the following:

  • What will happen to projected savings if gas prices go up or down?
  • What would have to happen for gas and electric rates to not parallel each other?

Our commodities research team supports all of our projects as well as our gas purchasing team.

3. Gas purchasing

Gas commodity purchasing is a critical component of CHP System economics. Unison Energy supports many of our clients by purchasing gas on behalf of the client. Purchasing gas for power generation is not always the same as purchasing for space heating, domestic hot water, or industrial processes.  Power generation is highly predictable but also can take advantage of fuel switching.

Our team uses our in-depth knowledge of CHP System operating characteristics, utility (gas & electric) tariffs, and commodity pricing to deliver a complete solution.  For clients that choose to purchase their own gas, we provide detailed recommendations on gas purchasing including:

  • System operating characteristics & projections to optimize gas purchase;
  • Blended buys with existing usage to lower existing commodity and tariff rates;
  • Fixed vs. spot pricing;
  • Seasonal variability & maximizing pricing position;
  • Timing of purchase decisions;
  • Commodity purchase negotiations;
  • Fuel switching or temporary returns to grid power to release gas in high-priced environments

Master energy plans

Unison Energy develops Master Energy Plans that provide our clients with an energy optimization roadmap that reduces energy costs, increases reliability, and provides more environmentally friendly energy solutions.  Services Include:

  • Customized energy needs assessment to validate energy consumption today and where you will be in the future.
  • Create an energy model that fits your business model.
  • Provide an overview of various energy upgrades and retrofit alternatives, including CHP, and potential benefits, including available incentives.
  • Prioritize short and long-term energy optimization investments based on
    • ROI – energy efficiencies, cost savings, tax savings and Federal, State and utility incentives available, and
    • Corporate environmental goals, credentials and compliance (such as NY Local Law 82 and 84)
  • Design a master plan implementation strategy.

Your plan will be updated on a regular basis to track progress with regard to energy improvements, reflect changing client business priorities, technology advancements, shifting economic conditions and Federal, State and utility incentive opportunities.