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Results available online for Grocer Market Opportunity Assessment for BPA territory

Created 7/8/2013 by Carrie Cobb
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The report with results from the Grocer Market Opportunity Assessment for BPA territory are available online at: http://www.bpa.gov/energy/n/reports/evaluation/commercial/pdf/BPA_Grocery_Opp_Assessment_05JUN13.pdf

This research has helped inform BPA on the remaining opportunities and program successes as well as provide information for the RTF to help determine that some of the out-of-compliance measures are small-savers.

Below are some of the key findings and recommendations from the research: 

Significant savings opportunities remain for grocery store refrigeration equipment. 

Cadmus estimates approximately 40 aMW of programmatic saving opportunities and 105 aMW of comprehensive saving opportunities  remain for refrigeration upgrades, new construction efficiency improvements, and other measures currently not offered by the program in the grocery market. Remaining opportunities, by category, can be found in the report’s Conclusions and Recommendations section. 

Current program measures represent approximately 50% (20.1 aMW) of the remaining programmatic saving opportunities, with 50% of those savings derived from medium- and low-temperature cases, doors, floating head and suction control strategies, condensers and compressors. New measures, such as existing building commissioning (EBCx) and new construction, represent approximately 50% of the remaining opportunities.  


·         Consider increasing incentives for medium- and low-temperature cases, doors, and condensers and compressors, which represent the bulk of all energy-saving opportunities from current measure offerings.  

·         Consider lowering incentives for measure groups such as controls and motors that have approached market saturation.  

·         Evaluate the procedures for approving new construction and EBCx projects to help streamline the process and increase uptake.  

·         Consider offering additional incentives for undertaking more comprehensive projects with deeper savings (for example, projects that bundle four or more measures). 

Demand for energy-efficiency among grocery stores remains high, and more outreach and education may help accomplish energy savings from refrigeration technologies. 

Most grocery stores planning energy-efficiency upgrades in the near term intend to take advantage of incentives available through the ESG Program, and consider the program influential in their decision making. Stores most commonly cited a perception of limited opportunities as a reason for not making upgrades. The audit data for these respondents, however, showed considerable opportunities remain at their stores.  


Explore opportunities for raising awareness and for additionally educating store owners regarding their specific options to upgrade refrigeration. This will help overcome knowledge barriers among store owners who believe little opportunity remains. Such outreach should include information on measures the program currently offers incentives for and new measures, as they are added. 

The barriers to making upgrades reported by independent and national grocery stores appear to be unrelated to the program’s delivery challenges.  

The program implementer reported that regional geographic gaps in program offerings across BPA’s territory impact the financial viability of conducting large-scale projects at multiple locations for national grocery store companies. These gaps stem from variations in utility participation in ESG, which became an issue in 2011 when the region shifted to local control of utility budgets.  The result was ESG participation by northwest utilities resembled a patch-work quilt across the region.   

A comparison of market barriers reported by various stakeholder groups revealed that independent grocers’ faced the following primary barriers to upgrading their energy efficiency:  

·         Cost, structural, and space constraints; and  

·         Inconvenience.  

National store accounts reported the following barriers:  

·         Coordinating corporate remodeling and expansion schedules;  

·         Impacts of low Northwest electricity prices on the return-on-investment; and  

·         Costs and corporate reluctance to fund projects (to a lesser degree).  


Certain factors may fall outside of the program’s control, such as the way energy-efficiency incentive (EEI) funds are allocated and used. Yet options may exist to mitigate these barriers’ impacts. For example, a financial bonus could be offered to national store accounts for conducting simultaneous upgrades in multiple locations within the region. Such actions could increase the return-on-investment due to economies of scale, and help counteract the effect of gaps in regional offerings. A tiered structure, with bonuses, could also be used to influence small stores and national chains. Stores installing more than a predetermined number of measures could qualify for additional incentives.  

Though most utilities expressed realistic expectations regarding the remaining opportunities for energy savings in grocery store refrigeration within their territories, they could benefit from a better understanding of what savings are attainable.  

As reported by BPA program staff, the program’s turn-key design results in varying degrees of utility involvement in program administration, where little to no involvement may be typical. Cadmus’ survey findings confirmed knowledge gaps occurred regarding the number of stores reached by the ESG Program within utilities’ territories as well the remaining saving opportunities.  


Many utilities would benefit from a better understanding of the remaining opportunities within their territories. BPA should consider developing a strategy, drawn from this study’s findings, for informing utilities of such remaining savings, and then should work with utilities and stakeholders to identify market barriers to realizing these savings, and to generate solutions specific to their territories. This would allow BPA to collaborate with utilities to capture unrealized energy-savings opportunities from grocery store refrigeration, and possibly could help utilities determine future EEI funding allocations.  

 Please leave any comments on reactions or thoughts about this research and future steps BPA should/could take with this information.

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This resource is Public

Sector: Commercial
Function: Implementation, Planning

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Northwest Research Group

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