Our Projects

Water Sector Over-Generation Mitigation and Flexible Demand Response

This Southern California Edison pilot project is exploring the types and quantities of over-generation mitigation and Flex DR services that could be cost-effectively provided by the water sector to support rapidly-increasing quantities of in-State “variable” electric resources such as solar and wind. The Phase 1 report is complete (download here). The next phase: developing case studies about “best-in-class” water sector strategies that increase operational flexibility and “Flex DR” resources, has commenced. The final phase of the pilot will seek water sector input to design of a proposed Water Sector Over-generation and Flex DR Program.

Accelerating Drought Resilience Through Innovative Technologies

With assistance of a grant from the California Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program administered by the Energy Commission, WEI and its partners and participants: County of Tulare, City of Visalia, Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas, J.Sahl and Associates, Sequoia Riverlands Trust, Tulare County Farm Bureau, Syzergy, RMS Energy Consulting, Yinsight, and others have embarked upon an effort to develop strategies, plans, tools and techniques for advancing development and implementation of technologies that provide both electricity and water benefits. The project goals are to:

  • Create and demonstrate an innovative self-sustaining and replicable regional planning, permitting and financing model for California’s rural agricultural communities designed to accelerate successful integration of high potential strategies and technologies that achieve the region’s long-term drought resilience vision, goals and objectives; and to
  • Develop the policy and program infrastructure needed to successfully implement this model: first within the pilot community, and then for similar agricultural communities throughout the state.

Emerging Products and Technologies, Southern California Edison (SCE)

WEI is assisting SCE’s Emerging Products group in identifying and evaluating technologies that provide both water and electricity benefits for potential inclusion in SCE’s Integrated Distributed Energy Resources Portfolio of customer energy programs.

Water-Energy Strategic Partnership Program Plan, San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E)

WEI and its partner, RMS Energy Consulting, are assisting SDG&E and its water partner, the San  Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA), in developing a strategic framework and plan for collaborating on efficient and cost-effective delivery of complementary water and energy programs and services to shared customers.

Water-Energy Strategic Plan Development/Implementation, Southern California Edison (SCE)

WEI is assisting SCE in a variety of activities related to development and implementation of its first water-energy strategic plan.  The scope of assistance includes:

  • Developing and conducting internal strategic planning summits;
  • Establishing and administering Program Advisory Groups (PAGs) comprised of SCE’s water and wastewater utility customers;
  • Enhancing SCE’s portfolio of water-energy programs;
  • Streamlining internal SCE program processes to improve program delivery, customer satisfaction and cost-effectiveness; and
  • Developing and implementing an Integrated Demand Side Management (IDSM) pilot in partnership with a large, complex water/wastewater/biosolids utility.

California’s Water-Energy-Climate Nexus

WEI collaborated with The Climate Registry (TCR) on a white paper that proposed a framework for evaluating the greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts associated with energy embedded in water resources.

Regulatory Monitoring, Analysis and Strategy Development for the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA)

WEI assists ACWA’s Energy Committee and its members in participating in regulatory rulemakings by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) at which decisions are being made that will determine the level and types of technical and financial assistance that energy investor-owned utilities will be able to provide to their water sector customers.

Water Loss Control/Leak Detection Programs for Energy Investor Owned Utilities (IOUS)

  • Southern California Edison (SCE) – WEI evaluated the energy intensity of 35 medium-to-large water utilities within SCE’s service area and conducted an energy efficiency potential assessment of water loss control, leak management and pressure remediation services. WEI also recommended principles and guidelines for cost-effective water-energy nexus program design. In addition, WEI co-led the development and conduct of focus group meetings with SCE’s water utility customers to obtain their input as to the types of technical and financial assistance these customers would like to receive from their energy utility to support water loss control programs.
  • San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E) – WEI managed SDG&E’s Loss-Leak Detection Program under a partnership with SDG&E’s customer, San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) and the Authority’s 24 member agencies. The scope of work included designing the program, assisting SDG&E in a competitive solicitation for a technical contractor, conducting QA/QC of the technical water loss control work, assessing the energy efficiency potential for water loss control within SDG&E’s service area, and recommending principles for cost-effective water loss control program design.
  • Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) – WEI is managing SoCalGas’ Water Loss Control Program. The scope of work includes providing technical water loss control services, including acoustical leak detection and pressure remediation, to the City of Cerritos. This program also includes several unique educational elements: training municipal water departments and water utilities in developing their Water Balances (baseline conditions); training students and interns in water-energy principles, costs and benefits; and facilitating a student-led marketing communications plan for raising awareness of water-energy nexus opportunities.

The Role of Natural Gas in California’s Water-Energy Nexus, Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) 

WEI conducted the first study to explore the role of natural gas in the water-energy nexus. The study described how both electricity and natural gas are being used by water and wastewater agencies, and then discussed the potential for using new natural gas engines for water pumping to reduce peak electric demand; increase electric reliability; accelerate the shut-down of aged, inefficient fossil fuel plants; and increase the state’s ability to effectively integrate higher quantities of intermittent renewable energy (e.g., wind and solar). The study also examined the regulatory costs and risks of switching electric motors to natural gas engines in areas with increasingly stringent air quality constraints on emissions from internal combustion engines, and challenges to compliance with California’s Cap and Trade regulation.

Embedded Natural Gas in Water, Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) 

WEI analyzed natural gas usage by the largest water and wastewater utility customers of SoCalGas that collectively account for 90% of its natural gas sales to the water sector. The work included mapping natural gas usage to segments of the water use cycle, preparing a map of upstream and downstream embedded natural gas for 17 water and wastewater utilities, and computing the natural gas energy intensity by segment of the water use cycle for each agency.

Business Case for Natural Gas Engines for Wholesale Water Conveyance, Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) [2012-2013]

WEI assisted SoCalGas’ Business Growth Initiatives Group in developing a business case for using natural gas for wholesale water conveyance. The business case included evaluating the potential net benefits that can be achieved by increasing the state’s capabilities for integrating intermittent renewable resources with new “flexible power” engines that have very quick on/off and ramp-up/ramp-down capabilities, and facilitating discussions with water agencies that might be candidates for one or more “proof-of-concept” pilot projects.

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