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Who Will Win Today’s Energy CUP?

energy-cupThis will be one of my timelier blog posts. 

This very day (Feb. 6) at about this time (11:30 a.m.), representatives from 16 Maryland government agencies will be gathering at the Miller Senate Office Building in Annapolis to find out which agency has won the Maryland Energy CUP (Competition for Ultimate Performance).

No matter which agency comes out on top, the real winners will be the taxpayers of Maryland, who have already realized millions of dollars in energy savings since the state really got started tracking its electricity use and cost.

[Editor’s note: According to a Maryland DGS press release, the winners of the 2014 competition were:

  • First Place in Total Energy Reduction: Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) with a 47 percent reduction in overall energy consumption since 2008. 
  • First Place in Electricity Reduction:  The State Highway Administration (SHA) received First Place in Electricity Reduction for cutting electricity use by 28 percent since 2008.
  • Most Improved in Energy Reduction: The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) jumped from 9th place to 2nd place for total energy reduction, representing a 41 percent reduction since 2008.
  • Best State Energy Database Participation: The Maryland Military Department received the Best State Energy Database Participation Award for efforts to maintain the completion and accuracy of utility data in the State Energy Database.]

Back in 2008, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed the EmPOWER Maryland Energy efficiency Act, and since then, state energy stakeholders have been working hard to make government energy data transparent, accessible and useful. You can check out the energy costs for many state-owned buildings by using the DGS public-facing website at http://www.dgs.maryland.gov/energy/EnergyDatabasePublic.html.

For example, with a couple of mouse clicks, I discovered that the University of Maryland Energy Plant at College Park was using 6.3 percent less energy in the 2013 fiscal year than the previous year. That’s accountability, people!

Anyway, back to today’s event. Starting in 2011, the Department of General Services (DGS) Office of Energy Performance & Conservation (“Energy Office”) has held an annual competition between the 16 largest energy-using state agencies to encourage energy savings.

This year is special, because today’s meeting will include the public presentation of energy awards, and Governor O’Malley will be the featured speaker. Maryland will have plenty to celebrate. As of December of last year, 21 different Energy Performance Contracts are saving $23.1 million annually with estimated total savings of $310 million throughout the life of the contracts.

Thanks to energy tracking software, savings can be verified against historical energy baselines. The state has also been successfully leveraging its granular energy information for deregulated commodity purchases that have saved millions. In 2013, the Maryland DGS documented taxpayer savings of $9.6 million for block and index electricity purchases vs. a fixed price rate. For natural gas, block and index purchases yielded $7.1 million in savings over a fixed rate.

Maryland has learned that managing and communicating energy information plays a key role in achieving energy reduction goals. Centralized data management has enabled communications improvements. A professional energy management software tool has been very important in the development of a coordinated state government response to the EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act of 2008.

Want to find out more? Read the Maryland Case Study.