Kenneth and Alan Evans see opportunity for their Saratoga Springs company, ReWire Energy, to capitalize on the federal and New York state focus on renewable energy in 2021 with their energy-as-a-service business model.
The Evans brothers started ReWire Energy in 2015 along with several of their siblings and their father, Milton. The company began with a focus on planning and analysis, figuring out ways to lower clients’ energy bills while bringing in new technologies like solar, smart thermostats, and other net-zero energy technologies. The family all have experience with large corporations and several have started their own businesses.
How will new climate legislation affect your business? What are the challenges and opportunities that came with the new climate goals? How much more potential does solar have to grow? Law firm Hodgson Russ and the Albany Business Review hosted a discussion to answer these questions and more. Cindy Applebaum, market president and publisher of the Albany Business Review, moderated the discussion.
What are some of the ways the state’s new Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act will shape how New York generates, delivers and uses energy?
Bill Jordan, Founder & CEO, Jordan Energy & Food Enterprises: Mandates and goals have been aggressive. Some big picture trends are fairly certain. There will be such more solar, wind and storage. We’ll be incorporating generation delivery and use of energy. The Climate Action Council, which is required by this law, will help guide some of these answers to these questions.
Rich Dewey, President & CEO, NYISO: It’s going to have a pretty dramatic impact, in terms of the supply. One of the things we’re looking at as grid operators is how to maintain a generation fleet that can meet the needs of consumers for times when the intermittent sources are not producing.
A lot of it is going to be based on wind and solar, but as we know, there are days where the wind doesn’t blow at all and the sun doesn’t shine very much. But we still need to have a generation fleet that’s prepared to meet the load. It’s going to be an interesting challenge to provide the right kind of pricing signals so that generators can respond in a way that can balance the intermittent sources. We’re probably looking at different revenue models for those kinds of generators, and making sure they’ve got adequacy to perform when we need them.
Jamie Thompson, President & CEO, American Energy Care & AEC Solar: There’s also going to be a shift in the way that people live and react to the markets because as regulations change, it’s going to change how people have to heat and cool their buildings. It’s going to change at their homes. When are we going to wash our clothes? The commodity becomes more expensive, and more importantly, less expensive at night. It’s going to give them an opportunity to save money.
Lee Evans, President, ReWire Group LLC: It’s going to be interesting to have the Climate Action Council’s 22-person scoping plan occur. All these people are going to agree on what to do? Also, regarding people who are disproportionately affected by climate change, are jobs and money going to go to those areas based on the new laws? I hope it works.
David Sandbank, Vice President of Distributed Energy Resources, NYSERDA: New York state has some of the most aggressive targets in the country, and doing nothing is a bigger cost. The whole concept is to get to 70% renewables by 2030 and 100% carbon-free by 2040. When you’re going to do that, you’re going to rely on the grid, the distribution network and much more to convert a lot of fossil fuel into electricity and electrification. One of the key components to that is energy storage because you can’t have intermittent technologies without energy storage.
We’re also going to change the way in which we generate our electricity to renewable resources. Thirdly, we’re going to be able to convert a lot of the fossil fuel into electricity, which is then going to be generated by mostly solar, wind and hydro. It’s going to change a lot of things. It’s going to change the way we drive our vehicles and how we charge our cars. We’re going to have to make our buildings smarter. The grid’s got to be much more flexible. This is just the very beginning of a long, necessary process.
As the state pursues these goals in legislation, what are some of the challenges and what are some of the opportunities?
Dewey: The pace at which we need to add renewables to the grid has got to be at a rate that we’ve never achieved in the past. It’s a pretty aggressive step up. When you look at the number of renewables on the grid, the hydro resources which are really important and really valuable, they are about 21% or 22%. In the last 10 years we’ve added another 3% to 5%. In the next 10 years, we’ve got to go from 25 to 70. It’s actually higher than that when you figure that nuclear is not renewable. Nuclear is carbon free, but it’s not renewable, so the pace with which we need to fund, site, build and interconnect renewables is arguably five-plus times a greater rate than we’ve done over the last 10 years.
How do we remove the administrative barriers? How do we knock down some of the regulated barriers of Article 10 and the likes? Those kinds of things are going to have to really work smoothly.
Evans: This is an interesting question because a challenge to somebody is an opportunity to somebody else. There’s going to be some disruption during this transition for people in certain jobs and certain industries. Legislation is going to have to balance some of that and help people through the transition with workforce training, but there are going to have to be restrictions on internal-combustion engine cars and developers for new development.
There will be some mandates about efficiency and renewable energy for retrofits, and so the challenge is going to be the restrictions and the mandates that are going to have to occur in order for this to happen. But that is going to create opportunities for people and new jobs in the green economy.
The owner/manager of 250 student apartments in Albany’s Pine Hills neighborhood expects to save $5,000 to $7,000 annually by purchasing power generated from a community solar farm near Troy.
Asaf Elkayam, president of Jerusalem Management, arranged for the purchase through ReWire Energy of Saratoga Springs.
ReWire Energy served as a broker for Hope Solar Farm in Brunswick.
It’s the first deal of this size for ReWire Energy, which is offering community solar subscriptions for businesses, homeowners, apartment owners, tenants, churches and nonprofit groups.
“Asaf is by far our biggest customer,” said Lee Evans, president of ReWire Energy.
The 2-megawatt solar farm in Brunswick was developed by High Peaks Solar. It will soon be connected to the energy grid.
Community solar farms enable homeowners, businesses and other energy users to save on their utility bills without installing solar panels on their buildings or land. The energy credits from community solar are applied to subscribers’ utility bills. Subscribers are billed at a 10% discount for the value of the credits.
Center for Economic Growth’s Earth Day Special: Capital Region Companies on the Front Lines in the Fight against Climate Change
The Capital Region has long been recognized as a national leader in cleantech innovation and green jobs. For example, a 2011 study by the Brookings Institution and the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice found that the Albany-Troy-Schenectady metropolitan statistical area (MSA) had, among the nation’s 100 largest MSAs, the highest concentration of clean economy jobs.
And ReWire Energy is one of the featured Capital Region Companies on the Front Lines in the Fight against Climate Change.
As a community minded project partner to Indianapolis-based KCG Development, Bill Teator of DEW Ventures wanted to explore energy efficiency goals raised by the City of Saratoga Springs and its planners. The proposed four-story, mixed-income and mixed-use project designed to replace the blighted former Saratoga Diner site on South Broadway was addressing critical workforce housing and a business incubator need, but what about an energy plan for the 150,000-square-foot development called The Link@SoBro?
In early 2018, KCG tapped the Saratoga Springs-based ReWire Energy to assist in developing The Link@SoBro’s Energy Plan. The plan called for an upgrade in energy efficiency that would lead to a 20 percent reduction in energy use as well as the installation of rooftop solar panels to completely cover the energy use in the building’s common areas.
Chris Parker just finished construction of a zero carbon apartment building, with 70% of the units considered affordable housing, for less than the cost of building a similar traditional apartment building, and he is on his way to completing a second phase. Now, he’s ready to share what he learned so others can do it, too.
Parker, executive director and founder of Giv Development, is the creator of Project Open, a $16 million, 112-unit, 5-story, zero carbon apartment building in Salt Lake City. His vision was to create a development that is both a solution to global carbon emissions and local air pollution, – an issue especially problematic for residents in the Salt Lake City area – and to make this housing available to low income residents. This project addresses both air quality and affordable housing challenges by reducing the building’s energy use, saving building costs so rents can be low, and making it easy for residents to live without fossil fuel-powered vehicles.
Alan and Lee Evans of ReWire Energy want to make it easier and cheaper for businesses, developers and municipalities to lower energy bills while adopting renewable energy technologies.
The Evans brothers started ReWire Energy in 2015 with their father, Milton, and three other brothers.
“If you’re running a business, your energy bill is one of those things you get and pay and forget about. Everyone always wants to reduce their energy costs,” Lee Evans said. “They also want to be green. We do an analysis to say ‘hey, here is how much kilowatt hours you’re using and how much its costing you.’ It’s a surprise for people.”
ReWire Energy focuses on the planning and analysis, figuring out ways to lower clients’ energy bill while bringing in new technologies like solar, smart thermostats and other net-zero energy technologies. The firm has strategic partners to implement the plans, including solar installers and energy companies.
ReWire Senior Energy Technologist Warren Evans discusses Zero Energy (ZE) in commercial buildings and how these grid-integrated buildings are capable of generating as much energy as they consume through advanced efficiency technologies and onsite generation systems such as solar power and geothermal energy. The article was published in the Saratoga Business Journal and focuses on the environmental and economic benefits of ZE projects and how they can provide owners with significant business value through resilience, employee and tenant retention and the ability to enjoy higher rents. Through intelligent design, clean construction and well-planned financing, developers can substantially increase the value of a commercial building with Zero Energy building design techniques.
What are the Benefits of ZE?
Buildings in the U.S. account for up to 40 percent of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions, therefore a significant effort is needed to reduce these emissions both for health and safety reasons and to meet the NY Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) goals of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030 and 40 percent reduction in the GHG emissions from 1990 levels.
To help achieve these goals building codes are steadily moving toward ZE supported by taxes and other economic incentives that accrue to developers and builders who use ZE designs.
ZE Building Construction Benefits include: increased building value (rent, marketing, sale); increased comfort; decreased carbon footprint and lower overall costs (utility, maintenance)
Read the Article: https://www.saratoga.com/saratogabusinessjournal/2018/09/business-report-zero-energy-commercial-buildings/
The Saratoga Economic Development Corporationannounced in June a major new initiative it said will empower world-leading integrated circuit and electronic system design in Saratoga County and New York’s Capital Region.
The Electronic Design and Innovation Initiative (EDI² Saratoga) founding partners feature a cross-section of international, national, regional, and local leaders including SEDC, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Clarkson University, National Grid, Siemens, Center for Economic Growth, New York State Electric & Gas, SUNY Adirondack and locally based ReWire Energy.
SEDC President Dennis Brobston estimated that the initiative will create over 100 jobs over the next five years.
Brobston said that, in order to fully leverage the successes of the last 40 years in the region, the semi-conductor industry must focus on developing cutting-edge integrated circuit design to keep up with the rapid pace of the chip manufacturing industry.
“We worked for more than a year with some of the top technology minds in Tech Valley and Silicon Valley to develop EDI² Saratoga and recruit a robust mix of founding partners. We are confident this model and our expanding partners will cement our region as a global leader in advanced electronics systems. Fostering front end design and workforce skills to boost applied next generation technologies will drive most sectors of economic growth and high paying wage opportunities,” he said.
Brobston said there are four key elements driving the growth of the semi-conductor industry: research and development, design, manufacturing and packaging implementation. As integrated chip circuity continues to become smaller and more sophisticated, the design component is the only one of those components that has lagged behind.
EDI² Saratoga will be housed in a building being constructed in what is being called SoBro, on South Broadway at the site of the former Saratoga Diner.