IES Cycle 2 Priority Theme: Empowering Electrification
Innovative Cycle 2 projects should ideally fit within the priority theme of Empowering Electrification.
Electrification refers to replacing direct fossil fuel use (e.g., propane, heating oil, gasoline) with electricity in a way that reduces overall emissions and energy costs. Transportation, electricity, and residential heating account for almost three quarters of Connecticut’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which by 2030, must be reduced by 45% from 2001 levels. The State offers many programs to support end-users to transition to electric alternatives (such as vehicle incentives through the CHEAPR program and heat pump incentives through the CLM program), but more will be needed to achieve the State’s decarbonization goals.
The IES program is looking for innovative projects that can reduce barriers to clean technology adoption, electrify energy consumption, or develop ways to integrate and manage new and flexible loads to the electric grid. Projects that fit within the Cycle 2 Theme of “Empowering Electrification” can reduce emissions across all sectors by electrifying equipment as electricity generation simultaneously shifts towards cleaner alternatives, creating a “win-win-win” for EDCs, customers, and the environment.
Beneficial Electrification projects could include, but are not limited to:
- Lowering barriers to fleet electrification adoption.
- Platform development to facilitate transactions for customers that want to electrify homes.
- Novel behind-the-meter electrification technology.
- New rates for heat pump and/or electric vehicle customers.
- Recommended modifications to support fuel switching (including cures to loss of customer if they switch from natural gas to electric equipment).
- Integration of a holistic solution that enables active management of EV chargers and other customer-sited DERs to increase dynamic hosting capacity through continuous monitoring of network load and active management of flexible resources.
- Integration of smart grid technology that can improve user understanding and control of their building energy usage, and provides them with pathways towards reducing their energy usage or pivoting towards electrification.
- Location-based incentives/rates for interconnection and/or energy use, depending on grid constraints.
Other innovation opportunities for Cycle 2 of the IES Program include the priorities identified in Connecticut’s Equitable Modern Grid Framework:
- Energy Affordability
- Advance metering infrastructure
- Electric Storage
- Zero Emission Vehicles
- Interconnection Standards and Practices
- Non-wire alternatives
- Resiliency and Reliability Standards and Programs
- Distributed Energy Resources Analysis and Program Reviews
- Building Blocks of Resource Adequacy and Clean Electric Supply
- New rate designs
We are in Cycle 2 in 2024 of the IES Program. A new cycle is launched each year.
Ideation & Screening
Interested participants submit Phase 1 applications describing their innovative product or service, for consideration by the IES Program Administrator and Innovation Advisory Council.
Prioritization & Selection
Eligible applicants will be invited to submit more comprehensive and detailed project proposals for consideration. Phase 2 Applications will include details on project costs and benefits, a plan for project deployment, and metrics and targets for evaluating the project’s success.
Innovators who pass Phase 2 and sign the Standard Form Agreement will deploy their proposed projects according to an agreed-upon scope and scale. Upon final project selection, innovators have approximately 12 to 18 months to deploy their projects and collect data on project performance.
Assessment & Scale
Innovators will be required to develop and submit a final report discussing costs and benefits, project performance, and lessons learned. Successful projects that are ready to scale will be invited to submit the appropriate regulatory application to do so.
Eligibility & Scoring Criteria
Phase 1: In order to move on to Phase 2 of the IES Program, projects will need to pass the below criteria. In case of an unexpectedly large volume of applications, IES Program evaluators will prioritize projects based on (1) description completeness, (2) impacts to underserved communities, and (3) innovation potential. Projects in underrepresented topic areas may be favored to offer a variety of innovative energy solutions under the IES Program. Ideally, each cycle will include projects under all participation pathways that fulfill the following objectives:
- Avoids potential EDC competitive advantage
- Avoids potential unreasonable ratepayer impact
- Advances decarbonization goals
- Approved (or will be approved within 30 days of selection) for Connecticut business practice
- Is innovative and/or addresses gaps in current Connecticut EDC offerings
- Addresses underserved communities (See Environmental Justice Communities Map and Distressed Municipalities List for reference)
Phase 2: Projects will be scored according to the following criteria and ranked by category and/or pathway, and voted upon to determine which projects are recommended to PURA to move forward into Phase 3 deployment:
- Relevance: The project must relate to electricity service delivery in Connecticut.
- Innovation: Projects must test a product, service, or business model that is not widely used in the Connecticut utility market. Projects should be able to scale or serve as a model for future adoption.
- Readiness: The applicant must demonstrate their preparation and readiness for testing their product or service in a live environment. Testing plans must be well-developed and have clear objectives and measures. The tools and resources required to enable pilot testing must be in place at the time of application.
- Economic Benefit: Projects should have a positive impact on the Connecticut economy and ultimately reduce costs for Connecticut electricity customers.
- Cost-Effectiveness: Projects must identify expected costs and benefits to customers, EDCs, and non-participant utility customers.
- Programmatic or Market Gaps: Applicants will be expected to demonstrate how their project addresses one or more gaps in the market and provides clear additionality over existing EDC investments.
- Equity: Participants will be required to develop a credible action plan for prioritizing underserved communities within project implementation. The IES program will require proposals to prioritize hiring and working with vendors from underserved communities wherever possible.
Once Phase 2 applications are received, the Program Administration team and IAC members will rank projects in accordance with their scores and submit a portfolio of recommended projects to PURA. PURA will review the Program Administration team and IAC’s recommended portfolio, request additional information from Phase 2 applicants if needed, and submit a decision on projects eligible for Phase 3 deployment.
Phase 3: PURA-approved projects will conduct their deployment and data collection/reporting according to agreed-upon Project Implementation Tracking Plan.
Phase 4: To inform PURA’s scaling recommendation, ex post assessment of project process and impacts, including quantification of energy and environmental impacts, cost-effectiveness assessment, details around customer experience (if applicable), and other quantitative/qualitative outcomes as deemed appropriate jointly be the project owner and Program Administrator. In addition to the criteria outlined below, there may be additional project-specific criteria, as identified in the Project Implementation Tracking Plan performance metrics:
- Project performance:
- Cost effectiveness test
- Cost containment (i.e., under cap in total, under cap at each stage)
- Achievement of quantitative KPIs
- Achievement of project goals
- Customer experience (which could include customers, but also vendors, contractors, and stakeholders, if applicable)
- Project execution
- Economic Development/Job creation:
- New jobs created
- New areas of work created
- DEI Metrics:
- Underserved communities targeted
- Provides non-energy benefits to underserved communities
- Overall project scalability potential
- Impact on DEI communities if scaled
- Impact on jobs if scaled
- Impact on GHG emissions reductions if scaled