The Metered Energy Efficiency Transaction Structure (MEETS) is a radical new approach designed to achieve deep energy efficiency improvements in commercial buildings. It protects utility revenues, eliminates utility risk, and provides strong financial returns for investors in deep (35% savings or greater) energy efficiency. The 35% threshold represents a level of savings below which there are currently numerous alternatives for financing.
With MEETS, the utility sells energy services—heating, cooling, illumination, fresh air—not kilowatt hours (kWhs), to the building’s tenants. The utility initially receives the same gross revenue that it would have received had the building been built and operated to code (i.e., the tenants pay for the combined used energy plus the saved energy). Then the utility pays an amount based on metered energy saved back to the investors, valued at a negotiated rate at the time and adjusted over time for inflation, minus a portion to cover administrative expenses. In the SCL-Bullitt Center MEETS there is an additional efficiency incentive offered by the utility to the investors. The price the utility pays under the MEETS PPA ensures that over the life of the PPA the utility pays out less than the retail revenue received.
MEETS is designed to work with, or without, incentives. Because the saved power follows the utility’s load curve, and because the utility pays only for actual savings after they have been achieved and measured against a baseline, the utility willingly pays a premium. The purchased savings are analogous to purchasing electricity from a load-following, non-polluting, risk-free independent power producer. Seattle City Light is experimenting with MEETS in a pilot program with the recently constructed Bullitt Center. Savings to date have been extraordinary. This paper explains how the program operates, how the baseline for a new building was modeled, and how the DeltaMeter® (which calculates savings) functions. It is expected that the primary use of MEETS will be in the existing building deepenergy retrofit market, however, as this paper describes, it can be applied to ultra-efficient new construction.