During the Jan. 17 Tallapoosa County Board of Education work session, a specialist at Alabama Power presented a possible partnership before the board.
Superintendent Ray Porter said this is an “introductory phase for the board,” and this presentation is an opportunity to explore the possibilities.
Keith Patterson, commercial and industrial market specialist at Alabama Power, explained how the two entities could work together for energy efficiency savings.
During the presentation, he said should a partnership occur, they would do a performance contract, which takes future energy savings to then fund the energy conservation projects.
“The customer itself, or in this case the school system, would have no out of pocket expense,” Patterson said. “Everything is done from an open book. The system would have authority to control which of these energy conservation measures we pick.”
Patterson said an example of an energy conservation project would be replacing the fluorescent lights with LEDs.
Looking at the linear fluorescent lights in the boardroom, he estimated there were about four lamps with 28 watts and the LED equivalent would likely be two lamps with 18 watts. He noted, based on that estimate, there could be a 70 percent energy reduction on a per lamp basis.
Patterson explained the future energy savings is based on a 20-year span and as long as the desired projects fit within that budget range it’s a possibility.
Patterson said should a contract occur, they would then do a preliminary audit, where Alabama Power engineers would walk through the facilities and pinpoint energy saving areas in order of magnitude.
The school board could then issue a request for qualification (RFQ). Alabama Power would then do an investment grade audit, which will give the overall pricing for the project.
“At the point of the investment grade audit, if you decided ‘hey, this isn't for us,’ your only financial liability would be that whatever expense was defined up front to do this investment grade audit,” he said.
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After the audit, if the school board wanted to move forward it would then go under a construction contract. Patterson said under the construction contract they would manage the process from beginning to end including the bids. Since these projects are coming from the predicted savings, he said the school board would not have to spend excess money for these projects.
“The capital funds are there, but it gives you the opportunity to use them on a more discretionary approach, where we can take this and incorporate all that into an energy conservation project,” Patterson said.
Should the two entities enter a performance contract, Patterson explained it would be a 20 year partnership.
After the presentation, Porter asked for a clarification of how the initial funding would occur since it is based on future savings.
Patterson explained Alabama Power would be the entity borrowing the money and the school district would not need to take on any debt — allowing the funding to come from the savings from the viewpoint of the school board.
“From our standpoint, it truly is the service aspect of this is what we're able to do,” Patterson said. “The great thing about the project list we have had is that these are all customers that we have multiyear relationships with.”
Also in attendance for the presentation was Patrick Adams, Alabama Power marketing manager for eastern Alabama, and Evan Rogers, the account manager assigned to Tallapoosa County.
“Like I said, I wanted tonight to be an introductory phase for the board,” Porter said. “And [Patterson] and I will have some more conversations before I have another conversation with [the board].”
The next Tallapoosa County Board meeting will be held Jan. 23 at 5 p.m.