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OpenEE Welcomes Adam Scheer

Posted on
April 2, 2019
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OpenEE Welcomes Adam Scheer

OpenEE is excited to welcome Adam Scheer to our team! He brings years of experience in energy efficiency. Adam started his career in EE on PG&E’s EM&V team, then supervised the Residential Programs team, and served as a Principal in the Policy Group. You could say he has seen it all.

During his time at PG&E, Adam consistently pursued goals that align with OpenEE's vision, including modernizing efficiency with data and analytics, advancing EE as a reliable grid resource, and advocating for sound policies to help clean energy scale.

In each role, he focused on connecting research and data analytics to the EE portfolio. Along with our mutual friend Sam Borgeson and PG&E collaborators, Adam spearheaded research into customer targeting based on AMI data for both the residential and small/medium business sectors. He then saw the most promising strategies through to practical implementation with PG&E now providing custom targeting support for the Pay-for-Performance program.   

As a key member of California’s Market Transformation Working Group, he helped provide the California Public Utilities Commission a set of recommendations to advance market transformation as a pillar of energy efficiency that can help the state reach aggressive goals well into the future.

Adam is trained in the art of problem-solving, having received a Ph.D in Physics from the University of Colorado-Boulder and completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Combustion Research Facility of Sandia National Labs. His research focused on a range of topics including the sub-microsecond ignition chemistry of novel biofuel molecules. In total, Adam published more than 30 articles in a range of high-impact scientific journals.

Now in his own words, why did Adam want to join in the OpenEE mission?


Energy efficiency has a fundamental problem: The question, “How much energy did we save?” has no straightforward answer.

First, one must specify if “ex ante” estimates or “ex post” results are desired. Then the net or gross domain must be established. The answer will of course also depend on whether the baseline is taken to be existing conditions, code, industry standard practice or some combination. Let’s not forget about spillover effects and takeback. The list goes on.

Beyond making people dizzy this complexity has real and often negative consequences. It marginalizes policymakers and most stakeholders by consolidating actual control over the industry within a band of narrow technical experts. It makes EE irrelevant as a procurable distributed energy resource--to a procurement planner, one efficiency program is apples, another is oranges, but the whole thing is definitely bananas. But more than anything, the complexity in EE creates a culture that values false precision, rewards gamesmanship, and takes monkey wrench throwing to Olympic levels.

I joined OpenEE to help bring common sense back to energy efficiency.

More than any other company, I’ve seen OpenEE effectively advocate for a more rational EE landscape and then do the hard work fostering the tools to make that vision a reality.

Leaving behind the maze of rabbit holes, conflicting policies and misaligned incentives of deemed and custom savings in favor of standardized, open-source, meter-based measurement brings a host of benefits including:

  • Accountability – With the visibility of metered savings, program administrators, stakeholders, and regulators gain more concrete and intuitive insights into EE. Metered savings analysis also enables the creation of pay-for-performance (P4P) programs, and eventually markets, in which incentives are based on observed grid impacts. In P4P you get what you pay for, you pay more when it’s needed, you scale what you know works, and you don’t pay for what you don’t see. If that sounds familiar, that’s because every other market operates this way.
  • Timely Feedback – As soon as program tracking begins, we can start gauging impacts. This feature of metering savings enables immediate feedback and performance management, especially in a P4P context.
  • Flexibility – With the P4P platform implementers gain flexibility to tailor interventions for customers on an individual basis. No longer must every customer get a prescriptive set of measures regardless of need or real impacts. Not everyone needs size 10 shoes, and not everyone needs a refrigerant charge adjustment. P4P with metered savings rewards delivering what actually helps a customer save energy and discourages actions that don’t, regardless of what a workpaper says.
  • Integration – Metering load impacts paves the way for integrated programs where the full suite of distributed energy resources are available to drive the greatest value for customers and the grid. No longer should complex assignment of attribution and interactive effects be a barrier to more holistic programs and procurement options.
  • Motivation – With metered savings, implementers are rewarded for recruiting the right customers, PAs are rewarded for helping them find those customers, and both are invested in delivering real savings consistently. In a deemed paradigm, implementers are rewarded mainly for effective program recruitment with consequences of poor results relegated to a distant future date.
  • Simplicity – More than anything, moving EE to a metered basis democratizes the entire industry. With P4P you no longer have to master esoteric industry nuances to influence the conversation and provide a solution.

It is not easy to facilitate and operate a standard system of weights and measures. But once in place, we can stop arguing about the size of a foot, the mailbox that marks the end of a country mile, and how many people would have eaten their vegetables in the absence of butter. With measurement of savings at the meter via transparent and standardized methods we can move beyond these arguments and instead talk about how we’re going to solve climate change.

This is the discussion I’d like to have and the one OpenEE is pushing forward. Care to join us?

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