June 27, 2023, 1–2 p.m. ET


Level: Introductory

When developing a utility energy service contract (UESC), it's important to understand how changes to energy demand or load at a federal site will impact the utility bill.

In this webinar, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) will cover basic utility rate concepts and introduce quick and simple approaches to help agencies evaluate rate options by utilizing DOE's renewable energy optimization tool (REopt*). FEMP will also provide an overview of REopt and how it can be used to assess the viability of distributed energy measures for UESCs.

*REopt is a free web tool developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) most often used to identify an optimal system size for grid-connected distributed energy resources but can also be used to compare the life cycle costs of different utility rates for a specific site.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, attendees will be able to:

  • Describe the basic electricity cost components included in a utility bill.
  • Follow specific steps to evaluate whether an alternative rate may be beneficial to your site.
  • Compare the life cycle costs of different utility rates for a specific site using REopt.
  • Recognize how REopt can be used to evaluate the viability of distributed energy measures.


Katy Christiansen, Program Manager, NREL

Katy Christiansen is a project manager in the Project Development and Finance Advisory Group at NREL leading resilience and sustainability efforts.

Katy's area of expertise includes strategic planning, project development, and analysis for the defense, federal, utility, and non-profit sectors.

Her current focus is in resilience analysis for complex organizations and best practices for developing advanced infrastructure systems.

Kathleen Krah, Research Engineer, NREL

Kathleen Krah is a research engineer at NREL. Her work centers around NREL's REopt tool, a techno-economic optimization tool for distributed energy systems.

Kathleen leads techno-economic analysis projects to support domestic and international communities, government agencies, and other public- and private-sector organizations seeking to cost-optimally achieve their energy goals—including decarbonization, resilience, and cost-savings priorities.

Additionally, she contributes to REopt tool development, with a focus on expanding emissions and renewable energy modeling capabilities, and now leads the REopt team at the program level.

Kathleen holds an MEngSc in Sustainable Energy Engineering from University College Cork (Ireland) and a BS in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Notre Dame.

Chandra Shah, Senior Project Leader, NREL

Chandra Shah is a senior project leader at NREL. She has been supporting FEMP since 1998—helping agencies purchase off-site renewable energy, implement distributed energy projects, and achieve energy/water goals through UESCs and other utility partnerships.

Chandra is a co-author of the energy savings performance contract (ESPC) energy sales agreement (ESA) toolkit and other ESPC ESA templates.

She is a CEM and holds an M.B.A. from the University of Washington and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan.

Jeff Gingrich, Project Manager, NREL

Jeff Gingrich manages program and training development for FEMP Utility Team at NREL.

He is an advisor in supporting the development of UESC projects and develops resources and curriculum for the internationally accredited UESC training courses for federal agencies and regulated utilities.

In addition, Jeff supports a portfolio of projects at NREL that include energy savings performance contracts and Integrated Urban Services in the ASEAN region.

About FEMP Training

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provides live and on-demand training to foster and maintain a high-performance workforce that constructs, operates, and maintains energy-efficient and cost-effective federal facilities. Choose from over 120 free courses spanning topics like project financing, facility and fleet optimization, fleet management, resilience, sustainable product procurement, and more.

FEMP is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and awards IACET continuing education units (CEUs) upon the successful completion of select courses. FEMP training is provided through the National Institute of Building Sciences’ Whole Building Design Guide (WBDG) learning management system.