Hanford officials missed out on at least $190,500 in payments from incentive programs for energy conservation in recent years, according to an audit by the Department of Energy Office of Inspector General.
The amount is from missed payments the audit was able to add up, but there were other savings opportunities auditors could not quantify, according to a report on the audit released this past week.
“We found that the issues we observed at Hanford … occurred because of a lack of consistent focus on incentive programs or a lack of consistent follow-through by site personnel,” the report said.
Since the audit was conducted, the DOE Richland Operations Office at Hanford has worked with Mission Support Alliance, its site services contractor, to investigate ways to use energy efficiency incentive programs and to communicate information on incentives to other Hanford contractors, said Stacy Charboneau, manager of the DOE office, in a memo.
DOE will work with its Hanford contractors and the Bonneville Power Administration to improve Hanford participation in BPA’s incentive program as a new two-year cycle for the program starts this fall, she said.
The audit checked seven DOE sites to see if they had taken advantage of available energy incentive programs, as required for federal agencies under the national Energy Conservation Policy Act.
It found that since 2010, the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Virginia had received $820,000 in energy incentives and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois had received $1.8 million.
But Hanford and the Argonne National Laboratory based in Illinois had not taken full advantage of available incentives, the audit report said.
Hanford did not apply for incentives for two new construction projects. The money saved could have been used on environmental cleanup.
The site could have received $63,000 in incentives through a BPA program to help reduce construction costs for its large commercial customers for energy efficiency measures.
The audit found that Hanford could have used the program, which ended in 2011, for a groundwater treatment plant completed in June 2012. Hanford officials said submitting a proposal to BPA would not have been onerous, the audit report said.
In another instance, DOE expanded its large, lined landfill in central Hanford in 2009, including installing an energy-efficiency pump. The amount of missed incentives through the BPA program could not be calculated because Hanford officials did not track the energy savings from the new equipment, the audit report said.
Hanford did take advantage of some incentives for energy conservation in existing facilities, but not consistently, the audit report said.
Hanford has had an energy savings performance contract since 2008 that makes it eligible for about $127,500 in incentives for completed energy conservation measures, such as upgrades to heating, cooling and boiler equipment.
“No one at Hanford completed or submitted the incentive application necessary to receive the incentives,” the audit report said. “This lack of follow-through by site personnel resulted in the site losing the entire incentive.”