Blog: RFI helps shape market transformation in California


A significant step toward establishing a market transformation portfolio for California concluded with the close of CalMTA’s first Request for Ideas (RFI) on August 18. The market transformation administrator received 117 submissions describing innovative technologies and practices that will help the state reach its energy efficiency and decarbonization goals through market transformation. RFI submittals are now being reviewed and scored by the CalMTA team, with the highest-ranked ideas selected for further development as California’s first full-scale market transformation initiatives (MTIs). The first set of ideas will be shared at the public Market Transformation Advisory Board meeting on Oct. 13.  

Summary of submitted ideas 

RFI responses encompass a diverse range of technologies, products, services, and market segments. The majority of submitted ideas fell into the commercial (43%) or residential (40%) sectors, although we also received industrial, agricultural, and cross-sector submittals. Process loads; building envelopes; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC); and domestic hot water systems (DHW) were the most prevalent load types addressed by submittals, with additional ideas focused on foodservice technologies and consumer products. 

Results of CalMTA’s first RFI, showing distribution of submissions by type, load type, and target sector

Market response 

Stakeholders across California and nationwide showed great interest in the RFI process, with 63 unique submitters that included nonprofits, energy efficiency program implementers, consultants, manufacturers, utilities, and research firms.  

“We wanted to make sure the process was easy and accessible to anyone with a viable idea that could eventually become an MTI,” said Jeff Mitchell, principal of market transformation development. “The best part for me was meeting with submitters who signed up for office hours to discuss their ideas to increase market-level energy efficiency and decarbonization.”  

CalMTA held informational briefings with 32 interested organizations and distributed toolkits of easy-to-share RFI promotional materials to more than 60 ally organizations to increase awareness of the RFI. Two public webinars drew nearly 120 registrations. RFI submittal support services provided by CalMTA also proved popular, with 21 individuals scheduling office-hour meetings with our MTI team and 14 engaging with our online Q&A discussion board.  

Next steps 

An initial threshold review process will ensure that submitted ideas (1) save energy, (2) are commercially available or on track to be, and (3) include enough information to be scored. Top ideas will advance based on weighted scoring criteria that includes: 

  • total system benefit (TSB),  
  • commercial readiness,  
  • estimated MTI cost/cost-effectiveness,
  • non-energy impacts,  
  • beneficial impacts to environmental and social justice (ESJ) communities, and 
  • alignment with the market transformation framework used by CalMTA.  

Selected ideas will then be developed into Advancement Plans, which lay out the activities needed to develop full MTI Plans for implementation, such as market and technology research, pilots and demonstration projects, workforce development needs, and stakeholder engagement. The team will begin finalizing Advancement Plans for the first batch of MTIs in late 2023 and early 2024, as shown below. By the end of 2024, CalMTA will submit an application to the CPUC seeking funding approval for an initial set of MTIs.

MTI Development Timeline

This graphic shows the progress of MT ideas through the first two phases of the MTI development process, with key milestones indicated through the end of Phase II (click to enlarge).

CalMTA will develop Advancement Plans for additional MTI ideas throughout 2024 and beyond in a series of batches. Long term, the resulting market transformation portfolio will work to reduce energy consumption, promote decarbonization, increase grid health, and support equity and workforce development goals.

“There’s so much market transformation opportunity in California and I’m excited to see how MTIs drive long-lasting, equitable change across the energy landscape here,” Mitchell said. “These initiatives will help continue the state’s leadership in energy efficiency work and benefit the lives of Californians for decades to come.”  

Keep in touch 

To stay informed of development of CalMTA’s MTI portfolio, register to receive email updates, follow the CalMTA LinkedIn page, and join upcoming CalMTA Market Transformation Advisory Board (MTAB) meetings, which are open to the public.  



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