Associate Director
Michael Sontag

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Michael Sontag

Michael Sontag joined E3 in 2016. He develops models to explore grid integration of renewable energy; retail rate design; and the value of distributed energy technologies such as energy efficiency, storage, and flexible loads. His expertise encompasses demand-side resources, energy modeling in commercial buildings, and data analytics. He has also worked as a product manager for a sustainable building materials company and as an energy efficiency engineer.

Michael believes that sustainable global energy consumption is the moonshot of the 21st century. He is pleased to help illuminate the path forward and sees great potential value for flexible loads, a resource that remains largely untapped.

Education: MS, civil engineering, atmosphere and energy, Stanford University; BS, mechanical engineering, University of California, Berkeley; licensed professional engineer in mechanical engineering (California).


Time-dependent valuation for building codes | CEC, 1999–present

E3 supports the California Energy Commission (CEC) in implementing the state building energy code by maintaining the economic framework for energy standard requirements and allowed trade-offs for new construction. We have worked with the CEC and its stakeholders since 1999 to continually refine a time-dependent valuation (TDV) methodology, and we are now under contract to support the 2025 Title 24 Update. The TDV methodology uses a 30-year forecast of the social cost of energy that varies hourly and by location to account for shifts in system peaks over time, and regional variations in climate and grid utilization. . E3’s initial study investigated a shift to a value-based standard that accounts for the time and geographic differences in energy costs seen in California energy prices, natural gas and propane markets, as well as in the costs of electric utility distribution and transmission systems. TDV was initially adopted in 2005, and E3 supported the updates in 2008, 2013, 2016, 2019, and 2022.


Cost and Emissions Impacts of Residential Building Electrification in California | Three Utility Study, 2018-19

E3 was retained by three of California’s largest electric utilities – Southern California Edison (SCE), Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) – to explore the consumer costs and emissions reduction potential associated with the electrification of California homes. The study examines costs, savings, and emissions for electric and gas appliances in six different home types in geographical areas covering over half the state’s population. Unlike prior studies, it closely evaluates the consumer cost perspective on building electrification and quantifies GHG emissions savings by home type. E3 found that building electrification would deliver lifecycle cost savings for most home types in the study area. For homes with air conditioning – about 80 percent of the total – the economics are particularly strong: all new construction homes and the vast majority (84 percent) of existing single-family homes with A/C would save by going all-electric. E3 also found that electrification would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from homes – starting today. For example, a Sacramento home built in the 1990s would immediately cut its GHG emissions nearly in half by switching to all-electric appliances; by 2050, with a significantly cleaner electric grid, the GHG savings would grow to over 80 percent (and more, if California achieves carbon neutrality).