Connecticut’s redirection of Energy Efficiency Funds could potentially halt monetary and energy savings.
For the third time in the last decade, legislators in Connecticut have decided to raid the ratepayer-funded clean energy program budgets and divert the monies to the state’s general fund to help them close the budget gap.
This time, they’re taking some $35 million from both the state’s Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) – which was hailed as the nation’s first “green bank” when established two years ago – and from the state’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) account, derived from the state’s proceeds from the sale of carbon allowances. Continue reading →
A great dialogue continues here in Baltimore on accelerating industrial energy efficiency and combined heat and power (CHP) in the region.
Not only do public policies need to provide a solid framework that allows for CHP to be broadly deployed, but champions among end users really need to drive projects and help other stakeholders understand their value propositions.
Those points were driven home particularly by John Baker, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Management at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, as well as speakers from New Jersey and New York, including Brian Platt of NYSERDA, Mike Winka, director of the Office of Clean Energy in New Jersey, and Steven Goldenberg, chief counsel to the New Jersey Large Energy Users Coalition. Continue reading →
To help set the table for the U.S. DOE and NEEP co-hosted dialogue on advancing industrial energy efficiency and CHP, NEEP’s Sue Coakley is moderating a discussion on ‘Opportunities and Successes.’ She started this dialogue by showing a video from NEEP’s 2012 Energy Efficiency Summit in Stamford, Conn. that highlighted Sikorsky Aircraft and the energy efficiency and CHP investments they’ve made to their Stratford plant. With support from United Illuminating, Sikorsky is aiming to make their facility zero net energy with the help of an innovative co-generation unit. And with support from the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, the payback period for Sikorsky’s measures has been dropped to under four years.
Showing that best practices are not limited to New England, Jim Freihaut, director of the Mid-Atlantic Clean Energy Application Center at Penn State University, highlighted Proctor and Gamble’s Mehoopany, PA paper products plant, which has saved so much energy with its CHP application, that the company has closed plants in other states and moved those jobs to Pennsylvania. Continue reading →
Good morning from Baltimore, where the U.S. Department of Energy and NEEP have just kicked off our Regional Dialogue on Accelerating Industrial Energy Efficiency and Combined Heat and Power (CHP). This meeting is being held to advance the development and implementation of state-level best practices in both public policies and investment models that address the barriers to greater investments in industrial efficiency and CHP in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region.
Jason Miller, of the National Economic Council and a Special Assistant to President Obama for Manufacturing Policy, welcomed the 160+ participants here in Baltimore by highlighting the President’s Executive Order that sets a national goal of 40 gigawatts of new, cost-effective CHP by 2020. In noting that a revitalized manufacturing sector is a core element of the administration’s economic development agenda, Miller noted the importance of accelerating efficiency and CHP in this sector because “Energy is intertwined with competitiveness. Continue reading →
Hallelujah. Finally, we have an American president devoting considerable attention to the topic of climate change and the energy policies that drive it.
In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama made very clear that the time has come to act. For those of us engaged in ending energy waste and believing we can do more with less, his words were most welcome. The President is absolutely right in asserting that “After years of talking about it, we are finally poised to control our own energy future.” But that sentence did more than just allow him to introduce the litany of progress that we’ve made; it also marked a call to end the “phony debate” on whether climate change is real.
Northeast Region Tops the Nation in Energy Efficiency
The much anticipated state energy efficiency policy scorecard was just issued by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), and, once again, Massachusetts has topped the list as the number one state in the nation for energy efficiency public policies. (See: http://www.aceee.org/sector/state-policy/)
Add Philadelphia to the growing number of jurisdictions that have adopted laws requiring rating and disclosure of building energy performance.
The Philadelphia City Council on Thursday voted unanimously to approve a new ordinance requiring energy benchmarking of large commercial buildings in the city. Thanks to the leadership of Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager will now be used by owners of buildings of greater than 50,000 square feet to benchmark their energy performance. Continue reading →
In a Feb. 5 cover story of the Boston Globe Magazine, Neil Swidey’s “What if the Lights Go Out?” paints a bleak picture of the state of our regional electric grid. And all of his reasons are quite valid: we are overly-reliant on natural gas fired electricity generation; we have an aging electricity and natural gas infrastructure that is vulnerable to failures on its own and attacks from those intent on crippling our power system; and we are increasingly facing extreme weather events that challenge both that system and our resolve.
Swidey largely dismisses renewable energy resources, focusing on their intermittent nature rather than their promise to deliver clean energy from sources that, unlike fossil fuels, are not finite.
But his biggest disservice to readers is his complete omission of a solution that is quickly deployed, clean, reliable, affordable and indigenous to our region: energy efficiency.
Swidey makes no mention of the fact that cost-effective energy efficiency has the potential to save New England about 31,800 gigaWatt-hours of electricity, or the equivalent to the amount of energy produced each year by about four large coal-fired power plants. The electricity saved could power 4 million homes for one year – about equal to the households in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont combined.
ACEEE today released its 2011 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, and Massachusetts topped the rankings. Also making the top 10 were New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maryland.
Clearly, the Northeast is the leader in setting policies that recognize and value energy efficiency as a key economic and environmental resource. In each of these states, strong executive leadership has made a commitment to capturing energy efficiency. Several have also adopted a number of policies that complement the ratepayer funded programs that provide efficiency goods and services to those states’ residents and businesses. Through building energy codes, “stretch” energy codes, appliance efficiency standards, building energy rating, and other measures many of our states understand fully that the quickest, cleanest and cheapest way to address our energy needs is through robust energy efficiency policies and programs.
Congratulations again to Governor Deval Patrick and to all of the folks at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Department of Energy Resources, Department of Public Utilities, Board of Building Regulations and Standards, and to the efficiency program administrators (the electric and gas utilities and the Cape Light Compact) who made it all happen.