Haven’t we been here before?
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
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
The Northeast Retail Products Initiative, facilitated by NEEP, in conjunction with its sponsoring utility and energy efficiency program administrators, has been awarded the coveted 2013 ENERGY STAR Award for Sustained Excellence –ENERGY STAR’s highest honor.
The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions are seeing unprecedented savings in electricity and natural gas use, thanks to a combined commitment to invest over $2.5 billion dollars in energy efficiency through 2013, according to NEEP’s second annual Regional Roundup of Energy Efficiency Policy. The report examines overall policy trends and suggests which states are leading and lagging in capturing cost-effective energy efficiency to help meet energy demand as cleanly and cheaply as possible. Continue reading
Increasing severe weather events. Increasing plug load. An aging infrastructure. Cyber security concerns. The advance of electric cars. The trend toward more distributed and renewable energy generation. Smart appliances. Smart users. And an increasing focus on energy efficiency in buildings and products. So what will the power grid of the future look like? What will it mean for customers? And who should pay for these upgrades?
The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) recently kicked off a Grid Modernization Working Group to examine the policies that will enable the state’s electric distribution companies and their customers to harness the new technologies and best practices of our increasingly dynamic and sophisticated electric system. Admittedly, the electric grid that we live with today was designed for much simpler times.
Presidential election aside, November brings many important state and federal policy developments for energy efficiency. From state elections and energy efficiency plans, the Northeast states will be busy this month shaping energy and regulatory policy and NEEP will be there to provide you with context and analysis on what’s to come. Here are some notable developments in energy efficiency policy that we’re following: Continue reading
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/)
The potential energy savings in the multi-family sector is tremendous. In spite of this, the sector has not been a point of focus for retrofit projects as there are multiple barriers to achieving complete success in these types of projects.
Beginning June 1, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships will assist Efficiency Maine in its efforts to develop and deploy a multi-year energy efficiency strategy to accelerate comprehensive energy retrofits in small to medium multi-family housing which are characterized broadly as 10-40 year old, 5-20 unit apartment buildings. Continue reading
You may be surprised to hear that Distribution Transformers (which include the round barrel-looking devices on telephone poles) offer significant energy savings opportunities. Although most transformers are quite efficient (efficiencies over 98%), the sheer volume of these deployed throughout the country mean even small improvements can result in big savings.
A few weeks ago, DOE published proposed efficiency standards for Distribution Transformers (This product class is made up of 3 categories of transformers; Medium-voltage liquid-immersed, Medium-voltage dry-type, Low voltage dry-type).
Besides the document containing surprising errors and misrepresentations, the proposed levels selected by the Department fell at the very low end of the levels considered. Continue reading
City Hall Annex - Cambridge's first high performance municipal building Photo: City of Cambridge and Blind Dog Photo, Inc.
Naturally, I waited until the last possible day of the year to apply for my resident parking permit at the City Hall Annex in Cambridge, Mass. When I entered the lobby, the line of permit-seekers was at least a hundred people deep, winding around the entire first floor of the building, up the staircase and back down again. What I expected to be a high-anxiety situation filled with people sighing loudly and making rude comments under their breath turned out to be a surprisingly pleasant experience. People waited patiently, read their books, chatted with their neighbors, and played games on their cell phones until it was their time at the window. Why such a pleasant atmosphere?
I’d like to think that the vibe had something to do with the fact that we were all waiting inside Cambridge’s first municipal “green” building. The building is a historic renovation of an 1871 schoolhouse—with big windows, an upgraded ventilation system, non-toxic paint and finishes, and geothermal heating. The walls of the lobby are covered in nature-inspired murals depicting the City’s commitment to the environment. Cambridge taxpayers pay less for utilities to power this building – and procrastinators like me now have a beautiful place to wait in line to get a permit. Continue reading