Energy efficiency policy work doesn’t always make for great conversation at dinner parties. Energy efficiency represents energy and money not wasted, so it’s less tangible than new solar panels or a natural gas well. And much of NEEP’s work is behind the scenes, spread across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states in regulatory proceedings that can be hard to follow, on topics that may not, on the surface, sound very interesting. The energy efficiency policies we follow certainly haven’t captured media attention the way that the future of the Keystone XL pipeline has. But an article in last week’s New York Times by Coral Davenport helps show just how important these proceedings on energy efficiency (and other aspects of energy and environmental policy) are to the future of our energy landscape and the Earth’s climate.
Josh Craft, Manager of Public Policy Analysis
The spring 2013 legislative sessions have once again breezed by! This Policy Tracker focuses on the recent developments in energy efficiency policy in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.
Good News, Bad News for Energy Efficiency Programs in the States
Revenue for energy efficiency programs is critical to achieving the energy savings goals in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. While hydropower from Quebec grabbed the spotlight for legislators this session, both Connecticut and Maine enacted measures that should boost funding for the state’s energy efficiency programs. Connecticut HB 6360, the comprehensive energy strategy bill pending signature by Governor Malloy, creates a new funding mechanism that could double money for electric and natural gas energy efficiency programs in future years. It also promotes revenue decoupling, an important step for promoting utility investment in efficiency. And in Maine, legislators overrode a veto by Governor Paul LePage of LD 1559, a significant and bi-partisan omnibus energy bill. The bill marks a shift back in favor of energy efficiency there, providing new funding for thermal efficiency program, dramatically increasing efficiency funding for the Efficiency Maine Trust, and restoring Public Utilities Commission (PUC) authority over the budget of the state’s efficiency programs.
Posted in Best Practices, Policy News
Tagged comprehensive energy strategy, efficiency standard, Energy Efficiency, Obama, policy, policy makers, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, stakeholders, Thermal Energy Task Force, utility investment
“The courage to act before it’s too late.” That’s how President Obama framed his address on Tuesday on climate change. Speaking to students at Georgetown University, the President asked for a new generation’s help to keep “the United States of America a leader in the fight against climate change.” The speech laid out a new climate change action plan that includes placing limits on the carbon dioxide emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act, creating new federal appliance standards that will bring emissions down by 3 billion tons by 2030, as well as programs to increase the efficiency of our commercial, industrial, and multifamily buildings by 20 percent by 2020 (see the details of from the White House here).
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.