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 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
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
Developed by Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships and informed by stakeholders from around the region, the “Roadmap to Zero Net Energy Pubic Buildings” presents 5 steps states and municipalities can do now to make zero net energy public buildings (ZNEBs) a reality across the region within 15 years.
Mass Gov. Deval Patrick at this May's dedication of the John Olver Transit Center in Greenfield, Ma - the country's first zero-net transit facility.
These critical steps are:
- Develop a Path to Highest Performance of Exemplary Public Buildings – A comprehensive public campaign is needed to convey a consistent message to the broadest public audience.
- Promote the Continued Development of Exemplary Public Buildings – States should continue to construct ZNE buildings each year.
- Prioritize Measurement and Reporting of Public Building Energy Performance – The region needs to establish a standardized system for measuring and reporting building energy performance.
- Implement Stretch Building Energy Codes – States should establish a performance –based stretch energy code for public buildings.
- Create a Mechanism to Provide Capital for Energy Investments – Lack of capital funding is probably the single most important financial barrier to greater investment in efficiency and renewable energy.
The roadmap calls on the public sector to lead the charge toward ZNEB specifically because of its unique longer investment horizon outlook. ZNE investments provide the greatest opportunity for immediate action with the added benefit of substantial long term energy and costs savings. As the market for higher performance buildings matures, the public sector can serve as an incubator for new technologies and alternative design and construction prices.
For additional resources on zero net energy public buildings, click here.
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
Our most recent Policy Tracker is available now. Key developments include:
- Final Legislative Developments in Connecticut, Maine, and New York
- RGGI Fight Continues in New Jersey and New York
- Noteworthy Reports: NRDC Report on Set-Top Boxes and Institute for Electric Efficiency on Codes and Standards
Check out the latest news here.
Thanks to NRDC, a longtime partner of NEEP in helping to set new appliance efficiency standards, the challenge of energy waste from television set-top boxes-those ubiquitous devices that receive cable TV signals or digitally record TV shows-is receiving front-page news coverage. The “Better Viewing, Lower Energy Bills, and Less Pollution” report, available here, shows that the 160 million set-top boxes installed in American homes consume as much electricity as all the homes in the state of Maryland do in one year. That’s equivalent to nine 500 MW coal-fired power plants. And most of this is vampire load, consumed when the devices are not in use.
How the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Is Helping the Northeast Shift to Clean Energy and Reduce Pollution from Fossil Fuels
A new report released today from Environment America says that clean energy investments totaling nearly $450 million from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has led to over $1 billion in energy savings and has contributed $2.6 billion to economic growth in the region, as of the end of May 2011.
According to the report, “A Program that Works: How the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is Helping the Northeast Shift to Clean Energy and Reduce Pollution from Fossil Fuels,” RGGI is helping states from Maryland to Maine meet their energy challenges by providing investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, cutting pollution and curbing dependence on fossil fuels. Continue reading