Tag Archives: policy tracker

Energy Efficiency Policy Tracker: February 2014

Here’s our brief rundown on key developments in energy efficiency policy from around the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states NEEP is keeping tabs on.

Data Moment: Electricity Use Decoupling from Economic Growth, BP Finds

Source: BP, Annual Energy Outlook for 2035, p. 16

Source: BP, Annual Energy Outlook for 2035, p. 16

Last month, Brad Plumer of the Washington Post reported that BP found in its Annual Energy Outlook for 2035 that energy consumption is gradually decoupling from economic growth. The graph below is yet more evidence that we are making significantly progress, through policy and through markets, to become more energy efficient.

New England Governors’ Statement on Energy Infrastructure

The New England Governors released a statement in December calling for the states to work together on a regional energy infrastructure investment initiative that “diversifies our energy supply portfolio while ensuring that the benefits and costs of transmission and pipeline investments are shared appropriately among the New England states.” While the governor’s statement was widely seen as expressing their intent to expand gas pipeline capacity and create new electric transmission to bring hydropower from Canada into the region (for which the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE) has petitioned ISO-New England’s assistance), they also re-iterated their support for energy efficiency as a key resource to be included in load forecasting and transmission planning. The recent electricity price spikes in our region demonstrate the importance of our natural gas energy efficiency programs to ensuring reasonably-priced electricity.

ISO-New England & Energy Efficiency

  • ISO-New England is undertaking two initiatives that have significant implications for energy efficiency resources in the Northeast region. First, it has release a preliminary draft of its 2017-2023 Energy Efficiency Forecast. The forecast, which predicts energy and capacity savings based on state energy efficiency budgets, shows that energy efficiency resources will reduce annual electricity consumption by about 1,550 GWh and peak demand by 210 MW per year. The result according to ISO: “Generally, energy remains flat in the region with notable reductions in energy in VT and RI.” ISO welcomes comments on the draft through March 3 at eeforecast@iso-ne.com.
  • ISO-New England has also filed a proposal with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to alter the Forward Capacity Market (FCM) by creating a “Pay-for-Performance” mechanism. Under the new rules, ISO-NE would require participating resources to perform during shortage events; non-performers would be penalized, while performing resources would be rewarded. A number of stakeholders have expressed concerns with the proposal, in part because it creates uncertainty about whether energy efficiency resources will be able to continue to participate in the FCM under the new rules. Energy efficiency resources are passive by their nature and cannot be dispatched in real-time. For more background as well as an alternative proposal from the Northeast Power Pool (NEPOOL), see ISO’s blog here. A final ruling is expected by FERC by May 14, 2014.
Source: ISO-New England, 2013 Regional System Plan

Source: ISO-New England, 2013 Regional System Plan

Oil Heat Energy Efficiency

The U.S. Congress recently passed the Farm Bill, and along with it, it re-authorized the Oilheat Efficiency, Renewable Fuel and Jobs Training Act, informally known as the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA). NORA allows oilheat retailers to pay a small assessment on heating oil sales in twenty-three states to support programs that benefit oilheat customers. Fifteen (15) percent of these funds will go towards energy efficiency measures and oilheat system replacements, which will allow some oilheat dealers to provide energy efficiency services to their customers. While the impact of such federal action will be impactful, NEEP continues to work with our allies in supporting state oilheat efficiency legislation, such as H. 2741 in Massachusetts that would allow for much greater investments in energy efficiency resources for homes and businesses that rely on oilheat.

State Energy Efficiency Proceedings

  • New York Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EEPS) Restructuring Proposal: New York Public Service Commission (PSC) issued a significant order in December approving many changes to the Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EEPS) that were outlined in a proposal  by Department of Public Service (DPS) staff this fall. Importantly, the PSC sets in a motion a process to create a new stakeholder advisory board that will replace the current advisory groups, require NYSERDA and the utilities to work together to benchmark their energy efficiency programs and reduce duplication, and revise cost-effectiveness screening methods to move away from requiring programs to screen at the measure level.

The PSC is also exploring new energy and environmental goals for its EEPS programs for the years beyond the 2015, when the current set of programs is set to end. New York is widely seen as having an excellent policy, but has not been able to reach its aggressive energy efficiency goals. Advocates hope that this order can be the first step in re-vamping their energy efficiency programs (NEEP’s comments on the EEPS Restructuring proposal can be seen here).­

  • EmPOWER Maryland 2015-2017 Programs: Maryland stakeholders, led by the Maryland Energy Administration, continue to move forward to renew and continue their energy efficiency programs beyond 2014, when the current program year ends. The EmPOWER Working Group is seeking to alter its avoided cost methodology, how it screens programs for cost-effectiveness, and create a potential study to set savings targets for future years. NEEP has recently worked with MEA and other advocacy groups to provide comment to the Cost-Effectiveness working group and our comments can be seen here.
  • Vermont Demand Resources Plan: The Vermont Public Service Board has begun to consider savings targets and budgets for its 2015-2017 electric energy efficiency utilities as part of the latest Demand Resources Plan proceeding (EEU 2013-01). Among the various scenarios being considered is an aggressive savings level of 3 percent of electric sales by 2019 proposed by VEIC. Comments on the various scenarios are due to the Public Service Board by March 12, with a final decision expected on budgets and savings targets expected in May.

State Legislatures & Energy Efficiency Bills

State legislatures around the region have begun their 2014 legislative sessions. While most will have short sessions because of upcoming mid-term elections, there are still important energy efficiency measures on the table. We are paying particularly close attention to Delaware, where a major energy efficiency title, HB 179, is under consideration, as well as New Hampshire, which continues to discuss how to expand its investments in energy efficiency. And as it’s early in the year, much more is surely on its way. For a list of energy efficiency legislation NEEP is tracking, click here.

Policy Updates from Around the States

Here’s our brief rundown on key developments in energy efficiency policy from around the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states over the last few months:

Energy Efficiency Program Updates

  • Connecticut Draft Decision on Conservation and Load Management (C&LM) Plans: The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) released its draft determination on the 2013-2015 Conservation and Load Management Plans in late August. In the decision, DEEP authorizes a significant increase in electric and gas program budgets, which would increase to $183.6 million for electricity and $51.4 million for gas annually by 2015. While a marked increase, the amount is lower than the amount requested by the utilities to allow for program implementation to catch up. DEEP is currently taking public comments until September 23, 2013 and is expected to issue a final decision in December.
  • Rhode Island 2015-2017 Energy Efficiency Savings Targets: Rhode Island’s Energy Efficiency and Resource Management Council (EERMC) recently endorsed the energy savings targets for its upcoming 2015-2017 energy efficiency plans. Electric savings goals would be about 2.5 percent and natural gas savings goals would be about 1 percent of 2012 sales respectively. Program budget levels will be determined at a later time.

 

  • Massachusetts Results from 2012 Energy Efficiency Programs: Results from the Massachusetts utilities’ 2012 electric and gas programs is now available on the Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC) website. Data shows that the programs achieved 88 percent of their annual and lifetime electricity savings goals, while spending 79 percent of their budget— and achieved 96 percent of their gas savings goal while spending 102 percent of their budget. The full annual report will be released later this year.

RGGI State Rulemaking Processes

The states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) issued an updated Model Rule for operating state CO2 Budget Trading Programs from 2014 to 2020 earlier this year. The Updated Model Rule modifies the total CO2 emissions budget for the region to align with the actual emissions level of 91 million tons and makes changes to the use of banked allowances. Several states have held hearings over the summer regarding their individual state RGGI rulemaking processes to hear from the public about its views on the revised RGGI program. Connecticut, Vermont, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York have all finalized their public comment processes and will finalize processes later this year. NEEP has submitted comments to these states in support of the updated RGGI Model Rule and will continue to monitor the rulemaking process here and around the region (see more on our State Activities pages).

Legislators Return for Fall Sessions

Josh Craft, Manager of Public Policy Analysis

Josh Craft, Manager of Public Policy Analysis

 

Serafina Zeringo, Public Policy Intern

Serafina Zeringo, Public Policy Intern

Lastly, some states in the Northeast are resuming legislative activity now for the fall session. NEEP will be paying particularly close attention to action in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, as are considering important bills regarding their energy efficiency programs.

 

NEEP Launches Regional Energy Efficiency Database (REED)

 NEEP is pleased to announce the public launch of the Regional Energy Efficiency Database (REED), a product of the Regional Evaluation, Measurement & Verification (EM&V) Forum. First previewed and enthusiastically received at the EM&V Forum’s 2012 Annual Public Meeting, REED includes 2011 electric and gas energy efficiency program data for 8 states: Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. Energy efficiency stakeholders across the region can now use the REED data to conduct analyses of efficiency program and policy design, assist with air quality reporting, inform system planning, and compare energy efficiency impacts across states.  NEEP will add 2012 energy efficiency data from the 8 participating states along with Delaware and the District of Columbia in fall 2013. Continue reading

Policy Tracker–October 24 Edition

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

Policy Tracker

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.