Energy Efficiency Programs
The Ohio Senate reconvened so late last Wednesday night that when a motion was made to adjourn until Thursday, the Senate president had to remind the senators that it was already Thursday. What emergency situation kept Ohio’s upper house busy into the small hours? A bill, hastily substituted and amended at the last minute, that would cut back Ohio’s energy efficiency and renewable energy standards.
State and local governments are laboratories for innovation in energy efficiency policies and programs. Policymakers, regulators, and citizens at all levels increasingly recognize that energy efficiency is crucially important to their economies and are increasingly taking action and seeking information on policies and programs in their communities. Today ACEEE is launching a new database tool that highlights the energy efficiency leadership—and opportunities for improvement—of state and local governments around the United States.
Energy efficiency is increasingly viewed as an essential element of community development, and is arguably becoming the most appreciated and integrated “green” topic in the field. For example, a growing number of state housing finance agencies actively encourage the inclusion of energy-efficient features in the properties in which they invest.
Energy Efficiency Costs Utilities 2 to 3 Times Less Than Traditional Power Sources; Average of 2.8 Cents per Kilowatt Hour
Washington, D.C.—According to a new report released today by ACEEE, energy efficiency is the cheapest method of providing Americans with electricity. Energy efficiency programs aimed at reducing energy waste cost utilities only about three cents per kilowatt hour, while generating the same amount of electricity from sources such as fossil fuels can cost two to three times more.
The ACEEE Field Guide to Utility-run Behavior Programs, released in December, is the first comparative analysis of utility-run behavior programs. Practitioners, evaluators, and regulators can now use the guide to design and assess strategies and develop policies for utility-run behavior programs. The problem has been that, when state and local stakeholders thought about creating behavioral programs, they would encounter barriers.
Energy service outsourcing is a business relationship that relieves a large facility from the potential distractions imposed by the ongoing management of one or more energy functions, such as steam, compressed air, water treatment, lighting, or other activities. In essence, a facility would transfer these functional duties to a vendor per a contractual agreement, subject to periodic renewal. The facilities that choose this route anticipate that their energy functions will be performed in a more reliable and cost-effective way by the vendor.
A new tool released today by ACEEE may provide the secret ingredient for achieving emissions reductions that can appeal to even the most finicky tastes.
The need for innovative ways to reduce residential energy use is growing. States are setting increasingly aggressive energy savings targets for utilities and program administrators, as well as longer-term energy reduction goals that call for even greater savings. In California, for example, their goal calls for a 40% reduction in existing homes’ energy use by 2020.
U.S. electricity sales peaked in 2007 and have been declining modestly since then. Sales in 2012 were 1.9% lower than 2007 sales, and sales in the first ten months of 2013 are below the same period in 2012. While the economic recession is an obvious explanation for the decline in sales in 2008 and 2009, it is much less clear why sales have continued to decline since then, even as the economy began to recover.
Fast-Tracked Opt-Out Legislation Would Derail Indiana’s Successful Energy Efficiency Resource Standard
Proposed legislation in Indiana (SB 340) would devastate the state’s very promising energy efficiency programs, which were created under order of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) in 2009. SB 340 would allow any customer of 1 MW demand or greater to immediately “opt out” of paying any rate charges to support energy efficiency programs. This would not only exclude industrial customers (which account for 47% of the load in Indiana), but many large commercial and institutional customers as well.