State Current: Regional Roundup

Blog Post | April 01, 2010 - 12:00 am

Northeast:

The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) approved the 2010–2012 electric and gas energy efficiency plans on January 28, 2010, which codify the goals set in the Green Communities Act of 2008. Annual electricity savings targets ramp up to 2.4% per year for 2012; continuing at this rate, Massachusetts programs would achieve cumulative annual energy savings equivalent to 30% of retail electricity sales in 2020. The energy efficiency measures installed in the 2010–2012 electric and gas programs, combined, are estimated to provide $6 billion in benefits and almost $3.9 billion in net economic benefits. The electric plan ramps up to annual energy savings of 1,103 gigawatt-hours (GWh) in 2012. The energy efficiency investments in 2010–2102 will save 2,625 GWh of electricity in 2012 (the cumulative annual impact in 2012). The lifetime energy savings for the electric three-year plan will be 30,814 GWh.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) completed its seventh auction on March 10th, generating almost $88 million in proceeds for the 10 participating states, slightly more than in the previous auction.  The price of allowances for the current period was $2.07 and $1.86 for the vintage period.  RGGI has now generated a total of $582.3 million since 2008. Information on the results can be found here.

States continue to battle over the appropriate use of RGGI funding.  Rhode Island, which had delayed disbursing its RGGI funds, now plans to disburse them into the intended accounts.  New Jersey, however, is likely to use its $65 million in proceeds for deficit reduction.  See page 40 of the New Jersey proposed FY 2011 "Budget in Brief" to view Governor Chris Christie's proposal.

Connecticut's Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) approved the 2010 joint Conservation and Load Management plan for the state's electric and natural gas utilities.  The DPUC approved a total of $111.4 million for the electric distribution companies (EDCs) and $11.4 million for the natural gas distribution companies, as well as much as $23 million in carryover revenues from 2009.  The DPUC ordered a number of program changes, including expanding the rebate for high efficiency gas water heaters, creating a financing pilot program for natural gas customers, recalculating certain energy savings based upon updated buildings codes, and increasing training on code revisions.  Funding for the plan may be lowered significantly by SB 484, which would use a portion of the Energy Efficiency Fund for a securitization plan to pay down the state's budget deficit. See the final decision and plan here.

South:

In Texas, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) recently proposed a new Energy Efficiency Rule (amends Section 25.181 of the Commission’s substantive rules).  The current requirement is that the utilities acquire energy efficiency equivalent to 20% of the growth in demand within their service territories. The proposal would increase the goal in terms of a percentage of growth in demand, and later change the goal to a more stable baseline as recommended in the PUC’s interim study to the total non-industrial load:

  • 30% of growth in demand by 2012
  • 40% of growth in demand or .7% of peak demand by 2013, whichever is greater
  • 50% of growth in demand or 1% of peak demand by 2014, whichever is greater

In Florida, the Public Utility Commission approved energy savings goals on December 30th, 2009. The goals require the state’s electric utilities to achieve approximately 3.5 percent energy savings over a ten-year period. This goal is less than half of the goal recommended by the Commission staff’s own expert. Read the order here.

Midwest:

Wisconsin is on track to develop an EERS. The Public Service Commission is currently considering levels of goals, measurable targets, funding, and evaluation of programs. All documents related to this proceeding can be found in docket number 5-GF-191. Already a leader in energy efficiency program delivery with Focus on Energy, an EERS will solidify the state’s place as a national leader in energy efficiency.

West:

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NWPCC) approved its Sixth Power Plan, which aims to save 5,900 megawatts over 20 years. The Power Plan is a regional energy blueprint developed by the NWPCC that guides the region’s largest electricity supplier, the federal Bonneville Power Administration. Under federal law, the Council revises the 20-year plan every five years. The Council approved the latest revision of the plan (the sixth) following more than two years of work that included extensive public participation and comment. While Bonneville implements the plan, the plan also serves as a reference document for the region’s electric utilities in their own planning.

The latest news coming out of Arizona shows the state is serious about efficiency. On December 18, 2009, the Arizona Corporation Commission ordered that all investor-owned utilities and rural electric cooperatives achieve 2% annual savings beginning in 2014. By 2020, the state should reach 20% cumulative savings, plus up to a 2% credit for peak demand reductions from demand response programs, for a total standard of 22%. The new EERS is one of the most ambitious in the country. For a copy of the approved ruling, click here.