Over the past year, the utility industry has experienced significant angst over pending updates to utility environmental regulations. Of particular concern is the question of whether to invest in plant updates to comply with these regulations or to retire these plants altogether and replace this capacity with new (and most likely natural gas-fueled) power plants. Many inside and outside the utility industry have painted this situation as a crisis in the making.
Washington, D.C. — The ability for utilities to profit from their energy efficiency programs provides strong motivation to create, support, and deliver successful programs according to a report released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Research conducted by ACEEE found that electric and natural gas utilities able to earn a financial return on their achievements with customer energy efficiency programs are likely to be industry leaders in terms of their financial support for customer energy efficiency programs.
Acting on the nexus between energy and water can contribute to creating efficient and livable communities. Examples of opportunities include energy and water equipment efficiency standards and local programs that co-promote electric, natural gas, and water savings. But this coordination between energy and water utilities has to date been very informal and as a result many opportunities slip between the cracks. Energy and water savings can be dramatically increased if these two communities are encouraged to work more closely together and are rewarded appropriately for success.
Reaching the Tipping Point: Majority of States Have Now Adopted Energy Efficiency Resource Standards
Washington, D.C. — While the prospect of passing a comprehensive national energy policy remains uncertain for the 112th Congress, two states reminded the country last week that bold energy efficiency policies, which will save consumers and businesses millions in wasted energy costs, can win bipartisan support.
I am pleased to report that all the “market fundamentals” continue to look strong for utility-sector energy efficiency. While the recession has eased electric demand a bit, long-term concerns about system reliability and adequacy of supply remain.
The Public Utilities Commission of Texas (PUCT) approved new rules for utility energy efficiency programs this week. The centerpiece to the rule change is an increase to the state’s energy savings targets from 20% of electric demand growth to 25% growth in demand in 2012 and 30% in 2013 and beyond. The rule also establishes customer cost caps to contain costs.
Utilities in the southwest are making major strides in energy efficiency, quickly raising the region’s status as a leader in utility-run demand-side management (DSM) programs. A number of the region’s investor-owned utilities have incorporated aggressive DSM program plans into the integrated resource planning process, which allows utilities to carefully plan and establish energy efficiency savings and spending goals.
Recession Not Dimming States' Growing Focus on Energy Efficiency as "First Fuel," With CA, MA, and CT Rated Best on Implementing Energy Efficiency
Washington, D.C. — The current economic downturn is not sidetracking state-level efforts to make the most of energy efficiency as the cheapest, cleanest and quickest of all energy resources, according to a 50-state scorecard on energy efficiency policies, programs, and practices from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
Energy Efficiency Holds Steady At 2.5 Cents Per Kilowatt-Hour Even As Costs of New Power Generation Rise
Washington, D.C. — Energy efficiency remains America’s cheapest, cleanest, and fastest energy source for five years running. That’s the conclusion of a new study that shows that the utility cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy efficiency has held steady or even slightly declined at about 2.5 cents over the last half decade, even as the costs for new coal, nuclear, and other supply-side energy alternatives have risen.