Utility Regulation & Policy
Working government is not an oxymoron: How savings from federal agency actions on energy efficiency could save us $2.6 trillion
“Washington, D.C.” has become a synonym for “dysfunction” in the last few years, prompting many who care about energy efficiency policy to turn their attention to states. But that view is due to a focus on Congress and on President Obama’s interactions with Congress, where the epithet is mostly deserved. If you look beyond the white marble dome to the federal agencies, there is lots of action on energy efficiency.
EPA’s Clean Power Plan outlines four building blocks, each of which represent a category of measures that states can use to meet the first-ever federal regulation for reducing carbon dioxide from existing power plants.
Whenever I go to trivia night, I am amazed by the little factoids I know nothing about. Baseball or Seinfeld trivia, I have that down. Knowing the name of the township in New Jersey, of Algonquian language origin, where Aaron Burr mortally wounded Alexander Hamilton in a duel? Not so much. (It’s Weehawken, by the way.) Even for those of us in the energy efficiency world, there’s always more to learn about efficiency-related programs and policies that have been implemented by states and cities.
Baseball’s All-Star Game assembles teams of the best athletes to face off against each other and play at an extraordinary level, beyond what is possible during the regular season. Natural gas and electric utilities design and build dual-fuel energy efficiency programs that score added energy savings and cut costs beyond what they could have achieved on their own. While the All-Star Game happens just once each year, combined gas and electric energy efficiency programs are performing at levels beyond the ordinary on an ongoing basis.
At ACEEE we focus a lot on electricity, electric efficiency programs, and how energy efficiency is the least-cost electric resource. Well, it shouldn’t be a surprise, but there is a parallel and very similar success story for natural gas efficiency.
Every 5 years, the Florida Public Service Commission is required by the Florida Energy Efficiency Conservation Act to evaluate its energy savings goals and select programs for inclusion in its next 10-year plan. These reviews offer an opportunity for Florida to look back at the past, and forward to the future, and determine just how much energy their programs can save. In recent years, states all over the country have bulked up their energy savings goals, planning for affordable, reliable, clean energy.
The electric and gas utility industries are facing substantial changes. For decades, rising sales have contributed to increasing revenues and profits, but the combination of improved energy efficiency with the growing use of solar electric systems and other forms of “distributed energy” has reduced growth rates, which could lead to small declines in future sales.
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.
Portfolio of Policies and Programs Could Meet 13% of Electricity and 10% of Natural Gas Demand, Create 32,000 Jobs, and Generate $4.3 billion in Economic Growth by 2025
Massachusetts Most Energy-Efficient State in 2013 with California Close Behind at #2, Mississippi is Most Improved
Top 10 States Ranked in Energy Efficiency Scorecard: MA, CA, NY, OR, CT, RI, VT, WA, MD, and IL
5 States Most Needing Improvement : ND, WY, SD, AK, MS
5 Most Improved States: MS, ME, KS, OH, and WV