As 2013 nears its end, important work on energy efficiency policy and programs is still on going. Below are the important proceedings that NEEP is keeping an eye on. And keep an eye out in January for the release of our 2013 Regional Roundup, which will contain our summation of the biggest state policy developments and trends from this past year.
Additionally, we encourage you to attend the Evaluation Measurement and Verification (EM&V) Forum's Annual Public Meeting in Portsmouth, New Hampshire next Thursday, December 12. A great opportunity to mingle with decision-makers from our region and participate in discussion about key energy efficiency evaluation topics like cost-effectiveness testing, energy efficiency and air regulations, and net savings! Check out the agenda and register here.
State Policy Developments
Here is a list of key state policy developments we're keeping an eye on:
- Connecticut's 2013-2015 Conservation and Load Management Plan Final Decision: Connecticut's Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) is set for its final decision on Connecticut's energy efficiency plans for the next three years. The ruling on the 2013-2015 Conservation and Load Management (C&LM) plan could significantly expand investments in electric and natural gas efficiency programs. Our latest comments in support of the the expanded C&LM plan can be seen here.
- New York Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EEPS) Restructuring Proposal: New York Public Service Commission (PSC) staff laid out the concept for a significantly revised Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EEPS) program in a proposal this fall. The PSC is encouraging NYSERDA and the utilities to coordinate more closely on implementing the state's energy efficiency programs, revise its cost-effectiveness testing screening to move its primary screening from the measure level to the portfolio level, and expand program access for customers who heat with unregulated fuels. Regulatory proceedings on elements of the proposal are ongoing. NEEP comments on the EEPS Restructuring proposal can be seen here.
- New Hampshire Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS) Report: Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) has issued its final report to the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on strategies to expand energy efficiency in the Granite State. The EERS report lays out a number of strategies to achieve energy savings both through ratepayer-funded programs, building energy codes, and private market efforts. Next up is for the legislature, the PUC and market actors to work on implementing the recommendations aimed at bringing NH in line with neighboring states. The full report can be viewed 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 working 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. Our latest comments to the Public Service Commission (PSC) can be seen here.
- Rhode Island 2014 Energy Efficiency Plan: National Grid has submitted its 2014 energy efficiency plan to the Public Utilities Commission for approval. The plan includes especially high electric annual savings, currently representing over 3 percent of electric sales, as a result of a new CHP project coming online for Toray Plastics in the coming year. The plan can be seen here.
- Vermont Demand Resources Plan: The Vermont Public Service Board has begun to consider savings targets and budgets for its electric energy efficiency utilities after 2014 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. The PSB is expected to finalize up next summer.
Notable Regional & National Energy Efficiency Developments
- National Model Code Updated; Two States Adopt 2012 IECC: On the building energy code front, the model code most often referenced in state building energy codes - the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) - was updated during contentious public comment hearings in Atlantic City, N.J. in October. In moving to set the 2015 IECC, stakeholders successfully rebuffed a well-funded campaign by the National Association of Home Builders to roll back the energy provisions of the model code in several areas. On the residential side, energy efficiency was a winner in changes the creation of an energy rating compliance alternative path (using HERS) and the elimination of several loopholes, while on the commercial side, gains were made in adding requirements for daylighting controls and zones; requiring occupancy sensors for certain building uses; and improvements to minimum HVAC, water heating and lighting; among others. For a summary of the IECC 2015 changes, visit NEEP's Building Energy Codes page.
In addition, in the second half of 2013, both Massachusetts and Rhode Island adopted the latest versions of the model energy code, the 2012 IECC, effective July 1, 2013 in Rhode Island, and July 2014 in Massachusetts. Those updates will result in approximately 20 percent energy savings over the previous version of the building energy code.
- REEOs Proposal on Energy Efficiency and EPA CO2 Emissions Regulations Rules: NEEP and the four other regional energy efficiency organizations (REEOs), have just released a policy paper on the role of energy efficiency improvements in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s forthcoming CO2 Emissions Standard for Existing Power Plants. The paper, which is available here, argues that the rules should incentivize states to promote investments in end-use energy efficiency improvements as part of their emissions reduction strategies. This includes ratepayer energy efficiency programs, building energy codes, and state appliance standards, all key components of our work here at NEEP. EPA is expected to issue the final power plant rules in June of 2014.
- ISO-NE Releases 2014 EE Forecast Materials: ISO New England has released the first electric efficiency programs data for the New England states for its 2014 energy efficiency forecast. The final forecast should be available next spring. The data for this year thus far can be seen here.
DOE Proposes New Electric Motor Efficiency Standards: In a key ruling, the Department of Energy (DOE) just proposed new energy efficiency standards for electric motors. The Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP) estimates that the standards could save consumers about $23 billion over 30 years because of the significant role that such motors play in U.S. industry. The joint recommendation by a group including ASAP and NEEP supported the newly proposed standard.