Did you know that for every 10 Chicagoans, there is a hard-working street light brightening their path? In fact, the largest city in the Midwest has a network of more than 300,000 street lights that collectively form a nightlight visible from space. Until now, less than 2% of these lights have been converted to LED, the new standard in efficient, effective outdoor lighting, but that’s about to change.
A year ago, the Clean Power Plan (CPP) – a federal rule aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions from existing fossil-fuel burning power plants – was in peak health. The rule had been finalized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Several states were on their way to preparing their initial plans for complying with the CPP. The EPA had begun gathering public input on draft documents that would supplement the rule, including the Clean Energy Incentive Program, Model Trading Rules and Evaluation, Measurement and Verification (EM&V) Guidance for Demand-Side Energy Efficiency. Despite the chill of winter, there was no lack of CPP-activity.
What a difference a year can make!
The United States Department of Energy (DOE) recently released the Annual United States Energy and Employment Report (USEER) and the numbers look good for energy efficiency. The USEER study focused on four segments of the energy market—Electric Power Generation and Fuels; Transmission, Distribution and Storage; Energy Efficiency; and Motor Vehicles—to determine current growth and potential for jobs in the energy sector.
Last month, the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency released a new report that ranks each U.S. state on their potential for industrial energy efficiency to reduce carbon emissions. The report, State Ranking of Potential Carbon Dioxide Emission Reductions through Industrial Energy Efficiency, identifies which states are best suited to help the industrial sector to cut carbon emissions, while saving money and making manufacturers more competitive.
Each year, the members, board and staff of MEEA meet to celebrate the past year’s successes, elect the Board of Directors, swap best practices (and business cards) and discuss industry trends and MEEA’s roles therein.
This year, we gathered June 8-9 in St. Louis—just a stone’s throw away from the Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium—with a focus on upcoming political elections and treating energy efficiency as a supply-side resource. We were also pleased to unveil MEEA’s new logo and Annual Report.
On February 9, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) in a 5-4 decision. The court’s decision does not overturn the CPP, nor decide the legal merits of the challenges brought against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for issuing the CPP. Rather, the court’s decision stalls the implementation of the CPP while lawsuits challenging the legality of the plan are adjudicated by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Last month, select MEEA staff members participated in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Multi-Family Convening Meeting in Chicago. The event presented multiple aspects for multi-family buildings to save energy and participate in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge. Stacey Paradis, Executive Director, was also the keynote presenter for the event. Ms. Paradis gave a speech outlining the investments, current standards and challenges within the energy efficiency industry related to multi-family housing.
On April 21, 2015, the House of Representatives passed S.535, which establishes three separate programs to bolster energy efficiency measures in commercial, residential and/or mixed use buildings. This follows the Senate’s unanimous passage of this bill on March 27, 2015. The President is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming weeks.