This year's Midwest Energy Solutions Conference (MES) incorporated interactive workshops into its agenda for the first time ever, and one of the three workshops focused on Net Zero Energy (NZE) in the Midwest. MEEA staff wanted attendees to consider what Net Zero Energy means for energy efficiency (EE) in the Midwest specifically. (For the purposes of the workshop, “NZE” was referring to any building, development or community that does not use more energy than it produces. See DOE’s NZE definitions).
On July 12, Lincoln Nebraska Mayor Chris Beutler released a draft environmental plan highlighting opportunities for the city and residents to meet their sustainability goals. Building on the city’s 2009 Cleaner Greener Lincoln Initiative, this new action plan outlines the city’s progress in five categories—Energy, Land Use, Transportation, Waste and Water – and recommends strategies to make Lincoln a leader in environmental stewardship.
On December 21, Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, along with the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the Iowa Department of Transportation and the Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress released the Iowa Energy Plan. The plan will serve as a guide for the development of an affordable, reliable and sustainable energy system within the state that maximizes Iowa’s economic potential.
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.
On Wednesday, the Ohio Energy Mandates Study Committee (created under SB 310) released their recommendation on the near-term future of mandated energy efficiency and renewable energy standards in Ohio. The report recommends the General Assembly impose an indefinite freeze of these standards.
On July 16, Illinois State University hosted the annual Illinois Renewable Energy Conference, and for the first time ever, the 2015 conference incorporated an energy efficiency track into the conference’s breakout sessions alongside wind, solar, biomass and geothermal. MEEA served on the conference planning committee and convened the three energy efficiency breakout sessions, which were focused on energy efficiency policies, case studies and technical information.
The Missouri Department of Economic Development, Columbia Water and Light, and the University of Missouri hosted the annual Advancing Renewables in the Midwest conference on April 6-7, 2015. In its tenth year, the conference continues to promote discussion on energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, policies and projects in the Midwest. This year, the conference included presentations on electric vehicles, community solar, Missouri’s potential for biomass, and the successful implementation of energy efficiency programs and policies.