As we start 2021, it's time to unpack the energy efficiency implications from the November 2020 elections for our region. The election outcomes tell a story of two political realities for Midwesterners – Democrats decisively sweep at the federal level and Republicans strengthen their hold throughout the predominately conservative Midwest. While we can expect clean energy policy prioritization nationally, the majority of the Midwest will see it defined through executive action by Democratic governors and much less debate and action in most state legislatures. But we know that any lasting energy policy will require bipartisan cooperation for passage and successful implementation.
MEEA’s mission to support and advance energy efficiency across the Midwest typically takes shape as promoting supportive policies and the positive impact of EE like new jobs, energy savings, economic impacts and environmental benefits. From time to time, though, the Midwest experiences challenges to energy efficiency. New polices in Ohio have become the greatest barrier to energy efficiency in the Midwest right now, essentially ending all EE programs on December 31, 2020. How did we get here when energy efficiency has continuously been recognized for both economic and environmental benefits?
During the MEEA policy team’s meetings with legislators, regulators and advocates this fall, staff were frequently asked about energy efficiency’s economic impact. Regardless of political affiliation, district demographics or policy priorities, all lawmakers wanted a deeper understanding of how energy efficiency creates jobs and what the sector’s impact is on the local economy. This blog answers policymakers’ most frequently asked questions.
In the 36 years since the California Standard Practice Manual (CaSPM) was first released, cost-effectiveness testing has spread across the country following the growth of utility customer-funded energy efficiency. The California tests have been adopted by utilities, consultants, regulatory commissions and legislators to determine whether an energy efficiency measure or program is worth pursuing and whether a completed program performed as expected. Fundamentally, a cost-effectiveness test measures the total benefits divided by the total costs, and passes if the ratio is greater than or equal to 1.0.
Recreational cannabis hits the shelves January 1, 2020 in both Illinois and Michigan. How will the race to market impact energy use?
Growing cannabis is an energy-intensive process, and as cultivators focus on getting product ready as quickly as possible, it will be easy for energy efficiency to get pushed to the backburner and energy consumption to rise.
After an extensive four-month debate, on July 23, 2019, the Ohio General Assembly passed H.B. 6, a nuclear subsidy bill which will essentially eliminate energy efficiency programs in the state. Governor DeWine signed the bill into law the same day.
Des Moines, Iowa joined the ranks of some of the most sustainability-conscious cities in the Midwest when the city council adopted a new benchmarking ordinance on June 3, 2019. The ordinance will require all city-owned buildings and privately-owned commercial and multifamily buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to report their energy and water usage to the city. Currently, large buildings in Des Moines account for 56% of greenhouse gas emissions, and this initiative will aid in the city’s goal of reducing their emissions 28% by 2025.
Homeowners are increasingly interested in their homes’ energy use. Whether they want to save money on utility bills, make their living space more comfortable or live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, awareness of energy use in residential buildings is growing. Smart thermostats that allow homeowners better control over their heating and cooling costs have increased in popularity over the years, expected to reach 40 million U.S. homes by 2020.
E4TheFuture interviewed various regional energy efficiency organizations (REEOs) about their reflections on the National Standard Practice Manual (NSPM). MEEA's Greg Ehrendreich spoke with E4TheFuture about the NSPM's uptake in the Midwest, and their conversation is excerpted below. To see responses from the other REEOs, read their full blog.
Nebraska’s buildings are about to get a lot more efficient. Seriously, a lot more efficient.
On Wednesday, May 8, Governor Ricketts signed LB405 into law. The bill, introduced by freshman Senator Megan Hunt, updates Nebraska’s statewide residential and commercial energy code to the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) without amendments, making Nebraska the leader in efficient building codes in the Midwest, and neck-and-neck with national leaders like Massachusetts and California.