MEEA’s policy team has spent 2019 traveling throughout the Midwest to meet with state legislators, regulators and policymakers. MEEA serves as the region’s trusted source on energy efficiency and promotes how states can maximize energy savings pursuant to their specific policies. We share regional best practices and research with governors’ administrations, legislators and regulatory bodies as they develop energy plans, policy priorities or other state and local policy initiatives. The 2018 state election results presented ample opportunity for MEEA to act as a positive, nonpartisan voice for energy efficiency.
Big cities aren’t the only ones making sustainable communities a priority.
On June 4, 2019, the Edina, MN City Council approved the Efficient Building Benchmarking Ordinance encouraging building owners to track and reduce their energy use. The initiative requires owners of existing commercial and multifamily buildings over 25,000 square feet to benchmark their building's energy d ata. Edina is now the second city in Minnesota (after nearby Minneapolis) to require benchmarking.
The 2018 midterm elections brought significant voter participation, with turnout breaking levels not seen since the 1960s. Nationally, this enthusiasm shifted power in the U.S. House of Representatives back to the Democrats, while Republicans increased their control of the U.S. Senate. A total of nine House seats in the Midwest flipped to Democratic-control—in addition to two seats in Minnesota changing from Democratic to Republican.
Cost-effectiveness testing is an important part of energy efficiency planning, reporting and evaluation. Utilities use cost-effectiveness tests to demonstrate that their investments in energy efficiency are in the best interests of the utility, their customers and society in general. The traditional tests come from a California Public Utility Commission manual that was developed in the early 1980s and last updated in 2001.
As a membership organization that includes utilities, businesses, advocates and government agencies, MEEA knows the power of collaboration. Time and again, we’ve seen first-hand that when diverse groups sit down at the table together, we’re able to harness our collective expertise and experience to find solutions that work for everyone.
And we’re not the only ones who think collaboration is a powerful tool. Several states in the Midwest currently convene collaborative groups to promote energy efficiency.
Ted Brokaw, now the Street/Water Commissioner for the City of International Falls, MN attended BOC in 2014 while he was working as the Head of Building and Grounds for the city. Between 2001 and 2011, his fleet of buildings grew from three to 12, and he sought out training through Minnesota Power that would help him learn his buildings in and out. Ted has learned firsthand that understanding every aspect of a building is essential.
Property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing is off and running in the Midwest. PACE enables homeowners and commercial building owners to finance energy efficiency improvements through a special assessment on their property that is paid back through their tax bill. To date, there are 15 active PACE programs in the MEEA footprint. PACE-enabling legislation exists in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio and Nebraska, and legislation in Illinois has passed both state legislative houses and is awaiting the governor’s signature.
MEEA held its 6th Annual Midwest Energy Data and Building Codes Conference in Minneapolis, MN from November 3 -5, 2015. The event was a success with over 110 professionals from various sectors in the building community in attendance throughout the two and a half day conference. Attendees included professionals from federal, state and local energy offices, federal laboratories, utilities, consulting agencies, construction companies, and code enforcement agencies. Throughout the conference, attendees had an opportunity to learn from energy data and code experts, network and share ideas with colleagues, enjoy Minneapolis establishments and the unseasonably warm weather!