Over the past 15 years, utility-run energy efficiency programming has produced significant energy savings, customer cost savings and a host of system-wide and societal benefits throughout the Midwest. Unfortunately, these benefits are not fully understood or recognized by many state legislators and other policymakers. As a result, MEEA and other energy efficiency industry experts must recurringly defend EE policies from those who misunderstand how efficiency is funded, its value and impact for utility customers and its widespread benefits within individual states and throughout the region.
In the last several years, the Midwest’s rural and urban communities alike have seen increased risks to their infrastructure, including underinvestment, flooding, extreme heat and cold, drought and tornadoes, among others. While the threats vary by community, the need for resilience planning is consistent.
St. Louis’s Lambert International Airport, servicing more than 250 flights per day, recently underwent a significant boiler replacement project for its operations building. The project was spearheaded by operations staff in efforts to not only modernize the equipment, but also save energy and lower costs. As a result of its success, along with skills and knowledge attained through BOC training, the airport’s operations staff strives to achieve energy efficiency while decreasing energy costs.
Democratic Governor Dayton of Minnesota and Republican Governor Snyder of Michigan hail from opposite sides of the aisle; yet, in a time of political polarization, these two governors found a common cause: energy efficiency. Not only have they used their positions to advance energy efficiency, but they did do in states with Republican supermajorities in both state legislative chambers. As governors they reduced energy waste and shaped their states’ energy policies, creating new jobs and setting their constituents up for promising clean energy futures.
The 9th annual Midwest Building Energy Codes Conference has come and gone. This year, the conference was held at the Magnolia Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri from November 28-29. With one of the highest turn outs yet, this year’s conference was one of the best yet, filled with great discussion, networking and insights into energy codes.
Couldn’t make it? Find out what you missed and download the speaker presentations below.
Energy efficiency improvements can be expensive and burdensome for residential homeowners, renters and building owners. Luckily, there are an increasing number of financial options to help cover the up-front costs of efficiency upgrades. Below, we lay out several financing options to make our homes and workplaces more energy efficient.
1. On-Bill Financing
On-bill financing is an umbrella term for a financing program where a charge is added to a customer’s energy bill to repay a loan from a utility for energy efficiency upgrades. The utility acts as the lender and incurs the upfront costs of the improvements.
How It Works
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.
The Midwest has a strong track record of creativity and innovation: sliced bread, improv comedy, the Model T and, best of all, Post-It notes! And now we see that same spirit of innovation being pursued within the utility sector.
In my July 18 blog post, I alluded to the Missouri Public Service Commission’s (PSC) inquiry into emerging issues in utility regulation. Missouri is one of four Midwest states that have, or are undertaking, “utility 2.0” or “utility of the future” exploratory initiatives.
In April, the PSC issued an order (EW-2017-0245) opening a working case to explore five emerging issues:
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.