On September 1, the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) delivered an order approving the long pending Evergy Kansas Energy Efficiency Investment Act (KEEIA) plan filing, confirming the utility’s 2023-2026 Demand-Side Management (DSM) Portfolio and associated cost recovery mechanisms. Commissioners approved the “Initial Program Settlement” and “Initial Financial Settlement” with certain modifications and conditions, rather than the more recently discussed “Alternative Settlement.”
On June 20, 2023, the Village Board of Oak Park, Illinois voted in favor of an all-electric new construction ordinance as part of their building code. This makes Oak Park the first municipality in Illinois - and the Midwest - to pass an electrification ordinance. Electrification was one of the steps identified as necessary to achieve community-wide net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, as set forth by the Village in Climate Ready Oak Park. This follows the adoption of a benchmarking ordinance approved in February 2023.
The Minnesota legislature has concluded its 2023 session, but not before passing an expansive energy package, HF2310. Minnesota has a history of bundling individual bills into omnibus bill packages to pass legislation. Ultimately, the House climate and energy package was folded into the House environment and natural resources package, with that combined omnibus bill passing the House on April 17.
The City of Madison recently became Wisconsin’s first municipality to adopt an energy benchmarking ordinance. Passed in March 2023, the ordinance ensures that large commercial building owners monitor their energy use and take steps to make their buildings perform at optimal levels.
With another election in the books, the Midwest political landscape looks a little bit different. Much of the attention this legislative season was focused on who would control the US Senate and House of Representatives, but with nine Governors races and thousands of state legislative seats in MEEA states up for grabs, results will be very impactful. Democrats had a relatively strong showing at both the federal and state levels, averting some of the losses predicted by some pundits and polls.
Last year, Synapse Energy Economics published Missed Opportunities: The Impact of Recent Policies on Energy Efficiency Programs in Midwestern States with MEEA’s support. The report explored the energy and non-energy societal impacts of regressive energy efficiency policy in six Midwest states, including Indiana and Ohio.
The City of Chicago recently released the Chicago Building Decarbonization Strategy Report, which includes recommendations from the Chicago Building Decarbonization Working Group (CBDWG) on how to equitably address greenhouse gas emissions from buildings.
On September 21, 2022, the Chicago City Council passed Mayor Lightfoot's 2022 Chicago Energy Transformation Code, making Chicago the first city in the Midwest to adopt and exceed the 2021 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). This and other decarbonization measures will help the city meet its recently released Climate Action Plan.
On November 15, President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) into law after months of negotiations between the House and Senate. The $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal is a historic investment in the country’s infrastructure and competitiveness, with provisions ranging from rebuilding America’s roads, bridges and rails to expanding access to clean drinking water and energy efficiency while advancing environmental justice.