The MEEA Policy Insider summarizes the latest state policy activity and provides new resources to aid members in their outreach, education and advocacy initiatives.
In this issue:
- Policy Webinar: 2020 Midwest Energy Efficiency Spotlight
- Policy Webinar Recording: Energy Efficiency in the Midwest: 2019 Round-up and 2020 Outlook
- State Updates: IL / IN / IA / MI / MN / MO / NE / OH / WI
- Federal Update
- New Resources & Blog Posts
Policy Webinar: 2020 Midwest Spotlight
SAVE THE DATE: Friday, February 7, 2020; 1-2 PM CST
Join MEEA as we roll out our Midwest Spotlight! The Spotlight showcases our region’s EE industry and chronicles its many benefits, from environmental protection to economic development. This webinar will walk through MEEA’s 2020 edition and highlight this year’s new metric: financing mechanisms. Tune in to hear from PACE administrators about successful financing in 2019. Register here.
Policy Webinar Recording: Energy Efficiency in the Midwest: 2019 Round-up and 2020 Outlook
On January 8, MEEA’s Policy and Building Policy teams kicked off the new year with a look back at energy efficiency and MEEA’s work in 2019 followed by a legislative and regulatory outlook for 2020. Find the webinar recording here.
The General Assembly reconvened its 2020 session on January 28. The Clean Energy Jobs Act (H.B. 3624) and other energy-related legislation will likely receive further consideration.
The Illinois Energy Efficiency Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) will spend most of 2020 facilitating an EE portfolio planning process between utilities and stakeholders. The objective is for consensus to be reached prior to utilities filing plans for approval with the Illinois Commerce Commission on March 1, 2021. Interested parties are encouraged to participate. Meeting information and documents can be found on the SAG website.
How to Get Involved
On January 6, Governor Holcomb named Jennifer Richardson as the executive director of the Indiana Office of Energy Development, effective December 30. This appointment fills the vacancy left by former energy office Director Tristan Vance.
2020 is a short session year for Indiana. The legislative session will adjourn by March 14.
The 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force is not scheduled to meet during the session and has not scheduled its meetings for the interim yet. Testimony from past meetings is available at the Task Force website.
Integrated resource planning is ongoing for Indiana utilities. Current filing deadlines for the next IRPs are:
- NIPSCO: Nov 1, 2021
- Vectren: May 1, 2020
Utility stakeholder meetings will continue during the planning period and will be posted on the utility IRP page. Updates from the commission on IRPs in Indiana will be posted to the IURC’s IRP page.How to Get Involved
IRP meetings are all open to the public. Anyone interested is encouraged to attend.
Iowa’s 2020 short legislative session, the second year in the biennium, began on January 13 and runs through April 21.
Bills not rejected last session can move forward. This includes one energy efficiency-related bill from the 2019 session. SF 549 would require that landlords disclose energy costs to prospective tenants prior to signing a lease. An action has not been taken on this bill thus far.
MEEA’s Policy Team attended the Iowa Environmental Council's Energy Efficiency Day on the Hill on January 21. MEEA met with Representatives and Senators that focus on state energy policy. The team also met with several MEEA members active in Iowa to understand how rollbacks in energy efficiency policy have impacted their business, customers and the state’s energy future.
How to Get Involved
For more information about Iowa or to get more involved, contact Samarth Medakkar.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) named Robert Jackson as Energy Ombudsman. “As ombudsman, Jackson will be the contact for small businesses and individuals in Michigan looking to resolve energy issues, problems or disputes. He also will monitor issues such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, combined heat and power, distributed generation, and on-bill financing to keep stakeholders apprised of developments by regulatory entities.”
On October 17, 2019, Governor Whitmer announced the launch of MI Power Grid to guide Michigan through the transition to clean energy. On January 16, the MPSC held the first MI Power Grid Demand Response Group meeting.
Information and updates can be found at the MI Power Grid website.
Michigan’s 2020 legislative session kicked off on January 8th and is expected to conclude June 11 (with tentative dates scheduled the weeks of June 16 and June 23).How to Get Involved
On December 2, Governor Walz signed Executive Order 19-37, establishing both the Climate Change Subcabinet and the Governor’s Advisory Council on Climate Change. The subcabinet, which will consist of members from fifteen cabinet-level agencies, will come up with recommendations to help the state to meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals. The appointed members of the citizens’ advisory council will advise the cabinet and the Walz administration on ways to mitigate climate change, improve resiliency and increase interagency collaboration.
Lawmakers and Governor Walz administration officials continue to discuss the Clean Energy First Act (CEFA; HF 1956), which would prioritize clean energy, energy efficiency and renewable energy prior to building new fossil fuel generation. Senate Republicans have released their version of the bill. Members of the Senate Energy and Utilities Committee have scheduled two listening sessions on CEFA prior to the legislative session starting. Discussions continue on the Energy Conservation and Optimization Act, the second portion of the three-part Clean Energy First legislative package. The third act would transition Minnesota to exclusively carbon-free by 2050.
Minnesota’s 2020 legislative session begins on February 11th.How to Get Involved
For more information about Minnesota or to get more involved, contact Maddie Wazowicz.
Missouri’s 2020 legislative session began on January 8 and runs through May 15th.
On January 16, Governor Parson appointed Senator Jason Holsman to the Missouri Public Service Commission. Commissioner Holsman appointment fills the seat of former Commissioner Daniel Hall.
On December 11, the Missouri Public Service Commission approved Evergy’s (formerly KCP&L) MEEIA Cycle 3 energy efficiency plan with certain modifications. These modifications include a one-year Pay As You Save® on-bill financing pilot targeted for low-income and moderate-income multifamily participants. The Commission’s order also allows opted-out large energy use customers to participate in Evergy’s business response program.
How to Get Involved
Nebraska’s 2020 legislative session began on January 8th. The deadline to introduce legislation was January 23rd, the tenth legislative day. MEEA staff will monitor introduced legislation to see if any bills pertain to energy efficiency.
Nebraska adopted legislation in 2019 to strengthen the state’s building energy codes to the unamended 2018 IECC code, but the legislation also gives municipalities a two-year window to make customizations to the code for municipal adoption. The Omaha City Council voted on January 14th to enact new building energy codes that are weaker than the passed state code. The exact modifications to the code can be found here. MEEA’s building energy codes team will monitor other municipalities’ potential code adjustments.
MEEA held its 2019 Midwest Building Energy Codes Conference in Omaha November 12-14. Policy Associate Maddie Wazowicz traveled with the Building Policy team to help facilitate the conference. While there, Maddie met with energy advocates, policymakers and MEEA members to discuss the future of energy efficiency in Nebraska, including the Omaha Public Power District, Lincoln mayor’s office, and Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy.
How to Get Involved
If you have questions about Iowa or want to get more involved, contact Maddie Wazowicz.
The General Assembly is scheduled to resume session on January 28. There are several energy-related bills that could move forward in 2020. MEEA will continue to update its members as additional information becomes known.
The PUCO Nominating Council met on January 23 to interview applicants for a commissioner position that begins on April 11, 2020. The list of applicants the Nominating Council submitted to Governor DeWine include Commissioner Lawrence Friedeman, who currently holds the position, along with Ronald Russo, Stephen Serraino and Gerardo Torres. Governor DeWine will make the appointment from this list of names.
The PUCO has yet to rule on the 2020 EE portfolios. On November 25, 2019, MEEA and other interested parties submitted public comments to the PUCO as part of the EE docketed proceedings. The PUCO had requested public comment on whether it should allow EE portfolios to continue once the 17.5% cumulative energy savings—as outlined in HB 6—has been met, including part way through 2020. MEEA noted Ohio law appears to clearly layout an expectation that current energy efficiency programs should continue through 2020, with the ability for the Commission to carefully verify energy savings in fulfillment of the 17.5% standard. This timeline allows for the orderly transition of energy efficiency programs under an EERS to a voluntary energy efficiency portfolio.
How to Get Involved
On December 19 Governor Evers’ Task Force on Climate Change met for the first time. The Task Force is chaired by Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes and includes members from across Wisconsin. The Task Force is charged with issuing recommendations by August 31, 2020, and plans to conduct additional meetings in 2020.
The State Legislature began its 2020 session on January 15.
How to Get Involved
For more information about Wisconsin or to get more involved, contact Nick Hromalik.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued four new energy efficiency standards under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (1975) - for portable air conditioners, uninterruptible power supplies, air compressors and commercial boilers.
On November 4, 2019 NRDC, Sierra Club and other environmental and consumer groups filed a lawsuit challenging the DOE’s recent rule changing federal lighting standards. In addition, 16 states including Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota filed a separate lawsuit challenging DOE’s action.
On January 8, the House Committee on Energy & Commerce released a framework for their Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s (CLEAN) Future Act. The proposal calls for increased investment in building energy efficiency, energy efficiency programs, grid modernization and financing mechanisms. The Committee is requesting feedback, which can be submitted to CleanFuture@mail.house.gov.
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)- Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry - announced $773,000 in federal investments for 25 projects to help Michigan farmers and small businesses address the climate crisis by making their operations more energy efficient. The funding was carved out in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Energy for America Program, which is a part of the bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill co-authored by Senator Stabenow.
On December 19, 2019 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) voted 2 to 1 to issue an order making changes to PJM’s capacity market and Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR). In short, all new resources, including energy efficiency and demand response, will need to meet higher price floors. This will likely negatively impact renewable resources, EE and DR. For a good summary on the complexities of the MOPR and capacity market, you can read this Vox article. PJM has 90 days to issue their next auction plan to FERC and interested parties can file a request for rehearing.
The Rhodium Group released their emissions estimates for the US in 2019 and concluded that although emissions fell 2.1% last year as a result of reduced coal use, key sectors of the economy have failed to reduce emissions. Among those is the buildings sector for which emissions rose 2.2%. For the country, emissions have fallen 12% below 2005 levels, but are not on track to achieve the 26-28% reduction target pledged by 2025 in the Paris Climate Accord.
How to Get Involved
For more information about how this federal activity will impact the region or to get more involved, contact Nick Hromalik.
New White Papers
- Midwest Industrial Energy Efficiency's Future: Using Strategic Energy Management Strategies to Overcome Policy Barriers
- Policymakers Ask: What are EE Jobs?
- Blog Post: Utility System Impacts of Energy Efficiency: Taking Nothing for Granted
- Building Relationships with Midwestern Policymakers