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:
- Webinar Recordings
- State Updates: IL / IN / IA / KS / KY / MI / MN / MO / OH / WI
- Federal Update
- New Resources & Blog Posts
Policy Webinar Recording
Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act - Weatherization Implementation
On July 11, MEEA held a webinar featuring the Department of Energy and The International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology (ICAST) for a deep dive on the weatherization initiatives within the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, including how funds will be allocated, meeting workforce development needs, the Justice40 initiative and opportunities for stakeholders to support implementation. Recording >>
On May 27, the Governor signed SB 3866, a bill that amends the Energy Transition Act of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act. The bill does not contain any provisions that impact energy efficiency.
The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act was signed by Governor Pritzker in September 2021. CEJA establishes a power sector decarbonization target of 2045, creates clean energy workforce development pathways and expands commitments to energy efficiency.
As of July 7, Commissioner Bocanegra has departed from the Illinois Commerce Commission, leaving a vacancy on the Commission.
The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) Equitable Energy Upgrade Program (EEUP) workshops are ongoing and will convene monthly until consensus on the program guidelines is reached. The ICC held its first EEUP workshop on June 7. The next workshop is scheduled for August 10 and will focus on consumer protections. Workshops are open to all interested stakeholders. To be added to the distribution list, reach out to Jennifer.Morris@illinois.gov with the subject line “Illinois EEUP Workshop Series Invitation.”
EEUP is a financing tool created by CEJA and modeled on Pay As You Save®. The program allows customers to finance energy projects through a tariff on their utility bill and is to be designed for immediate energy savings. CEJA requires the ICC to establish guidelines for EEUP through these workshops.
On July 12, the Low-Income Energy Efficiency Accountability Committee (LIEEAC) – South held its kickoff, a re-launch following CEJA’s reorganization of the Committees. A website which will house meeting materials and resources is expected to launch in the coming weeks. Reach out to LIEEAC facilitator Annette Beitel (Annette.Beitel@futee.biz) to be added to the group’s distribution list. Below is the schedule for upcoming LIEEAC meetings:
- LIEEAC Joint North and South (August 2, 9-11 a.m.)
- LIEEAC – North (August 17, 3-5 p.m.)
In June, the Stakeholder Advisory Group held its first Equity Subcommittee meeting, a Market Transformations Savings Working Group meeting and its first Policy Manual Update Subcommittee meeting. Below are upcoming SAG meetings in July. Follow the link to the SAG calendar for meeting details and registration.
- Policy Manual Subcommittee (August 3)
- Reporting Working Group Meeting (August 4)
- Market Transformation Savings Working Group (August 16)
- Policy Manual Subcommittee (August 31)
In May and early June, Illinois utilities filed their 2022 Quarter 1 reports.
On March 1, 2021, Illinois investor-owned utilities filed their energy efficiency programs for 2022-2025, which were approved in August 2021. As a result of CEJA’s passage, utilities worked with the ICC and advocates to incorporate CEJA requirements into the approved plans. Both ComEd's (Ex. 1.02R) and Ameren’s (Ex. 1.1 Exhibit J) revised stipulated agreements were approved.
How to Get Involved
All Illinois EE Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) large group and working group meetings will be held via teleconference until further notice. SAG meeting information, COVID-19 updates and documents can be found on the SAG website.
The 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force will schedule additional meetings this summer with its final report on the two-year process due in Fall 2022. Meeting agendas, speakers and recordings are available for all past sessions on the Task Force page.
On May 31, Commissioner David Ober departed the IURC to serve as vice president of taxation and public finance at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. The Nominating Committee accepted applications through June 30 from eligible Hoosiers who were interested in being considered for the Commission.
2022 integrated resource planning continues for Indiana utilities.
AES Indiana (formerly IP&L) continues its IRP public advisory meeting sequence.
NIPSCO's expected 2022 IRP has been extended to 2024. Its most recent IRP was filed in November 2021.
CenterPoint Energy's due date for its IRP has been extended to November 1, 2023.
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. They are typically announced through utility mailing lists. Comment periods for recently filed IRPs are ongoing. See the IURC page for comment deadlines.
On July 27, Alliant Energy held an energy efficiency collaborative meeting to discuss program proposals submitted by stakeholders and new measures for their next cycle of programs. Iowa investor-owned utilities’ Energy Efficiency Portfolio (EEP) planning process is currently underway. Utilities will file new five-year plans (2024-2028) with the Iowa Utilities Board in November 2022.
On May 1, Iowa utilities filed their annual energy efficiency reports for 2021. Follow the links below for each utility’s respective report. On June 20, Iowa utilities held their annual meeting to address stakeholder questions regarding 2021 program performance and 2022 program progress.
How to Get Involved
For more information about Iowa or to get more involved, contact Samarth Medakkar.
On December 17, Evergy filed its application for an energy efficiency proposal in Kansas under the Kansas Energy Efficiency Investment Act (see the updated plan filing here). The proposal includes nine programs, four residential, four business and a pilot research program. Direct testimony and responses to testimony were filed on June 17 and June 24, respectively, and a public hearing was held on June 27. The subsequent public comment period closed on July 8 and rebuttal testimony was filed on July 18. The deadline for a settlement agreement is July 29 and a Commission order in the case is due on October 21. See the procedural schedule here.
In testimony, Commission Staff recommended approval of residential and business demand response, market-rate and hard-to-reach programs, with some alterations. Staff recommended rejecting Evergy’s proposed Market Based Demand Response program and suggested a scaled-down Pilot Incubator program to parallel Evergy’s Missouri program. Staff also rejected Evergy’s request for the ability to make major program changes, recommending that any budget changes that exceed 10% be approved by the Commission.
How to Get Involved
For more information about Kansas or to get more involved, contact Samarth Medakkar.
In October 2021, Governor Beshear and the State’s Energy and Environment Cabinet released a new state energy plan, Kentucky Energy, Environment & Economic Development: Designs for a Resilient Economy. The plan outlines community-centric initiatives and design goals for the future of Kentucky’s energy economy. A guiding principle for the plan is to address the energy sector holistically and promote the utilization of all the state’s energy resources, namely energy efficiency and conservation.
The plan also highlights more specific components, including future incentivization of advanced manufacturing opportunities in key sectors like EVs, rapid apprenticeships and certifications for a skilled workforce and encouragement of resilient, grid-connected buildings.
LG&E and KU’s 2021 IRP process is ongoing. Updates can be found through the KY PSC. Comments can be submitted by email to email@example.com including the case number (2021-00393) in the subject line and full name and place of residence in the body. A hearing was held for the case on July 12. Post-hearing data requests had to be filed on or before July 18, and were made by Kentucky Industrial Utility Customers, Sierra Club and the following joint intervenors: Metropolitan Housing Coalition, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Kentucky Solar Energy Society and Mountain Association.
How to Get Involved
For more information about Kansas or to get more involved, contact Amanda Caloras.
The Council on Climate Solutions, created by Governor Whitmer’s fall 2020 executive order, has been working to implement the Governor’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality by mid-century. The Council has created five workgroups to help inform the state’s climate plan: Buildings and Housing; Energy Intensive Industries; Energy Production, Transmission, Distribution and Storage; Natural Working Lands and Forest Products; and Transportation and Mobility.
The Council on Climate Solutions released the final MI Healthy Climate Plan on April 21.
The Whitmer administration and legislative leaders recently reached a compromise on the state budget, with the Senate and House both voting to pass the appropriations bill, HB 5783. The Governor signed the bill on July 20 with limited line-item vetoes. Some notable energy provisions are:
- Low Carbon Energy Infrastructure Enhancement and Development (ongoing, $25 million)
- Michigan Saves Green Bank (additional one-time $1 million)
- Public Service Commission Community Education and Outreach ($282,600)
- Utility Consumer Representation Increase ($100,000)
- Energy Efficiency Revolving Fund (appropriation of $7.2 million from federal Infrastructure law)
More details can be found at the House Fiscal Agency summaries for the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.
MI Power Grid workgroups continue to meet. The Interconnection Standards and Worker Safety Workgroup met in April. In Docket U-20890, Staff released their proposed Interconnection and Distributed Generation Standards (MIXDG Rules), which were discussed at the workgroup’s June 22 meeting. The MPSC and its contractor, ICF, released its draft Michigan Renewable Natural Gas Study for the Renewable Natural Gas Study Workgroup. The workgroup met on June 29 to discuss the draft, and a final report is expected later this summer. And lastly, the Advanced Planning Process workgroup Phase III-Integrated Resource Plan has been meeting the last few months to work on updating the integrated resource plan filing requirements.
Energy Waste Reduction plans were filed in the fall of 2021 with the MPSC. DTE and Consumers have both reached settlements with intervenors this spring. Their final EWR plans saw substantial increases to the EWR portfolios, along with increased spending in the income-qualified and multifamily sectors. More information on the Consumers Energy and DTE plans can be found on MEEA’s blog.
Consumers Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan was approved by the MPSC on June 23. The settlement agreement between Consumers, intervenors and the Michigan Attorney General will make Consumers one of the first investor-owned utilities in the country to stop burning coal.
The PSC also recently approved the settlement between intervenors and the Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corporation (UMERC) for its IRP. The IRP commits UMERC to an energy waste reduction goal of 1.5% for the next three years.
DTE Electric is expected to file its next IRP in October 2022. DTE held a series of customer workshops on its CleanVision Plan. Recordings of the meetings can be found on DTE’s website.
How to Get Involved
For more information about Michigan or to get more involved, contact Maddie Wazowicz.
The Minnesota Climate Change Subcabinet has released its draft Climate Action Framework. The Subcabinet also announced that there will be six workgroups to refine the framework. The six groups are Clean Transportation, Climate-Smart Natural and Working Lands, Resilient Communities, Clean Energy and Efficient Buildings, Healthy Lives and Communities and Clean Economy. MEEA is participating in the Clean Energy and Efficient Buildings Workgroup. A final version of the Framework is expected this summer.
The legislature ended its session on May 23 as it was statutorily required. While many energy-related bills were introduced this session, most were laid over for consideration in the committee omnibus bill. SF 4091 was the combined Senate and House energy omnibus bill, and a conference committee was formed to find agreement between the two chambers. The legislature failed to reach agreements on several omnibus bills, including SF 4091.
While many were hoping that lawmakers would agree to a special session, it seems that this will not happen per recent comments from the Governor and legislative leadership. Without a special session, many omnibus bills, including the energy omnibus, will not be passed this session. Additionally, Minnesota runs the risk of not qualifying for certain projects under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act as the bills that allocated required matching dollars were among the bills that did not pass.
Docket 21-566, which was opened in response to the passage of the Natural Gas Innovation Act, remains active. Natural gas utilities will have the opportunity to present plans to study and utilize alternative and innovative energy resources, like renewable natural gas, biogas and hydrogen. The Commission released an order on June 1 outlining specifics on lifecycle analysis of greenhouse gas emissions and cost-benefit analysis for natural gas innovation plans. The order outlined many other requirements on cost-effectiveness and reporting. After a recent commenting period, the Commission is considering which energy efficiency and strategic electrification measures are eligible for inclusion in natural gas utility innovation plans.
Docket 21-548 was opened in response to the passage of the Minnesota Efficient Technology Accelerator (META) program. META seeks nonprofits to apply to run the accelerator, which will accelerate the deployment and reduce cost of efficient technologies. The Department of Commerce recently announced that CEE’s META application has been approved and they will be tasked with running the accelerator.
The Department of Commerce’s CIP Cost-Effectiveness Advisory Group has been ongoing throughout the summer. The group has provided comments on a straw proposal on which utility and non-utility impacts should be included in Minnesota’s primary cost-effectiveness test. Upcoming work includes reviewing the final report of that phase of the process and beginning discussion on quantification of priority impacts.
How to Get Involved
For more information about Minnesota or to get more involved, contact Maddie Wazowicz.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources – Division of Energy (MoDNR-DE) announced workgroups for initiatives that will move forward in the Missouri State Energy Planning (MoSEP) process. Formal workgroups will work toward summary and action reports for Cycle 1 while exploratory workgroups will further develop initiatives for consideration during Cycle 2.
- Streamlining Solar Permitting (All Regions)
- Electric Vehicles (Southwest, Kansas City)
- Residential Energy Efficiency Real Estate Valuation/Energy Efficiency on the Multiple Listing Service (Central, Kansas City)
- Energy Training and Installation at Schools (Southeast)
- Missouri Metals and Battery Storage (Southwest, Southeast)
- Knowledge Exchange (Southwest, Kansas City)
- Biofuels (Central, Southeast, North)
- Renewable Natural Gas and Hydrogen Hub (North)
- Commercial Building Energy Efficiency Education (Kansas City)
- Combined Heat and Power (Central, Southwest, St. Louis)
- Industrial Assessment Center Outreach, Awareness and Education (Southwest, St. Louis, Kansas City)
- Pay As You Save® Financing Outreach and Education (North)
Only July 19, the Missouri Energy Efficiency Advisory Collaborative (MEEAC) convened its first meeting this year. The meeting focused on an update on the state’s investor-owned utilities' Pay As You Save ® programs. Specifically, the group discussed challenges and solutions to low participation rates. A recording will be posted within EFIS in docket EW-2013-0519.
On July 1, the MEEAC Low-Income Work Group held its second meeting, focused updates to state weatherization policy, initiatives to prepare the state for incoming funding and barriers to weatherization implementation. See the recording and reach out to Samarth Medakkar with any questions related to this work group.
On May 12, Evergy’s stipulated agreement extending its Cycle 3 energy efficiency programs under the Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act (MEEIA) was approved by the Commission. Evergy proposed extending programs to allow for a potential study to inform their Cycle 4 filing and provide clarity from their 2021 IRP filing.
How to Get Involved
To join specific workgroups in the MoSEP process, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested parties are encouraged to engage through meetings and the project’s Basecamp, which can be accessed by reaching out to staff email.
House Bill 690 (Lanese, Manning) would amend the makeup of the PUCO, such that one of the five members would have to come from a separate nomination pool submitted by the Office of Consumers’ Counsel, while the rest would be filled by the traditional nominating council process.
Status: The bill was introduced on May 31, 2022. No new updates.
House Bill 389 (Leland, Seitz) would permit voluntary EE portfolios by the electric distribution utilities, allowing for cost recovery and for the proposal of incentives and lost revenues. It contains provisions for low-income program funding, a 0.5% annual electric energy savings target, a cost cap and an all customer opt-out provision.
Status: Sub HB 389 was reported out of committee in November 2021. No new updates.
The Ohio Energy Jobs & Justice Act (House Bill 429) would renew the repealed EE standard as an Energy Waste Reduction (EWR) standard that ramps up to the previous target of 22% cumulative savings. It would also create a statewide collaborative to facilitate the EWR planning process, a cabinet-level Office of Energy Justice and a carbon reduction plan for the state, among other provisions.
- Status: The bill remains in Committee. No new updates.
PUCO has concluded its series of energy efficiency workshops to “solicit the views of stakeholders on whether cost-effective energy efficiency programs are an appropriate tool to manage electric generation costs, and how those fit into Ohio’s competitive electric and natural gas marketplaces.”
The five workshops are viewable on the PUCO YouTube Channel and the written comments from the initial and follow-up rounds of comments are available from the link above.
How to Get Involved
For more information about Ohio or to get more involved, contact Greg Ehrendreich.
Building on the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change, a coalition of Wisconsin legislators unveiled a package of 22 bills pertaining to energy and the environment this session. Many of these bills would impact energy efficiency and Focus on Energy, including:
- AB 798: School weatherization and energy efficiency grants
- AB 795: On-bill financing
- AB 793: Focus on Energy funding increase
- AB 792: Focus on Energy low-income program
- AB 789: Climate change local planning
- AB 786: Commercial and residential stretch codes
- AB 784: Green jobs training grants
- AB 782: Energy innovation grant program
The majority of these 22 bills did not receive a hearing this legislative session, though Wisconsin Democrats announced in July that they intend on reintroduce several of these bills in the 2023 legislative session.
In Docket 5-FE-104, PSC Staff recently released their Quadrennial Planning Phase II memo, which outlines possibilities for the Commission to consider Micro Focus Implementation Decisions. The memo contains several topics for the Commission to consider, including:
- Overall vs. Fuel-Specific Savings Goals
- Lifecycle vs. First-Year Savings Goals
- Emphasis between Energy and Demand
- Time-Varying Value of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Resources
- Low-Income and Income-Qualified Programs and Offerings in Cost-Effectiveness Tests
- Value of Carbon
- Behavioral Programs
Comments for this phase are due on July 28. This phase builds on the previous decisions the Commission made on Phase I, Macro Policy Decisions, in April. Overall, the Commission decided then to use this Quad IV as a transitional period to understand how the Focus on Energy program can play a bigger role in reducing carbon emissions and encouraging electrification. A summary of all the Commission decisions can be found here.
In Docket 5-EI-158 Commissioners voted to hold a workshop on performance-based regulation. The initial workshop was held on January 11. Presentations from the meeting (including MEEA’s) can be found in the docket. In an April order, the Commission directed Staff to continue facilitating further action on performance-based regulation, which could include further analysis, request for public comment or additional workshops. Following this order, Staff held a second in-person workshop on performance-based regulation on June 7. A third workshop is planned for August 16. Details can be found in the WPSC notice.
How to Get Involved
For more information about Wisconsin or to get more involved, contact Maddie Wazowicz.
The Department of Energy has issued its regulatory agenda for Spring 2022. The agenda outlines the schedule and status on rulemaking on efficiency standards for a variety of appliances.
On June 13, DOE proposed new energy efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces. If DOE’s tentative agenda is adhered to, this would go into effect in 2029 and require gas furnaces to be 95% fuel efficient. According to DOE, older, less efficient and non-condensing style furnaces can have efficiency rates as low as 56%. The phasing out of these older furnaces is expected to save consumers $30.3 billion over 30 years. While many replacement systems would remain fueled by natural gas, the American Gas Association is reviewing the rule and plans to object if determined to have a significant impact on the gas industry. See this Utility Dive article for more details.
On May 16, the Administration finalized rules on efficiency standards for manufactured homes. The new rules require significantly more insulation for non-single-wide manufactured homes, though the efficiency standard is weaker than that for homes built on-site in states with the 2021 IECC. For single-wide manufactured homes, which comprise about 45% of the manufactured housing stock today, the efficiency standard is slightly higher than the previous standard, formerly in place since 1994.
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) contains stages of increasing efficiency standards for lighting. The Department of Energy finalized the “backstop” minimum efficiency standard of 45 lumens/Watt for screw-based lightbulbs (general service lamps) sold in the marketplace. The backstop effectively phases out virtually all sales of non-LED bulbs (i.e., incandescent, halogen) by July 2023. The import of non-compliant bulbs is permitted until January 2023, and their sale through July 2023, upon which fines would be imparted to retailers.
Democrats in the Senate came to agreement on a budget reconciliation bill, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, that includes provisions to address climate change. Among these provisions are incentives for energy efficiency upgrades designed to reduce energy costs for consumers. Energy efficiency programs include $9 billion for home energy rebates, 10 years of consumer tax credits and $1 billion for a grant program for energy efficiency in affordable housing. There are also other provisions that invest in decarbonization, domestic manufacturing, environmental justice and rural communities.
U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced the Clean Energy Jobs Act, which aims to meet the growing energy workforce needs and create a comprehensive strategy at the DOE to increase participation among historically marginalized groups throughout the industry. This Act is a response to the anticipated increase in demand for trained workers, particularly in renewable energy, energy storage and electrification. Among other specific items, the Clean Energy Jobs Act creates an Energy Workforce Program at DOE and establishes a resource center for schools, workforce development programs and industry organizations to guide the development of energy-related training programs.
The Blue Collar and Green Collar Jobs Development Act, sponsored by Energy Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Rush (D-IL), reauthorizes DOE’s Office of Minority Economic Impact to implement training programs for jobs in energy-related industries and act as a resource for organizations that seek to develop and implement training programs for such jobs. Further, the office shall establish and carry out a program to provide grants to certain businesses, labor organizations, nonprofit organizations or qualified youth or conservation corps to pay the eligible wages or stipends for individuals receiving training in renewable electric energy generation and energy efficiency.
How to Get Involved
For more information about federal issues, contact Stacey Paradis.
- Energy Efficiency’s Role in the MI Healthy Climate Plan
- Highlights from DTE and Consumers Energy’s Recent EWR Plan Settlements
- Energy Code Development, Adoption and Compliance: The Benefits of Regularly Updated Codes
- The City of Cleveland’s Progress Towards Energy Efficiency and Green Building
- MEEA Response to ICC NOI on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
- Closing Comments on PUCO Energy Efficiency Workshop
- Comments for the Wisconsin PSC on Phase 1 of the Focus on Energy Quadrennial Plan
- Comments on Draft MI Healthy Climate Plan
- Comments for MI Power Grid Data Access and Privacy Workgroup
- Comments in response to PUCO Energy Efficiency Workshop Questions
- Illinois Overview: Missed Opportunities Report
- Indiana Overview: Missed Opportunities Report
- Iowa Overview: Missed Opportunities Report
- Missouri Overview: Missed Opportunities Report
- Ohio Overview: Missed Opportunities Report
- Wisconsin Overview: Missed Opportunities Report
- Missed Opportunities: The Impacts of Recent Policies on Energy Efficiency Programs in Midwestern States