MEEA Policy Insider - October 2022

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:

MEEA Policy Webinar Recordings

Assessing Equity: Resources for the Efficiency Industry

On October 27, MEEA hosted a webinar exploring strategies and tools for assessing equity and advancing fair customer outcomes in the energy efficiency industry. To help develop a strong understanding of energy equity, measuring it and incorporate it into planning and decision making, speakers were featured from Synapse Energy Economics, the Energy Equity Project and Illume Advising. Recording>>

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act - Weatherization Implementation

This summer, 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 >>

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Municipal

The city of Chicago recently released the Chicago Building Decarbonization Strategy Report. The document includes 26 recommendations on how to equitably decarbonize the building sector. The report was informed by the Chicago Building Decarbonization Working Group which included MEEA’s Executive Director, Stacey Paradis. For more information on the report and its recommendations, see MEEA’s recent blog.

Regulatory

The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) Equitable Energy Upgrade Program (EEUP) workshops are ongoing and will convene monthly until consensus on the ICC’s staff’s proposed guidelines is reached. The most recent workshop was held on October 25, with additional workshops tentatively scheduled for November 29 and December 15.

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 August 18, the Low-Income Energy Efficiency Accountability Committee (LIEEAC) – North held its kickoff, a re-launch following CEJA’s reorganization of the North and South Income Qualified Committees. A joint Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) and Income Qualified Committee meeting was held on September 8. A website which will house meeting materials and resources is expected to launch in the coming weeks. Reach out to LIEEAC facilitator Annette Beitel to be added to the group’s distribution list. Visit ilsag.info for meeting details and registration for upcoming SAG meetings.

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 their 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

SAG meeting information and documents can be found on the SAG website. If you have any questions about Illinois, SAG meetings, or want to get more involved, contact Stacey Paradis.  

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Legislative

The 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force has completed meeting. The Draft Final Report is available from the meeting page and will be finalized by November 1. Archives of previous meetings from 2019 and 2020 are on the Task Force page.

Regulatory

2022 integrated resource planning continues for Indiana utilities: 

  • AES Indiana (formerly IP&L) continues its IRP public advisory meeting sequence. The fifth meeting is scheduled for today, October 31 and registration is open here.
  •  CenterPoint has upcoming stakeholder meetings scheduled for December 13, 2022 & March 14, 2023. Registration will be on their IRP page when it is opened.

Updates from the Commission on IRPs in Indiana will be posted to the IURC’s IRP page.

How to Get Involved

IRP meetings are open to the public and are typically announced through utility mailing lists. Comment periods for recently filed IRPs are ongoing. See the IURC page for comment deadlines. 

For questions about Indiana, contact Greg Ehrendreich

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Regulatory

Iowa investor-owned utilities’ Energy Efficiency Portfolio (EEP) planning process is currently underway. IOUs will file their new five-year plans (2024-2028) in the next several months. Alliant Energy held its third stakeholder collaboration meeting for their plan in September and will file with the Iowa Utilities Board on November 2. Black Hills Energy held their first stakeholder collaboration meeting on October 20 and will present their proposed plan during another stakeholder collaboration meeting in December.   

How to Get Involved

For more information about Iowa or to get more involved, contact Arlinda Bajrami.

Regulatory

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. See the procedural schedule here. Following settlement negotiations in July, Evergy and advocates in the docket filed two non-unanimous agreements on Evergy’s proposed programs and financial recovery. However, Kansas Corporation Commission Staff opposed Evergy’s proposed throughput disincentive and earnings opportunity, resulting in Evergy filing a motion to stay this docket to allow for continued negotiations with KCC Staff. The KCC approved Evergy’s motion to extend its stay to October 28.

How to Get Involved

For more information about Kansas or to get more involved, contact Maddie Wazowicz. 

Executive

On September 19, Governor Beshear announced he will be joining the governors of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin in the creation of a Midwest Hydrogen Coalition. The coalition will provide a regional framework for a strong hydrogen market that will spur new industries and good-paying jobs, promote energy resilience, and improve public health by reducing pollution. The press release is here

Regulatory

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 psc.comment@ky.gov 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. 

LG&E and KU are currently hosting a series of DSM Advisory Group meetings. These are intended to provide a platform for stakeholders to discuss EE and DSM initiatives for existing and new program offerings. The next meeting is scheduled for November 10. To RSVP, reach out to John Hayden of LG&E and KU by November 4. Additional details, previous meeting notes and contact information for participating in the group can be found here

On August 31, the KY Energy and Environmental Cabinet Office of Energy Policy hosted a public meeting for the Energy Security Plan. The meeting consisted of an overview of Kentucky’s energy emergency support functions and the state’s energy security plan. A recording of the meeting is accessible here

How to Get Involved

For more information about Kentucky or to get more involved, contact Amanda Caloras.

Executive

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy recently held five ideation sessions to identify the next steps in implementing the MI Healthy Climate Plan. The five topics were zoning, permitting and renewable energy; repairing and weatherizing homes and buildings; securing climate-related federal funding; driving more investments in disadvantaged communities to achieve Justice40; and creating a Michigan-wide greenhouse gas inventory. The Council on Climate Solutions will take ideas from these sessions to work toward implementation of the MI Healthy Climate Plan.

Legislative

The legislature has not met much this summer. Senator Dan Lauwers, the Chair of the Senate Energy and Technology Committee, recently commented that the committee would soon start working on a modernization of the state’s 2016 energy law.  

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 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.  

Regulatory

The MPSC is hosting an in-person Low-Income Energy Policy Summit on November 3. Registration is now closed, but more information on the Summit and the MPSC’s Low-Income Energy Policy Board can be found here.

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 the final report was delivered to the legislature on September 28. On October 27 the Commission approved two orders, one updating planning parameters in docket U-21219 and one updating integrated resource planning requirements in docket U-18461. These new planning processes and requirements came after months of stakeholder work in the Advanced Planning group of the MI Power Grid initiative. Lastly, the MPSC issued an order in case U-20890 approving the MPSC interconnection and distributed generation rules.

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 Energy one of the first investor-owned utilities in the country to stop burning coal.

DTE Electric is expected to file its next IRP on November 3. 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.

Executive

On September 16, the Minnesota Climate Change Subcabinet released its Climate Action Framework. The Framework will serve as the state’s plan to address and prepare for climate change. Additionally, the document sets ambitious goals and outlines dozens of actions for Minnesota government agencies to take. MEEA participated in the Framework’s Clean Energy and Efficient Buildings Workgroup.

Regulatory

With Conservation Improvement Program plans due June 1, 2023, utilities have started preparing their plans. CenterPoint Energy held two workshops in October for stakeholders to weigh in on program design and policy impacts. The state’s other IOUs are likely to hold workshops or meetings in the coming months as they design their portfolios.

Docket 21-565, which was opened in response to the passage of the Natural Gas Innovation Act (NGIA), remains active. Natural gas utilities will have the opportunity to present the Commission with plans to study and utilize alternative and innovative energy resources, like renewable natural gas, biogas and hydrogen. The Commission issued an order on September 12 clarifying and approving eligibility criteria for energy efficiency and strategic electrification investments under the NGIA. Additionally, a technical conference was held on September 19 to discuss the changes to natural gas utility regulatory and policy structures. Additional technical workshops are expected to be scheduled.   

Docket 21-548 was opened in response to the passage of the Minnesota Efficient Technology Accelerator (META) program. 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.

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Executive

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources – Division of Energy (MoDNR-DE) announced workgroups for initiatives to support 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.

Formal Workgroups:    

  • 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)   

Exploratory Workgroups:   

  • 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)   

Regulatory

On October 19, the Missouri Energy Efficiency Advisory Collaborative Low-Income Work Group held its third meeting on income-eligible programs in the state. The meeting focused on several Missouri affordable housing providers who shared their reflections on electric utility low-income programs participation.

How to Get Involved

To join specific workgroups in the MoSEP process, email mostateenergyplan@dnr.mo.gov. Interested parties are encouraged to engage through meetings and the project’s Basecamp, which can be accessed by reaching out to staff email. 

For more information about Missouri or to get more involved, contact Arlinda Bajrami. 

Legislative

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.  

Regulatory

In response to legislation that mandates agencies remove unnecessary rules and regulations, PUCO has proposed rescission of certain rules contained in OAC 4901:1-39, the state’s energy efficiency rules. The docket for that process is 22-869-EL-ORD. With the elimination of Ohio’s EERS, Staff has proposed rescinding the existing rules that regulated those EE programs.  

How to Get Involved

For more information about Ohio or to get more involved, contact Greg Ehrendreich.

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Executive

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 to reintroduce several of these bills in the 2023 legislative session.

Regulatory

In Docket 5-FE-104, the PSC recently released its Phase III memo for the Quadrennial Planning Process IV. This phase is more narrowly focused, with the Commission seeking input on Focus on Energy savings goals, mid-plan review and key performance indicators for rural and low-income spending. The Commission ruled on these decisions at the October 12 meeting. A summary of the Commission’s five decisions can be found here.

Previously in the Quad Plan process, the Commission released decisions on Phase I, Macro Policy Decisions, in April. Overall, the Commission decided to use this Quadrennial 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.

And in August, the Commission released its decisions on the Quad Plan IV Phase II memo, which outlined possibilities for the Commission to consider Micro Focus Implementation Decisions. The memo contained 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

The Commission made 24 decisions on this phase, which can be found in the meeting minutes. Among the decisions, the PSC decided to maintain Focus’ funding ratio (60% to business, 40% to residential), continue with the TRC test for cost-effectiveness scoring, and directed Focus and the Evaluation Workgroup to study a variety of issues, like winter peak and time-varying value of efficiency.

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. Staff held additional workshops in June, August and October, with a final workshop scheduled for December 6.

How to Get Involved

For more information about Wisconsin or to get more involved, contact Maddie Wazowicz.

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Executive

On August 16, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law. This legislation places emphasis on lowering energy costs, advancing environmental justice and developing the clean energy economy. IRA builds on investments within the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the current administration’s efforts to tackle environmental injustice, the Justice40 Initiative. IRA has the overarching goals to reduce pollution, improve clean transit, make clean energy more affordable and accessible and strengthen resilience to climate change. Specific to efficiency, IRA includes tax credits for energy efficiency improvements, a new $4.3 billion rebate program, incentives for heat pumps and contractor training grants. The bill also includes Environmental and Climate Justice Block grants, as well as other programs pertinent to energy efficiency. See this summary of Energy and Climate Provisions within IRA.

On August 26, DOE released its guidance for implementation of IIJA’s State Energy Program funds. These funds will provide a $425 million injection to state energy offices and can be used for a variety of projects to increase energy efficiency, reduce energy costs, lower carbon emissions, and increase energy resiliency. See the allocation by state here

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. DOE will accept comments, data and information regarding this notice of proposed rulemaking until October 6. The EERE posts updates and provides an option to receive email updates on this matter here.

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.   

Legislative

On July 27, 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. 

How to Get Involved 

For more information about federal issues, contact Stacey Paradis

resources

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