Selected category: Energy Efficiency

Illinois Steps Up and Gives Energy Efficiency the Respect It Deserves

Source: flickr/justinwkern

Source: flickr/justinwkern

Energy efficiency may be the Rodney Dangerfield of electricity policy. Compared to bulky power plants, it gets little respect.

Part of the problem is efficiency is hard to visualize. A new refrigerator, even if it uses 50 percent less power, still looks like a refrigerator. And, insulation is buried within walls, whereas it’s hard to miss a nuclear reactor or even a wind turbine.

Another issue is power companies see efficiency as competition and want to limit its development. FirstEnergy, for instance, lobbied to freeze Ohio’s energy efficiency standards, abandoned its own conservation programs, and led efforts to do away with demand response, an innovative energy management program that rewards people and businesses for conservation.

So, the Illinois Power Agency’s (IPA’s) recent decision to put efficiency and generation on the same level provides some much needed respect. Read More »

Also posted in Illinois| Comments are closed

Here Comes the Sun: How California is Bringing More Renewables to the Grid

Have a sunny dayAsk most people what the Beatles and California have in common and they might very well be at a loss. However, the answer is pretty simple: they are both unabashed trendsetters in the face of resistance – the former in their musical style and the latter in its clean energy policies.

Not content with setting a Renewable Portfolio Standard that ends at 2020, Governor Jerry Brown and state legislators are pushing for the Golden State to get 50 percent of its energy from renewable resources by 2030.

To meet this ambitious target, California must build a system that is largely based on renewable electricity, like wind and solar. This is not an easy task. The primary reason? Sunshine and wind are only available at certain times of the day and can be variable during those times.

Traditionally, managers of the electricity grid have relied upon dirty “peaker” power plants – usually fossil fuel-fired and only needed a couple of days a year – to balance the grid during periods of variability or when electricity demand exceeds supply. But, in a world where 50 percent of our energy comes from renewable sources as a means to achieving a clean energy economy, we can’t rely on these dirty peaker plants to balance the variability of wind and solar.

Luckily, technology is available today that can help fill the gap of these peaker plants – and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is starting to embrace it. Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, California, Cap and Trade, Clean Energy, Climate, Demand Response, Electric Vehicles, Electricity Pricing, Energy Storage, Energy-Water Nexus, Renewable Energy, Smart Grid| Read 1 Response

Efficiency is what Texas Can (and Should) Do Best

SPEERI have been involved in Texas’ energy sector for a long time, particularly from an environmental perspective.

I was there when the state’s metropolitan centers and their robust industrial sectors were challenged to reduce ozone-forming pollution. I was there when Texas deregulated its energy market to increase competition, improve choices for residents and businesses, and lower electricity prices. And now, I’m here to witness the state’s transition to a clean energy economy – one that harnesses more West Texas wind energy, rooftop solar, and natural gas (with the right controls in place) than any other time in history.

The one thing that ties all of these events together is efficiency – something Texas has led in the past.

Energy efficiency is Texas’ most cost-effective way to reduce energy use and carbon pollution from power plants. It also creates other benefits to the power grid, like improving reliability and lowering costs for infrastructure maintenance. Plus, saving energy saves water, which is critical in a state like Texas under the pressure of a multi-year drought. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Texas| Comments are closed

Illinois Bill Pledges More Clean Energy Jobs, Boost to Economy, and Cleaner Air

Illinois is two-for-two on clean energy wins. Today, Illinois legislators introduced a bill to spur significant new growth in the clean energy industry, creating an estimated 32,000 jobs annually across Illinois once proposed clean energy standards are fully implemented. Already a leader in America’s clean energy economy, Illinois, with this bill, would help boost the 100,000 clean energy jobs that already exist in the state, protect our children and future generations from the impacts of climate change, as well as maintain a reliable and affordable electricity system.

Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Illinois, Renewable Energy| Tagged | Comments are closed

Successful NYC Clean Heat Program Wins Award for Outstanding Design

nyc clean heatWe already know the innovative program NYC Clean Heat is yielding tremendous results: soot pollution from buildings in New York City has fallen by more than 50 percent since 2011, preventing an estimated 800 deaths and 2,000 hospital visits due to lung and cardiovascular diseases annually. That hard work by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the City of New York, and our partners has now been recognized –again.

The Association of Energy Service Professionals has given NYC Clean Heat an award for Outstanding Achievement in Non-Residential Program Design & Implementation. We are honored to receive this award from such a distinguished organization and believe it shows that a program like NYC Clean Heat is both necessary and replicable.

EDF partnered with the City to create NYC Clean Heat in 2012, which forged a diverse coalition of the financial, real estate, and non-profit communities, to launch a $100 million financing program to help phase out dirty heating oils. The program helped 4,000 buildings – half of them affordable housing – convert to cleaner, more efficient heating oils. Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy, New York| Read 9 Responses

Energy Efficiency Market Players Can Choose from Growing List of Trained Project Developers

By: Matt Golden, Senior Energy Finance ConsultantICP Credentialed Project Developer Logos 400x800 v2

The Investor Confidence Project (ICP), an EDF initiative designed to unlock investment in energy efficiency, is making progress toward completing a credentialing system that would provide third-party validation of an energy efficiency project. The latest development is the Project Developer Credential, the second of three in the ICP credentialing system.

ICP is accelerating the development of a global energy efficiency market by standardizing how projects are developed and energy savings are calculated. The ICP system includes a set of protocols for developing energy efficiency projects as well as a credentialing system.

The Project Developer Credential is given to those developers who are able to properly deploy the ICP protocols when undertaking an energy efficiency retrofit. This latest development is an important step forward for investors of all types, especially building owners, who can now select developers from a growing list of credentialed providers. Read More »

Also posted in Energy Financing, Investor Confidence Project| Comments are closed
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