Regional News Briefs

2006 Archives

December

Group Releases Climate Action Plan for New Mexico

The Climate Change Advisory Group released its recommendations this month for reducing the state's greenhouse gas emissions. The group says New Mexico could reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to near 1990 levels by 2020 and create a projected $2.2 billion net economic savings if the state adopts 69 new climate change policies. Some of the top recommendations of the advisory group are to increase the state's renewable energy requirement, create incentives for energy efficiency in buildings, require cleaner cars, and reduce emissions from oil and gas production. Governor Bill Richardson created the advisory group last year. See the governor's press release at http://www.governor.state.nm.us/press.php?id=320, and for the full report, visit the New Mexico Climate Change Advisory Group website, at http://www.nmclimatechange.us/.

Four Western States to Cooperate on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Public Utilities Commissions of four western states adopted a Joint Action Framework on Climate Change last week. California, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington will cooperate to develop and use low-carbon technologies and renewable energy resources, while promoting energy efficiency, conservation, and demand response programs. As part of the agreement, the commissions will consider policies to encourage the development of transmission lines to provide access to sites with significant renewable energy resources. The signing ceremony launched the Joint West Coast Public Utilities Commissions Workshop on Energy Efficiency, which brought together energy experts and international leaders to explore key technologies and best practices in energy efficiency.

Colorado Home Builders, Home Performance Companies Commit to Indoor Air Quality

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is teaming up with four Colorado builders and two home performance companies to protect indoor air quality in homes. Home builders New Town Builders, McStain Neighborhoods, Aspen Homes of Colorado, and Archer Homes, Inc., and home performance service companies EnergyLogic, Inc. and Lightly Treading, Inc. are the first businesses in the country to participate in EPA's new voluntary Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) labeling initiative. Today's homebuilders can employ a variety of proven practices and technologies to significantly improve the indoor air quality of their new homes. For more information visit ENERGY STAR Indoor Air Package.

Questar Gas Company Proposes DSM programs in Utah

Questar Gas Company has proposed implementing five demand-side management (DSM) programs for its customers in Utah, including residential and commercial appliance rebates, an energy audit and weatherization program, and a new homes program. The proposed budget for the programs is $7.0 million per year. Questar estimates that 100,000 customers will participate in the programs over the first three years. The proposed programs, which SWEEP helped Questar develop, are currently being reviewed by the Utah Public Service Commission. Click here for a copy of Questar's application; click here for estimates of program cost effectiveness.

Rocky Mountain Power Proposes DSM Programs for Wyoming

Rocky Mountain Power, a subsidiary of PacifiCorp, has proposed four demand-side management (DSM) programs for its Wyoming customers to the Wyoming Public Service Commission. The programs would be implemented on a pilot basis for three years at an estimated budget of $5.6 million. The programs include rebates for a wide variety of residential energy efficiency measures, rebates for energy efficiency measures implemented by small and medium size businesses, a financial contribution to the states' weatherization program for low-income households, and a voluntary self-direction program involving incentives for efficiency improvements made by large industrial customers. SWEEP assisted with the planning of these programs. It is expected that the Wyoming PSC will rule on the proposal in the first half of 2007. Click here for additional details on the proposal.

November

SWEEP Executive Director Speaks on Energy Challenges and Strategies

SWEEP Executive Director Howard Geller presented "Nightmare on Planet Earth" on Halloween Day at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The presentation focuses on the multiple energy challenges facing our nation and world, and what can be done about them. In the presentation, Dr. Geller reviews the threats of global warming and oil resource depletion, and contrasts a business-as-usual energy scenario for the United States with a scenario that relies much more heavily on energy efficiency improvement and renewable energy development and implementation. His alternative scenario outlines how the U.S. could cut CO2 emissions by 60% by 2050 and oil consumption by 70% by 2050, relative to 2005 levels.

Boulder Voters Pass First Carbon Tax in the Nation

On Election Day, City of Boulder voters approved Measure 202, the Climate Action Plan Tax, making this the first time in the nation that a municipal government will impose an energy tax on its residents to directly combat global warming. The tax, to be charged on electricity consumption within the city, will be collected by Xcel Energy, the local electric utility company. Boulder's City Council adopted the goals of the Kyoto Protocol in 2002, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 7% below 1990 levels by 2012. The tax will be used to implement Boulder's Climate Action Plan, the city's roadmap for meeting the Kyoto target. Measure 202 will generate about $1 million annually through 2012. Estimated energy cost savings from implementing the Climate Action Plan are $63 million over the long term.

SWEEP Executive Director Howard Geller played a role in developing the Climate Action Plan, and SWEEP supported the campaign working for the passage of Measure 202.

Nevada PUC Approves DSM Programs Proposed by Nevada Power Company

The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) has approved Nevada Power Company's 2006 Integrated Resource Plan. That plan includes demand-side management (DSM) program details and budgets, namely total budgets of $31.9 million in 2007, $37.4 million in 2008, and $36.3 million in 2009. The utility will be expanding most existing programs and starting new programs for ENERGY STAR® manufactured homes, zero energy homes, pool pumps, and hotels/motels. SWEEP testified in support of these programs, and suggested additional DSM programs which the PUCN ordered Nevada Power to evaluate over the next 12 months.

Utah Governor Huntsman Receives SWEEP Energy Efficiency Award

SWEEP announced this month that Utah Governor Jon Hunstman, Jr. is the winner of its 2006 Leadership in Energy Efficiency Award. The award is given annually to policy makers and others who demonstrate a strong commitment to advancing energy efficiency in the Southwest.

In April of this year, Governor Huntsman announced an ambitious plan to increase energy efficiency in Utah, save consumers and businesses money, and achieve a goal of 20% energy efficiency improvement statewide by 2015. Utah thus became the first state to embrace the energy efficiency goal established by the Western Governors' Association.

Through the Governor's energy efficiency initiative, the state government will demonstrate leadership by promoting energy-efficient products; collaborating with utilities, regulators, legislators, and other stakeholders to advance energy efficiency in all sectors of Utah's economy; working with stakeholders to identify and address regulatory barriers to increased deployment of efficiency measures; working to identify and address legislative barriers and disincentives; and educating the public and private sectors about the benefits and means to implement energy efficiency.

This year's award was presented to Governor Huntsman at SWEEP's Third Annual Southwest Regional Energy Efficiency Workshop, held November 16 and 17 at the Snowbird Resort.

October

Public Service New Mexico Completes Energy Efficiency Potential Study

Public Service New Mexico (PNM) has issued an electricity conservation potential study prepared by Itron Consulting. The study shows that the utility could reduce electricity consumption and peak power demand in its service area by 8-9% by 2016, and do so cost-effectively, through implementation of company-sponsored demand-side management (DSM) programs. The estimated net economic benefits could be as much as $440 million for PNM and its customers in the maximum achievable efficiency scenario considered in the study. PNM is now developing a set of electricity DSM programs which the company plans to launch in 2007. Click here to read the PNM study.

Natural Gas Demand-Side Management Programs Move Forward in Utah

The Utah Public Service Commission has approved Questar Gas Company's proposal to initiate new natural gas demand-side management (DSM) programs in the state, and also approved the severing of the utility's natural gas sales and recovery of fixed costs, a policy known as decoupling. The natural gas DSM programs will start this winter at an estimated funding level of $2 to 5 million per year. SWEEP supported the gas DSM and decoupling proposal, and is advising Questar regarding its DSM program design. Questar Gas Company is the main investor-owned gas utility in Utah. To read the Commission's order, click here.

SWEEP Contributes to recent LBL Energy Efficiency Report

SWEEP's Arizona Representative Jeff Schlegel contributed to a report issued by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that examines how recent resource plans issued by fourteen Western utilities incorporate energy efficiency as a resource, and whether this information can be used to track progress towards meeting the energy efficiency goals established by the Western Governors' Association (WGA) in 2004. SWEEP's Executive Director Howard Geller chaired the committee that outlined a set of strategies to achieve the goal of increasing the efficiency of energy use in the fourteen WGA member states by 20% by 2020.

September

New Report Projects Need for New Electricity Supplies in Colorado; SWEEP Responds

The Colorado Energy Forum, an organization funded by electricity utilities in the state, has issued a report that estimates that demand for electricity could increase by 50 percent over the next two decades. "Colorado's Electricity Future" notes that energy efficiency improvements can help to meet this demand for new resources, but the report does not recommend preferred resource options. SWEEP co-authored a response that urges reliance on energy efficiency investments along with expanding renewable energy resources for meeting Colorado's growing demand for electricity. The response notes that "these are Colorado's most cost-effective, environmentally benign, and reliable new resources." Click the links below to read the Colorado Energy Forum report, SWEEP's response, and local media coverage.

Governor Napolitano Issues Executive Order to Promote Energy Efficiency

On September 8 Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano signed Executive Order 2006-13, establishing a statewide goal to reduce Arizona's future greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to year 2000 levels by 2020, and to 50% below the 2000 level by 2040. Governor Napolitano adopted the suggestions of her Climate Change Advisory Group, which reported on the effects climate change will have on Arizona and offered numerous recommendations on how to reduce Arizona's GHG emissions. Recommendations included in the executive order include: improving energy efficiency for buildings and appliances; reducing energy demand by consumers and businesses; increasing the development and use of renewable energy sources; providing incentives for hybrids and other low emissions vehicles; achieving a lower-GHG-emissions state vehicle fleet; reducing vehicle idling and adopting cleaner vehicle emissions standards; increasing the production and use of ethanol and biodiesel; and using better land and forest management practices to increase efforts to remove carbon from the atmosphere (carbon sequestration).

SWEEP Submits Testimony Calling for Expanded Energy Efficiency Programs in Nevada

SWEEP's Executive Director Howard Geller provided testimony to the Nevada Public Utilities Commission regarding an Integrated Resource Plan prepared by Nevada Power Company (NPC). The testimony, filed on behalf of a coalition known as Nevadans for Clean, Affordable, Reliable Energy, calls for further expansion of NPC's energy efficiency programs and the establishment of a 1% electricity savings goal from efficiency programs implemented each year for the next 10 years.

August

States and Utilities Commit to Action Plan for Energy Efficiency

More than 50 leading organizations have joined together to develop the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency, which aims to help states and utilities overcome barriers that limit investment in energy efficiency. The action plan, released on Monday, was developed with assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and with the participation of electric and gas utilities, utility regulators, state agencies, large energy users, consumer advocates, energy service providers, and environmental and energy efficiency organizations. As part of announcing the plan, 72 organizations in 33 states announced commitments to increase their investments in energy efficiency.

Utilities operating in the SWEEP region that participated in the development of the plan include Xcel Energy, Public Service of New Mexico, and MidAmerican Energy Company, the parent of Rocky Mountain Power, formerly Utah Power.

The plan builds upon best practices from successful energy efficiency programs already operating in many areas. It recommends recognizing energy efficiency as a high-priority energy resource; making a strong, long-term commitment to implementing cost-effective energy efficiency as a resource; broadly communicating the benefits of and opportunities for energy efficiency; promoting sufficient, timely, and stable program funding to deliver energy efficiency where cost-effective; and modifying policies and ratemaking practices to encourage utilities to invest in energy efficiency. Learn more about the plan, the list of commitments, and other related documents by visiting the EPA website.

SWEEP Proposes Expansion of Energy Efficiency Programs in Arizona

SWEEP Arizona Representative Jeff Schlegel has presented testimony calling for a large expansion in the energy efficiency programs implemented by Arizona Public Service Company (APS). SWEEP is calling for APS to achieve 5% electricity savings by 2010 and 15% savings by 2020, and peak demand reductions of 5% by 2010 and 15% by 2020. Achieving these goals would save APS customers $1.4 billion net and eliminate the need for 1,000 MW of new power plants by 2020, according to SWEEP estimates. The testimony was filed in a rate case now underway in front of the Arizona Corporation Commission, which is expected to make a decision in early 2007.

Questar Gas Company Develops DSM Program Recommendations

Questar Gas Company, the main natural gas utility in Utah, has completed a study of natural gas use in its service area along with demand-side management (DSM) program proposals. The recommended programs include incentives for high-efficiency gas appliances, retrofit measures for residential and commercial buildings, and high-efficiency home construction. Questar has proposed initiating natural gas DSM programs along with a mechanism to protect the utility from revenue loss if it implements effective efficiency programs. This proposal is now being considered by the Utah Public Service Commission.

June

Boulder, Colorado Family Featured in USA Today Series on Global Warming

In its weeklong series focused on global warming, USA Today featured the family of Will Toor and Mariella Colvin, Boulder residents who have taken steps to reduce the carbon emissions of their four-person family. The story details the Toors' lifestyle choices, from transportation to energy, and concludes that the family is "doing what experts say must be done if Americans are going to make a difference in efforts to slow global warming."

Read the USA Today story "One Colorado Family Leads By Example to Curb Global Warming"

Colorado Governor Vetoes Natural Gas Conservation Legislation

Colorado Governor Bill Owens has vetoed House Bill 1147, killing a bill that would have expanded energy efficiency programs offered by natural gas utilities in the state, thereby reducing natural gas use and helping consumers and businesses lower their utility bills. HB 1147 would have eliminated regulatory barriers and established a cost recovery mechanism, providing gas utilities with positive financial incentives for implementing cost-effective efficiency programs for their customers.

SWEEP estimates that HB 1147 would have resulted in natural gas savings of 16.7 billion cubic feet per year by 2020, equal to 9% of natural gas use by all residences and commercial buildings in the state, and net economic benefits for households and businesses in Colorado over the lifetime of the energy efficiency measures installed during 2007-2020 of $560 million.

For additional information on House Bill 1147, read SWEEP's legislative report or visit the website of the Colorado General Assembly.

Western Governors Adopt Policies on Clean Energy

At its annual meeting held this month in Arizona, the Western Governors' Association backed a broad-based set of proposals for meeting the future electricity needs of the western United States. The proposals are based on recommendations developed over the past 18 months by more than 250 stakeholders, whose work is outlined in the WGA report Clean Energy, a Strong Economy and a Healthy Environment. The goals adopted by the WGA governors are to develop 30,000 megawatts of clean energy by 2015; increase energy efficiency 20 percent by 2020; and ensure secure, reliable transmission for the next 25 years.

The report draws heavily on the work of the Energy Efficiency Task Force, which was chaired by Howard Geller, SWEEP's executive director. The Energy Efficiency Task Force Report examines the potential for more efficient electricity use and recommends steps that the 18 western states can take to increase energy efficiency.

New Report Released on Energy Efficiency Potential in Denver Metro Area

A new study sponsored by the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, Energy Efficiency: Bottom Line Opportunities for Metro Denver Companies, indicates that there is significant potential for cost-effective energy efficiency improvements in commercial buildings in the metro Denver region. The report estimates that businesses could realize over $1.8 billion in energy bill savings from a $600 million investment in energy efficiency measures. The study relied heavily on SWEEP's report The New Mother Lode: The Potential for More Efficient Electricity Use in the Southwest, to reach its conclusions.

Colorado Energy Office Releases Guide to Green Building in Colorado

The Governor's Office of Energy Management and Conservation, in collaboration with the Colorado chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, recently released a new guide to help building owners and design teams use the USGBC's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design criteria to build better, more energy-efficient buildings in Colorado. Using LEED-NC® in Colorado: Tips, Resources & Examples provides over 100 pages of information and links, including an introduction to LEED; credit-by-credit guidance for the LEED-NC version 2.1 rating system; resources for all five LEED categories; a list of green building associations in Colorado and general green building resources; a list of funding sources for green buildings and high-performance design; and links to research on the costs and benefits of green building.

May

New Report Investigates Opportunities, Challenges of Demand Response

SWEEP and the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) recently released a new whitepaper that reviews the experience to date with Demand Response (DR) programs for commercial and industrial customers, the technologies employed in them, and the lessons successful programs provide for better utilizing this load management tool. Demand Response programs offer incentives to electricity customers to temporarily reduce their electricity use, typically during periods of high peak load pressures or high market electricity costs. Demand Response: An Introduction reveals that there is renewed interest in DR programs as a mechanism for managing demand and tempering market volatility. But success in creating viable and effective DR programs has been mixed.

Paper Reports Progress with Utility Energy Efficiency Programs in the Southwest

A new paper by SWEEP's Executive Director Howard Geller documents the growth in electric utility energy efficiency programs in the SWEEP states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. Funding for these programs increased from about $20 million in 2001 to $69 million in 2005, and is expected to reach $110 million in 2006. Catching Up: Progress with Utility Energy Efficiency Programs in the Southwest also reviews the key policies that have stimulated this growth. The paper will be presented at the 2006 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, in August.

April

Xcel Energy Launches New Commercial and Industrial Conservation Programs in New Mexico

Xcel Energy has launched a new suite of energy conservation programs for its New Mexico commercial and industrial customers and qualified contractors and energy service companies. Three types of programs are being offered: 1) Cooling Efficiency: Rebates are being offered for the installation of 3-phase energy-efficient air conditioning equipment larger than five tons. The program is available for new or retrofit installations. 2) Custom Efficiency: Includes rebates for commercial energy efficiency projects that reduce peak demand. New and retrofit installation projects are eligible. 3) Lighting Efficiency: Includes rebates for the installation of energy-efficient indoor lighting that reduces peak demand. The program is available for new or retrofit installations. All programs are available until December 10, 2006. To learn more, contact Denzil Dunn at 505-391-3223 or denzil.dunn@xcelenergy.com.

Xcel Energy Documents Success of 2001-2005 Energy Efficiency Programs

Xcel Energy has completed an evaluation of the demand-side management (DSM) programs it implemented in Colorado during 2001-2005. The independent evaluation, performed by Summit Blue Consulting, LLC, of Boulder, shows that these programs reduced peak demand by about 127 MW. The utility spent about $64 million during the five years, resulting in a benefit-cost ratio of 1.89 for the suite of programs as a whole. Furthermore, over 80% of participants were very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the programs. Click here to read the Executive Summary of the evaluation.

Xcel Energy Releases Colorado DSM Market Potential Study

An in-depth market potential study conducted for Xcel Energy by a team of demand-side management (DSM) experts reveals that through the implementation of cost-effective DSM programs the utility could save up to 1,623 GWh/yr of electricity consumption and cut peak power demand by up to 462 MW by 2013. Achieving this level of savings would result in $710 million in net economic benefits for consumers and businesses in Colorado. For comparison, current DSM programming to which Xcel is committed will save 800 GWh/yr and reduce peak power demand 320 MW by 2013.

Governor Huntsman Announces Energy Efficiency Policy for Utah

Utah Governor Jon Huntsman has unveiled a wide-ranging set of initiatives to increase energy efficiency in Utah, save consumers and businesses money, and achieve the goal of 20% energy efficiency improvement statewide by 2015. Utah is the first state to embrace the energy efficiency goal established by the Western Governors' Association. "This is a fist step in developing a full and flexible energy policy for Utah," said Governor Huntsman. "The State policy encourages and promotes energy efficiency in our state-owned buildings. Collectively, these efforts will make Utah one of the most energy efficient states in the country."

In addition to the announcement by Governor Huntsman, the Utah Energy Efficiency Working Group, a joint project of the Utah Geological Survey State Energy Program and Utah Clean Energy, released its white paper, "Natural Gas and Electricity Efficiency in Utah." SWEEP's executive director Howard Geller contributed to the report.

SWEEP and Western Resource Advocates Co-Release New Report Challenging Tri-State's Coal Plant Plans

On April 26 SWEEP and Western Resource Advocates released Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association's Resource Plan: Analysis and Alternatives, which challenges Tri-State's plans to build three large new coal-fired power plants and transmission lines at a cost of $5 billion. The report finds that there are less costly and less risky options for meeting the growing energy needs of the Tri-State service area, which spreads across 4 states. In particular, Tri-State has not taken a serious look at energy efficiency or the opportunities presented by renewable energy.

March

Governors Napolitano and Richardson Launch Southwest Climate Change Initiative

Governors Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Bill Richardson of New Mexico have agreed to form the Southwest Climate Change Initiative, and establish a framework for the two states to collaborate on strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region.

Under the Initiative, Arizona and New Mexico will collaborate on a number of climate change-related actions, including: development of consistent approaches for measuring, forecasting and reporting greenhouse gas emissions; identifying options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions; promoting energy-efficient technologies and clean and renewable energy sources that enhance economic growth; and advocating for regional and national climate policies that reflect the needs and interests of Southwestern states.

In the document establishing the Initiative, the Governors declare that "Southwestern states have particular concerns about the impacts of climate change and climate variability on residents, businesses and the environment, including the potential for prolonged drought, severe forest fires, warmer temperatures, increased snowmelt, reduced snowpack and other effects."

National Database of Incentives for Energy Efficiency Now Available Online

Over the past 10 years, the national Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) has become the one-stop source of information about government and utility renewable energy incentives and policies. DSIRE has now expanded to include state and federal incentives for energy efficiency upgrades, purchases of energy efficient products or systems, and construction of new energy-efficient buildings. Consumers, businesses, government facility managers, policymakers, and industry stakeholders can benefit from this easy-to-use free resource, complete with incentive details, links to program websites, legislation, and contacts. Users can search for efficiency incentives by state, by technology (lighting, insulation, etc.), by incentive type (tax credit, rebate, etc.), and by other criteria.

February

Public Service of New Mexico Announces Energy Efficiency Rebates

Public Service of New Mexico has announced a rebate program aimed at reducing the cost of certain weatherization products and measures to help its residential natural gas customers reduce their heating bills through energy efficiency. PNM is offering a $10 rebate on the purchase of a water heater insulation blanket, and a $25 rebate on the purchase of an ENERGY STAR®-qualified programmable thermostat. In addition, residential customers can receive up to $500 for contractor-installed insulation and weatherization measures, including attic insulation, wall insulation, and ductwork leakage testing and sealing, and rebates for the following contractor-installed products: ENERGY STAR®-qualified programmable thermostats ($40), hot water heater insulation blankets ($15), hot water pipe insulation ($5 for as much as 10 feet), and low-flow showerheads ($8). PNM estimates typical annual energy savings will be $150 or more for properly insulating and sealing air leaks, $75 for using a programmable thermostat, and $25 for using a water heater blanket on water heaters older than five years. For more information, visit www.pnm.com.

SWEEP Releases Natural Gas Utility Conservation Program Survey

SWEEP recently completed a survey of the natural gas demand-side management (DSM) programs of leading utilities across the United States. Ten natural gas utilities that are implementing comprehensive DSM programs for their customers were surveyed in the latter half of 2005. The survey reveals that the leading utilities are spending at least 0.7% of revenues on DSM programs, and are saving 0.5-1.0% of their gas sales from programs implemented each year. These DSM program are very cost effective, with benefit-cost ratios greater than 2.0 in most cases. The survey has been chosen for presentation at the 2006 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings.

SWEEP Releases New Report Reviewing Energy-Efficient New Homes Programs

SWEEP recently released a new report reviewing state and utility programs aimed at stimulating the construction of highly energy-efficient new homes in the states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. "Review of Energy-Efficient New Homes Programs in the Southwest" was completed for the U.S. Department of Energy's Building America program. The programs reviewed employ a wide range of approaches, including technical assistance and training, financial incentives, home energy ratings, labeling, and performance guarantees. The report contains descriptive information as well as program results where available, along with contact information for those interested in more information.

Arizona Corporation Commission Approves New Electric Utility DSM Programs

On February 15, the Arizona Corporation Commission approved six new non-residential demand-side management (DSM) programs proposed by Arizona Public Service Company (APS). The programs, with a total budget of $20.7 million during 2006-2007, include financial incentives, technical assistance and training, and education and marketing programs for both large and small businesses. The ACC estimates the programs will provide businesses $41 million in net benefits. SWEEP advocated for the initiation of the programs, and assisted APS in their program planning efforts.

Arizona Corporation Commission Approves New Natural Gas DSM Programs

On February 15, the Arizona Corporation Commission approved nine natural gas demand-side management (DSM) programs proposed by the Southwest Gas Corporation for implementation in Arizona. The programs, with a total budget of $4.4 million per year, include promotion of ENERGY STAR® gas appliances, low-income home retrofit, multi-family new construction, food service equipment, commercial new construction, and distributed generation programs. SWEEP advised Southwest Gas as it designed the programs and supported approval of the programs before the ACC.

January

WGA Issues Energy Efficiency Task Force Report

The Western Governors' Association has released the report of the Energy Efficiency Task Force created as part of WGA's Clean and Diversified Energy Initiative. The report, along with other task force reports, can be found at http://www.westgov.org/wga/initiatives/cdeac/index.htm The energy efficiency report shows how western states can reduce electricity use 20% from projected levels in 2020, the substantial economic and environmental benefits of doing so, and the recommended best practice policies and programs for achieving this goal. Howard Geller, SWEEP's Executive Director, was the Chair of the Energy Efficiency Task Force.

Xcel Energy Launches Business Conservation Programs in Colorado

Xcel Energy has launched a new suite of energy conservation programs for its Colorado business customers. Three types of programs are being offered: 1) Cash rebates for replacing or updating cooling systems, purchasing and installing energy-efficient lighting equipment in either an existing building retrofit or new construction, and purchasing and installing NEMA Premium™ efficiency motors in new and existing facilities; 2) Xcel will pay up to 50% of the cost of a recommissioning study, not to exceed $15,000, to assess and improve the efficiency of your building's existing mechanical systems and controls; and 3) the popular Energy Design Assistance program returns, offering free consultations, computer modeling, and verification of energy efficiency measures for electric business customers constructing a new building, adding an addition, and/or completing a major renovation.

The new programs are a result of an agreement between Xcel and a number of Colorado public interest organizations, including SWEEP, to provide Xcel's Colorado business and residential customers with expanded energy efficiency and conservation programs. Xcel expects to launch its new residential programs in the spring.

SWEEP Files Testimony on Natural Gas DSM in Utah

Howard Geller, SWEEP's Executive Director, submitted testimony to the Public Service Commission of Utah in support of a proposal by Questar Gas Company and other parties to initiate natural gas demand-side management (DSM) programs in Utah. The proposal also calls for decoupling of the gas company's sales and fixed cost recovery so that the utility is not penalized if it implements effective DSM programs.