Regional News Briefs

2008 Archives

December

Colorado Utility Commission Approves Major Expansion in Xcel Energy's Energy Efficiency Programs

On December 18th, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) granted final approval to the 2009-2010 demand-side management (DSM) program plan submitted by Xcel Energy and other parties to a Settlement Agreement filed with the PUC in October. The plan calls for a major expansion of the energy efficiency programs that Xcel Energy will offer to its customers. According to the plan, Xcel Energy will invest $63 million in DSM programs in 2009 and $80 million in 2020, and estimates that its customers will realize $450 million in net economic benefits as a result. For details on the Settlement Agreement approved by the PUC, click here. For SWEEP's press release, click here.

SWEEP Files Testimony in Arizona Public Service Company Rate Case

Jeff Schlegel, SWEEP's Arizona Representative, recently filed testimony before the Arizona Corporation Commission in a rate case pertaining to Arizona Public Service Company (APS). In its testimony, SWEEP recommends that the Commission require APS to implement energy efficiency programs that would reduce electricity use and summer peak demand at least 15% by 2020. SWEEP also proposed enhancements to and budget increases for a number of APS's ongoing energy efficiency programs. For a copy of SWEEP's testimony click here.

SWEEP Publishes Going Beyond Code: A Guide to Creating Energy Efficient and Sustainable Buildings in the Southwest

SWEEP has published a new report that will help state and local governments develop beyond code programs for increasing energy efficiency in new residential and commercial buildings in the Southwest. The report, Going Beyond Code: A Guide to Creating Energy Efficient and Sustainable Buildings in the Southwest provides detailed descriptions and analysis of previously implemented beyond code programs, including lessons learned and best practices. The guide also provides recommendations for developing and implementing beyond code programs as well as model energy codes. The Guide focuses on beyond code programs and policies in the Southwest region, but will also be of use for other regions of the U.S. For more information, and a link to download the complete report, click here.

November

Xcel Energy Proposes Expanded DSM Programs in New Mexico

Xcel Energy, which operates as Southwestern Public Service Co. (SPS) in New Mexico, has proposed implementing eight residential and eight business programs, with a total DSM budget of $5.0 million starting in 2009. This represents about 2.2% of SPS's projected retail sales revenue. If the proposal is approved, SPS estimates it will achieve electricity savings of 20 GWh per year and a peak demand reduction of 15.6 MW, as a result of programs implented in one year. The electricity savings are equivalent to about 0.5% of SPS's annual electricity sales in New Mexico. This level of funding is nearly three times greater than what SPS is curently spending on DSM programs. The proposal will be reviewed and acted upon by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.

For a copy of the SPS proposal, click here.

SWEEP Announces 2008 Leadership in Energy Efficiency Award Winners

The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) is pleased to announce that Colorado Governor Bill Ritter will receive a 2008 Leadership in Energy Efficiency Award. Awards will also be given to State Representative Claire Levy and to Tom Plant, Director of the Colorado Governor's Energy Office. The awards are given annually to policy makers who demonstrate a strong commitment to advancing energy efficiency in the Southwest.

Governor Ritter is being honored for supporting important energy efficiency legislation, adopting a Climate Action Plan with strong energy efficiency provisions, and including energy efficiency as a key part of his New Energy Economy agenda.

Colorado State Representative Claire Levy sponsored two important bills, both of which were adopted and signed into law in 2007. House Bill 07-1037 is leading investor-owned utilities in Colorado to greatly expand their energy efficiency programs. House Bill 07-1046 is helping to improve the energy performance of new homes and commercial buildings by stimulating local governments to adopt state-of-the-art building energy codes.

As Director of the Governor's Energy Office, Tom Plant established a Clean Energy Fund and has initiated numerous energy efficiency programs. Tom Plant also sponsored important energy efficiency legislation when he was a Colorado State Representative.

Read the press release announcing the award winners

SWEEP Hosts Fifth Annual Southwest Regional Energy Efficiency Workshop

On November 13 and 14, 2008, regional and national energy efficiency professionals gathered in Denver to hear the state of energy efficiency in the Southwest, and to learn about new and emerging policy opportunities and technologies that will reduce barriers to and result in greater energy efficiency adoption across the region.

SWEEP's fifth annual Southwest Regional Energy Efficiency Workshop, sponsored by Xcel Energy, provided a forum for utility representatives and others to hear the latest on demand-side management program development from the region's utilities, get updated on state policy efforts, and learn about emerging energy efficiency policies and technologies. Attendees included regional utility, regulatory, state, and nonprofit representatives, all of whom were provided ample opportunities for networking and informal information sharing.

Questar Gas Company Receives Approval to Expand DSM Programs

Questar Gas Company, the investor-owned gas utility operating in Utah, received approval from the Utah Public Service Commission to expand the budget for its gas DSM programs to $17.8 million in 2009. This compares to a budget of $10.5 million and projected actual DSM expenditures of $16 million in 2008. The 2009 DSM budget is equivalent to about 2% of revenues from full service customers. Questar implements a wide range of technical assistance and incentive programs to promote more efficient gas use by its residential and commercial customers. The programs are very cost effective from a societal perspective. For more information on Questar's 2009 DSM programs, click here.

October

Wyoming Utility Commission Approves DSM Programs

On October 2, Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) received approval from the Wyoming Public Service Commission to implement six DSM programs during 2009-2012. The programs will be offered to all customer classes--residential, commercial and industrial. RMP anticipates spending about $25 million on these programs and saving 138 million KWh per year by the end of the four-year effort. This is equivalent to 1.7% of RMP's electricity sales in Wyoming as of 2006. RMP is responsible for about 57% of electricity sales in Wyoming. SWEEP helped to negotiate the settlement that was approved by the PSC on October 2. For more details on the programs and PSC decision, click here.

ACEEE Releases State Energy Efficiency Scorecard

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has released a new scorecard ranking states based on their energy efficiency policies and programs. The rankings are based on scores in eight areas: 1) utility sector policies and programs; 2) transportation policies; 3) building energy codes; 4) combined heat and power; 5) appliance efficiency standards; 6) Lead by Example in state facilities and fleets; 7) R&D and deployment; and 8) financial and information incentives. The Southwest states are generally "in the middle of the pack" with overall rankings of 24th for Colorado, 25th for New Mexico and Utah (tied), and 28th for Arizona. Nevada was the highest ranking Southwest state, tied for 15th place. The top five states in terms of overall energy efficiency policies are California, Oregon, Connecticut, Vermont and New York. For a copy of the new ACEEE Scorecard, click here.

ICC Adopts New Energy Efficiency Requirements for New Homes

On September 23, 2008, the International Codes Council (ICC) adopted new residential energy efficiency requirements for the 2009 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) at its Final Action Hearing, held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The proposals adopted by the ICC represent the most significant improvement in the energy efficiency requirements, including the first requirement for energy efficient lighting, and performance testing and inspection requirements for the thermal envelope and ductwork. The additional energy efficiency measures that will be included in the 2009 IECC include:

  • Increased insulation in basements, floors and walls;
  • Improved window efficiency;
  • Reductions in wasted energy from leaky heating & cooling ducts;
  • Reductions in tradeoffs that fail to capture energy savings from efficient heating & cooling equipment;
  • High-efficiency lighting (50% of lamps must be high efficacy); and
  • Improved air sealing within the building envelope.

These and other energy efficiency improvements will significantly reduce energy consumption and costs, improve comfort and performance, and enhance the durability of new homes built under the new 2009 IECC requirements. The newly adopted requirements will now be finalized by the ICC, and will be available for state and local adoption in early 2009. The adopted changes include several, but not all, of the energy efficiency measures proposed by the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition (EECC). The EECC had advocated for adoption of "The Thirty Percent Solution" - a comprehensive set of proposals to achieve a 30% improvement in the energy efficiency of new homes, using cost-effective and readily available measures and homebuilding practices. "The Thirty Percent Solution" was supported by more than thirty organizations, including SWEEP.

For more information, see:

Colorado announces $10 Million in grants to support "New Energy Communities Initiative"

On Tuesday, October 14th, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter announced the first 14 recipients of $10 million in grants under the "New Energy Communities Initiative." Ritter said the 14 funded projects will stimulate economic growth, create new jobs, enhance sustainability and lead to more livable communities all across Colorado. The initiative is a joint effort of Colorado Department of Local Affairs and the Governor's Energy Office. It is designed to maximize energy efficiency and conservation, enhance community livability, promote economic development, and address climate change by reducing carbon emissions. "The New Energy Communities Initiative provides an energy and economic stimulus that rewards communities throughout Colorado for innovative ideas that will save energy, save money and create jobs," said Tom Plant, director of the Governor's Energy Office. The funded projects will support energy efficiency improvements and in public facilities, commercial buildings, and homes, and renewable energy projects, such as installing solar PV and solar thermal systems on public buildings. A portion of the funding will be used to support adoption of model building energy codes and promote ENERGY STAR Homes. Summaries of each funded project is available on the Department of Local Affairs web site.

For more information, see the Colorado Department of Local Affairs website and the Governor's Energy Office website.

September

Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) Files New Energy Efficiency and Load Management Plan

PNM has proposed greatly expanding its electric energy efficiency and load management programs in response to energy efficiency legislation adopted in early 2008. The Company is proposing to increase DSM funding to $13.4 million per year (1.9% of sales revenues) and increase energy savings to 58 GWh per year (0.62% of sales). The savings are double what PNM expects from its 2007-08 programs. SWEEP helped PNM develop its new energy efficiency plan. The plan has been submitted to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) for approval.

August

Xcel Energy Files Landmark Energy Efficiency Plan

On August 11, Xcel Energy filed its Bienniel Demand-Side Management (DSM) Plan with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The Plan calls for spending a total of $61 million on electricity and natural gas DSM programs in 2009 and $76 million in 2010. The funding level in 2009 is approximately triple what Xcel is spending on DSM programs in 2008. The two-year effort is projected to reduce peak demand by 124 MW and cut electricity use by 425 million kWh per year, equivalent to the electricity use of 28,000 typical households in Colorado. Xcel estimates that the two-year effort will save consumers and businesses about $450 million net. The Plan will now be reviewed and approved by the PUC. The Plan responds to legislation enacted by the Colorado legislature in 2007 and rules adopted by the PUC in response to this legislation. SWEEP played a major role in developing the legislation and supporting adoption of these rules.

Questar Gas Exceeding Energy Efficiency Goals

Questar Gas Company, the main gas utility in Utah, recently reported that its natural gas energy efficiency programs are "going gangbusters." The utility expects that it will exceed its original 2008 DSM budget by about 35% and its original gas savings goal for the year by about 50%. Questar is having particular success with rebates for insulation and other home retrofit measures. The utily is also planning a substantial expansion of its energy efficiency programs in 2009. Questar Gas Company began implementing efficiency programs for its residential and commercial customers in 2007, following approval of "decoupling" of gas sales and the utility's authorized cost recovery.

Click here for a copy of Questar's gas energy efficiency status report.

Salt Lake City Adopts Expedited Permitting Process for Green Buildings, ENERGY STAR Homes

On August 19, 2008, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker signed an Executive Order establishing an expedited permitting process for new commercial development projects that qualify for a LEED-Silver rating under the US Green Building Council's LEED Rating System, and new residential projects that are ENERGY STAR qualified. The Executive Order directs the City Building Official to establish, within 60 days after the execution date of the Executive Order (8/22/08) an expedited plan review process and standards for green building projects, including the type and distribution of points that will need to be met for a project to qualify for expedited plan review.

Mayor Becker's Executive Order reaffirms Salt Lake City's leadership in advancing sustainable building policies. Since 2006, Salt Lake City has required all new city buildings or major renovations greater than 10,000 square feet to achieve LEED Silver certification.

For more information, see the City of Salt Lake web site, at: www.slcgov.com. The expedited plan review rules will be posted on the Division of Building Services and Business Licensing web site, at: www.slcgov.com/ced/buildzone/.

July

Rate Design Testimony Filed in Utah Rate Case

SWEEP, working through partners Utah Clean Energy and Western Resource Advocates, filed testimony in a rate case in Utah pertaining to Rocky Mountain Power. The testimony, by SWEEP consultant Richard Collins, calls for strengthened inverted block rates and reduced customer fixed charges as a means for reducing peak electric demand and thus the need for new generating capacity. Rocky Mountain Power is the main electric utility responsible for about 85 percent of electricity sales in Utah.

Click here for a copy of the testimony and exhibits.

June

Colorado PUC Adopts New Goals and Incentives for Utility Energy Efficiency Programs

Xcel Energy, the largest electric utility in Colorado, will greatly expand its energy efficiency programs as a result of new policies adopted by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on June 5. The PUC set energy savings goals that call for Xcel to help customers reduce their electricity use in 2020 by about 11.5% and reduce peak demand by 944 MW, from efficiency programs implemented during 2009-2020. The PUC is also allowing Xcel to earn a profit on its energy efficiency programs, with the level of profit tied to the energy savings achieved and net economic benefits of the programs. The profit could be as much as 20% of utility program expenditures, potentially making saving electricity the most profitable investment by the utility. Xcel Energy provides electricity to over 1.3 million customers in Colorado. SWEEP played a major role in the docket that led to the PUC's decision.

  • For more details on the new policies adopted by the Colorado PUC, click here.
  • For SWEEP's press release on the decision, click here.

Delta-Montrose Electric Association Provides Free CFLs to its Members

Customers of the Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA), a rural electric cooperative serving 31,000 members in western Colorado, will be given coupons that can be redeemed at local Wal-Mart stores for up to six free compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). An estimated 100,000 CFLs will be distributed. The total lifetime savings is projected to be $4 million with a reduction in peak demand by 6 megawatts (MW). DMEA is paying $2 for each bulb, and its wholesale power supplier, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, is providing a rebate to DMEA for $1 per bulb. SWEEP is assisting DMEA and other rural electric associations in designing their energy efficiency programs. To read an article on this program in the Denver Post, click here.

SWEEP Makes Presentation at National Energy and Utility Affordability Conference

SWEEP Executive Director Howard Geller made a presentation on utility demand-side management (DSM) programs, including exemplary programs for low-income households, at the National Energy and Utility Affordability Conference held June 16-18 in Denver. The presentation also reviews the growth in utility DSM programs nationwide and in the southwest region in recent years. For a copy of the presentation, click here.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors Adopts Resolution to Improve Energy Efficiency in Residential Energy Code

The U.S. Conference of Mayors endorses the full adoption of The 30% Solution, a set of provisions that incorporates affordable, off the shelf technologies and practices to improve the energy efficiency in residential construction by 30% over the existing model energy code - 2006 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). In September 2008, the International Code Council (ICC), a body made up primarily of municipal code officials, will deliberate and vote to establish the new 2009 IECC. The mayors are encouraging eligible code officials from their cities to attend the hearing and vote in favor of The 30% Solution. In the Southwest, three mayors are supporting this resolution - Honorable Martin Chavez, Mayor of Albuquerque, NM; Honorable David Coss, Mayor of Santa Fe, NM; and Honorable John Hickenlooper, Mayor of Denver, CO. All three cities are pursuing energy efficient building codes, and the City of Albuquerque has established a new green building code that will become effective July 1, 2008. To view the full resolution, click here.

May

New Mexico Utility Commission Approves DSM Programs for Southwestern Public Service Company

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) has approved implementation of seven DSM programs proposed by Southwestern Public Service Company (SPS). SPS, a subsidiary of Xcel Energy operating in southeastern New Mexico, proposed spending about $1.8 million on these programs during the initial year of implementation. SPS estimates the programs will result in electricity savings of 11.3 GWh per year. The PRC also approved a cost recovery mechanism and an allowed return on DSM investment. Howard Geller, SWEEP's Executive Director, testified in support of the proposed programs on behalf of the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy (CCAE). For details, see the Final Order.

SWEEP Submits Testimony in Rocky Mountain Power DSM Docket in Wyoming

SWEEP submitted testimony in support of DSM programs proposed by Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) for implementation in Wyoming. RMP is proposing to implement six programs and spend about $34 million on these programs during 2009-2013. The utility expects to spend about 2% of its retail revenues and reduce its sales by about 0.6% per year by the end of this period. SWEEP recommends approval of as well as enhancements to the proposed DSM programs. RMP's proposal is under review by the Wyoming Public Service Commission. For more details, see SWEEP testimony.

SWEEP Holds Workshops on High Performance Homes

SWEEP held two workshops on constructing and selling high performance homes, including 'zero energy' homes that combine high levels of energy efficiency with renewable energy systems. The first workshop was held on April 30th in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the second was held on May 7th in Phoenix, Arizona. Participants at each workshop included homebuilders, energy efficiency and renewable energy experts, electric and natural gas utilities DSM program staff, real estate professionals, home energy raters, nonprofit organizations, and state and local officials. The workshops provided an opportunity to learn about the features and costs of high performance homes, learn about technical assistance resources and incentives available to homebuilders and homeowners, and discuss strategies for marketing and selling high performance homes. The agenda, speaker presentations and additional information resources from each of the workshops are available here.

SWEEP Submits Two Papers for 2008 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings

SWEEP staff completed two papers for the 2008 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. One paper, Update on Utility Energy Efficiency Programs in the Southwest, reviews funding and energy savings trends as well as key policies influencing utility demand-side management programs in each of the SWEEP states. The other paper, High Performance Homes in the Southwest: Savings Potential, Cost Effectiveness, and Policy Options, analyzes the energy, economic and environmental benefits of improving the efficiency of new homes in the region.

Download the copies of the papers: Update on Utility Energy Efficiency Programs in the Southwest and High Performance Homes in the Southwest.

April

SWEEP Provides Update at Market Transformation Symposium

A presentation on the status of utility demand-side management (DSM) efforts in the Southwest was delivered on behalf of SWEEP at the annual Market Transformation Symposium in Washington, DC. The presentation notes that utilities in the region are expected to spend over $170 million on DSM programs in 2008, up 32% relative to DSM spending in 2007. The presentation also discusses the role of energy efficiency efforts in state climate change strategies. View SWEEP's presentation - Report from the Southwest: Energy Efficiency and Climate Change Action as of 2008.

SWEEP Launches New Online Resource for Building Efficiency

In April 2008, SWEEP released a new section on its website called Building Efficiency that provides information and guidelines for cost-effective energy efficiency programs, policies and measures for residential and commercial buildings in the Southwest. Targeting homebuilders, designers, government and code officials, building operators and owners, and others interested in improving the energy performance in buildings, this new online resource will provide the details on energy codes and best practices, high performance and zero energy homes, and regional green building programs and initiatives. Learn more by clicking here.

Colorado Legislature Ends Restrictions on Use of Energy Efficiency Measures

The Colorado legislature has passed House Bill 1270, a law that prevents homeowners' associations from prohibiting the installation or use of energy efficiency measures including evaporative coolers, awnings and other shading devices, efficient outdoor lighting, and retractable clotheslines. Governor Bill Ritter is expected to sign the law. SWEEP helped to draft it. Read HB 1270.

March

Colorado PUC Adopts Natural Gas DSM Rules

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has issued final rules concerning natural gas utility demand-side management (DSM) programs in Colorado. The rules include minimum DSM spending requirements; policies regarding DSM program planning, approval, cost recovery, and reporting; and potential incentives for gas utility shareholders based on program performance. In response to these rules, natural gas utilities will develop and implement DSM programs starting next winter. SWEEP participated in the rulemaking and a number of our recommendations were accepted by the PUC.

SWEEP Files Testimony in Xcel Energy DSM Docket

Howard Geller, SWEEP's Executive Director, filed testimony on March 10 regarding demand-side management (DSM) policy for Xcel Energy. Xcel is Colorado's largest electric utility. The testimony concerns energy savings and peak demand reduction goals, financial incentives for utility shareholders, DSM program cost recovery, and other issues addressed in legislation (House Bill 07-1037) that passed last year. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission will reach a decision on these issues later this spring.

Energy Efficiency Bill Blocked in Colorado Senate

The Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee failed to pass House Bill 1107 in action in the Colorado legislature on March 26th. The bill had previously passed the Colorado House of Representatives. HB 1107 requires municipal utilities and rural electric cooperatives serving more than 5,000 customers to implement energy efficiency programs for their customers. SWEEP estimates the bill would have saved 420 MW of peak power demand by 2020 and provided $600 million in net economic benefits for consumers and businesses. The bill received support from the Delta-Montrose Electric Association but was actively opposed by the Colorado Rural Electric Association and Colorado Association of Municipal Utilities.

SWEEP Releases Report on Energy Savings Potential in Rural Areas of the Southwest

On March 27, 2008, SWEEP released a new report, Rural Electric Efficiency Prospects, which evaluates the opportunities to improve the efficiency of electricity use in the rural areas of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Mainly focused on residential and commercial buildings that account for 80% of the electrical load in the Southwest, the report determines that energy use and associated costs can be reduced by 20-40% by employing a wide range of no-cost, low-cost and investment-grade energy efficiency measures and practices. Rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities are in the best position to lead the campaign as they can reap the economic benefits and enhance the services offered to their customers and members.

Utah Legislature Adopts Energy Efficiency Policies

The Utah legislature passed two bills pertaining to energy efficiency in its 2008 session. House Bill 106 provides a tax credit of $750 for households or businesses that purchase a highly efficient and relatively clean vehicle. House Bill 198 creates a revolving loan fund to lend monies to state agencies for energy efficiency projects and allows agencies to retain the value of energy savings in the agency's annual appropriation. The loan fund was given $3.65 million in initial capital.

Omnibus Energy Bill Passes the Arizona House

House Bill 2766, which includes energy efficiency standards for schools, state buildings and appliances, was approved by the House on March 27. The legislation requires public buildings to reduce energy use by 20% per square foot of floor area in 2015 and 30% in 2020, and school districts to achieve energy use reductions of 10% by 2011, 15% by 2015 and 20% by 2020. State agency buildings built after July 1, 2009 must adhere to LEED or equivalent green building standards. Energy efficiency appliance standards are also established and become effective in January 2011 for pool pumps, portable electric spas, and consumer audio and video equipment. The legislation sets a policy goal for new residential and commercial buildings to be 15% more energy efficient in 2012, 30% in 2016, and 50% in 2020, relative to IECC 2006. In addition, the bill addresses renewable energy goals for public utilities, engine idling, and requires a study of motor vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.

Nevada PUC Approves Expanded DSM Programs

On March 26, the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada approved a request made by Nevada Power Company to expand its demand-side management (DSM) programs in 2008 and 2009. Total DSM funding will increase to $44 million in 2008 and $47 million in 2009, up from about $32 million in 2007. New programs include incentives for new homes that exceed the ENERGY STAR performance level, an 80 Plus computer and plug load program, a home energy display program, and an air conditioner tune-up program. SWEEP helped Nevada Power develop the new homes program. We also submitted testimony supporting all of the new and expanded programs proposed by Nevada Power. For more details regarding the programs, click here.

February

WRA Releases Study on Meeting Arizona's Need for New Power

On February 7, 2008, the Western Resource Advocates (WRA) released the study, "A Clean Electric Energy Strategy for Arizona," that demonstrates investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy can meet the majority of the state's rising demand for electricity. SWEEP contributed to the energy efficiency analysis, which shows savings from energy-efficiency measures aimed at new and existing customers, buildings and appliances could meet about one third of the growth in demand for electricity. Renewable energy would meet another third. Meanwhile, the remainder of the state's load growth could be met with natural gas-fired generation and a small amount of new technologies such as advanced coal generation with carbon capture. The report aims to inform utility managers and regulators planning for new resources about the clean energy options available to Arizona

Energy Efficiency Legislation Signed into Law by Governor Richardson

On February 27th, Governor Richardson signed House Bill 305 into law, which amends the Efficient Use of Energy Act. The amendments require investor-owned electric utilities to reduce electricity use in 2014 by 5% and in 2020 by 10% as a result of energy efficiency programs and load management programs implemented starting in 2007. The amendments also direct the state's public utility commission to allow utilities to earn a profit on cost-effective energy efficiency and load management investments. SWEEP contributed to the drafting of House Bill 305.

New Report Highlights Energy Efficiency and Alternative Energy Potential in Nevada

A new report advocates building a flexible infrastructure composed of greater energy efficiency, distributed generation, renewable energy, increased power transmission, and new natural gas generation to meet growing electricity resource needs in Nevada. The report presents an alternative resource strategy compared to the Ely Energy Center, a 1,500 MW conventional coal facility proposed by Sierra Pacific Resources. Dr. Carl Linvill, a former commissioner with the Nevada Public Utilities Commission, is the lead author of the report. SWEEP assisted with the energy efficiency analysis and section. For a copy of Laying a Foundation for Nevada's Electricity Future: Generation Facility Uncertainties and the Need for a Flexible Infrastructure, click here. To view the press release, click here.

Colorado Governor's Energy Office Announces 18 Insulate Partners

The Governor's Energy Office (GEO) announced that 18 matching grant award recipients, representing 43 statewide community partners, were selected for the 2008 Insulate Colorado program. The recipients will receive funding to be distributed as financial incentives directly to homeowners for the proper installation of either attic or exterior wall insulation in conjunction with the completion of basic air sealing practices. Rebate amounts may vary based on local program implementation, but incentives will typically be offered to homeowners at 20% of the total job cost or $300, whichever amount is less. For additional information, visit: www.colorado.gov/energy.

January

Testimony Filed in Demand-Side Management Docket in New Mexico

Howard Geller has filed testimony on behalf of the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy (CCAE) in the matter of Southwestern Public Service Company's (SPS) application for approval of electric demand-side management (DSM) programs in New Mexico. SPS has proposed implementing seven DSM programs. Geller recommends three additional programs as well as expansion of some of SPS's proposed programs. Geller also recommends modifications to the shareholder incentive mechanism proposed by SPS. Southwestern Public Service Company, a subsidiary of Xcel Energy, operates in southern New Mexico. For further details see testimony.

WGA Releases New Report on Energy-Efficient Buildings

The Western Governors' Association has released a new report, "Building an Energy-Efficient Future: Policy Recommendations for Energy Efficient Buildings", that makes a series of recommendations for increasing investment in energy efficiency and promoting improved conservation practices in the West. The report is the result of a workshop held in July 2007, in which WGA convened a diverse group of stakeholders to recommend strategies for increasing energy efficiency by 30% or more above current codes. SWEEP staff participated in the July 2007 workshop, and contributed to the final report. The report includes the following recommendations to increase energy efficiency in the West:

  • Improve energy efficiency education
  • Strengthen the performance of building energy codes
  • Use government and utility incentives to reward energy-efficient practices
  • Remove disincentives for utilities to invest in energy efficiency and expand utility demand-side management programs
  • Develop innovative financing strategies for public buildings

Read WGA's report www.westgov.org/wga/publicat/EnergyEfficiency07.pdf Read WGA's press release www.westgov.org/wga/press/efficiency1-14-08.htm

Rocky Mountain Power Proposes DSM Programs in Wyoming

Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) has proposed implementing six demand-side management (DSM) programs for its customers in Wyoming. The programs include rebates for common efficiency measures implemented by households and businesses, second refrigerator recycling, support for weatherization of low-income households, and a self-direction program for larger business customers. The programs are modeled on RMP's successful DSM programs in Utah. The projected budget for the programs is $34 million during 2009-2013 with anticipated energy savings of 188 GWh per year at the end of this five-year period. RMP's proposal is now under review by the Wyoming Public Service Commission. RMP provides about 55% of the electricity consumed in Wyoming. For more details regarding the proposed DSM programs, see testimony.