Regional News Briefs

2014 Archives

December

SWEEP Hosts Southwest Energy Codes Conference

On Nov. 5 and 6, 2014, regional and national energy efficiency professionals gathered in Denver, Colorado, for the first Southwest Energy Codes Conference organized by SWEEP. Attendees discussed the world of energy codes and how they impact and advance energy savings in the region. This new biennial conference serves the Southwest states by focusing on the challenges and opportunities present in this diverse climate region of the country. The 2014 conference featured 24 dynamic and concise presentations on energy codes. Participants from five Southwest states attended, along with national energy code experts from as far away as Portland, Oregon, and Washington, DC.  Participants learned about the newest energy code -- the 2015 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1-2013 -- and opportunities to improve code adoption and code compliance in the region.

 

SWEEP, Many Organizations Oppose Elimination of Arizona’s Energy Efficiency Standards

SWEEP joined hundreds of customers and diverse organizations—including Arizona Public Service Company, the Residential Utility Consumer Office, Efficiency First Arizona (a group representing residential and commercial members of the energy efficiency industry), faith groups, large manufacturers and other Arizona employers—in opposing a proposal to eliminate Arizona’s Energy Efficiency Standards. In its second set of comments, SWEEP stated its strong opposition to the proposal, which is not in the public interest, would jeopardize billions of dollars in utility bill savings for Arizonans, and provides no rationale for its adoption.  SWEEP respectfully requested that the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) withdraw or reject the proposal. The Commission is expected to discuss the proposal at a special open meeting scheduled for December 19. There will be an opportunity for public comment during the meeting. A Commission vote on the proposal is not expected on December 19. 

 

SWEEP Announces 2014 Energy Efficiency Award Winners

SWEEP is pleased to announce the presentation of its 2014 Leadership in Energy Efficiency Awards to Arizona’s three largest electric utilities and the City of Peoria for their highly effective programs and strong commitment to advancing energy efficiency in the Southwest. “The three utilities and The City of Peoria have reduced bottom line operating costs and saved customers hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Howard Geller, executive director of SWEEP.

Arizona Public Service Company (APS) received an award for its popular Solutions for Business energy efficiency program, which tailors energy efficiency to the needs of a variety of business and commercial customers ranging from hospitals to restaurants, schools to office buildings. 

Salt River Project (SRP) received an award for its strong support of the adoption of rigorous and effective building energy codes in the communities it serves. SRP focused on energy code advocacy and training to prepare code officials and building professionals to implement and maximize the benefits from the newer, more efficient energy codes.

Tucson Electric Power Company (TEP) received an award for its Energy Smart Homes program that promotes energy efficient new home construction.  TEP was an early leader in treating the home as a complete system, and in applying performance testing and integrated building science in the industry.

The City of Peoria received a leadership award for its ongoing energy efficiency efforts and for being the first municipality in Arizona to adopt the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for all new homes and commercial buildings.

The awards were presented November 20 at the 11th annual Southwest Energy Efficiency Workshop in Tempe, Arizona.

 

SWEEP Hosts 11th Annual Southwest Energy Efficiency Workshop in Tempe, Arizona

On November 20 and 21, 2014, regional and national energy efficiency professionals gathered in Tempe, Arizona to discuss the state of utility energy efficiency programs at SWEEP's 11th Annual Southwest Regional Energy Efficiency Workshop.

The workshop provides an annual forum for regional utility, regulatory, state, nonprofit and industry representatives to hear about the status of utility demand-side management programs in the Southwest, get updated on energy efficiency potential, and learn about innovative energy efficiency programs and technologies. The 2014 workshop featured engaging panel discussions among demand-side management specialists from 10 electric and gas utilities that operate in the Southwest, and a keynote address by Arizona Corporation Commissioner Susan Bitter Smith.

In addition, national experts discussed special topics such as the role of energy efficiency in the EPA's Clean Power Plan; new and emerging technologies; gamification of EE and next-generation behavior change programs; and zero-net-energy commercial buildings. The 2014 workshop also included the presentation of SWEEP's annual "Leadership in Energy Efficiency Awards," given to individuals and organizations who demonstrate a strong commitment to advancing energy efficiency in the Southwest. The event was co-sponsored by Arizona Public Service, Salt River Project, Tucson Electric Power, Southwest Gas, and ICF International.

 

SWEEP Submits Comments Supporting EPA's Clean Power Plan

SWEEP has submitted detailed comments to the U.S. EPA supporting the proposed Clean Power Plan.  The Clean Power Plan is intended to reduce the CO2 emissions from existing power plants 30% by 2030. SWEEP suggested ways the Plan can be modified to maximize the role of energy efficiency in setting state emissions reduction goals and in the implementation efforts of states and utilities. SWEEP’s comments include the following recommendations:

  • Increase the amount of energy savings assumed in the energy efficiency building block for the purpose of establishing state CO2 emissions reduction goals.
  • Allow states to include a wide range of utility and non-utility energy efficiency policies and programs in their state implementation plans.
  • Allow states to get credit for CO2 emissions reductions from the adoption of combined heat and power (CHP) systems.
  • Provide energy savings credits based on the gross energy savings from energy efficiency policies and programs.
  • Allow states to include energy efficiency policies and programs in their implementation efforts without each specific policy or program being directly enforceable by the EPA.
  • Require evaluation of all energy efficiency programs that claim energy savings credits using guidance and protocols established by the EPA.
  • Allow states to adjust mass-based CO2 emissions reductions goals so that they do not discourage the adoption of electric vehicles.

In addition to its comprehensive comments on energy efficiency issues, SWEEP submitted specific comments to the EPA on the treatment of combined heat and power in the Rule and how the Rule can be modified to best support adoption of electric vehicles. The EPA is expected to issue a final Rule by June, 2015.  

Copies of SWEEP's comments to the EPA are available below: 

Also see SWEEP's November 2013 publication:

 

November

Arizona Commission Proposes to Eliminate Energy Efficiency Resource Standards

On the afternoon of Election Day, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) distributed "draft rules containing possible amendments" to the Commission's Energy Efficiency Rules for electric and gas utilities.  The draft rules propose to eliminate both the electric and natural gas Energy Efficiency Standards (EES).  The Electric Standard currently requires utilities to achieve 22% energy savings by 2020, and the Gas Standard requires 6% energy savings by 2020.  These two standards have been instrumental in dramatically increasing energy efficiency programs and delivering significant energy and cost savings to customers since they were adopted in 2010.  For example, in 2013 alone, Arizona Public Service (APS) and Tucson Electric Power (TEP) customers saved 645 million kWh and $77 milllion due to the electric EES, which is enough electricity to serve almost 50,000 homes for a year.  The electric EES is the single most effective Commission policy for reducing utility bills for customers.  Comments on the draft rule are due on November 18 (see the link to the draft rule below). SWEEP will be opposing the proposed elimination of the EES, and we encourage others to do the same.

UPDATE: The comment period has been extended until December 2, 2014.

 

October

Utah Clean Air Action Team Issues Robust Energy Efficiency Recommendations

Utah Governor Gary Herbert convened a team of experts to develop a set of actionable recommendations to improve Utah’s air quality, which is especially poor in the winter in the Salt Lake City area and other parts of the Wasatch Front. The recently released recommendations of the Clean Air Action Team include the following energy efficiency proposals:

Buildings

  • Update Utah’s mandatory building code to include the energy efficiency standards of the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)
  • Enable residential PACE programs to finance home energy efficiency improvements
  • Educate the public about ongoing utility energy efficiency programs and expand these programs
  • Require a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score be included in Multiple Listing Service (MLS) listings

Transportation

  • Invest additional resources in public transportation
  • Accelerate the purchase of cleaner cars including electric vehicles
  • Expand infrastructure to make biking and walking more attractive

SWEEP’s partner, Utah Clean Energy, serves on the Utah Clean Air Action Team.

 

New Mexico Public Regulation Commission Modifies Rules Governing Electric Utility Energy Efficiency Programs

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) has issued new rules that incorporate legislative changes concerning electric utility energy efficiency and load management programs in the state, as well as other changes adopted by the PRC. The new rules specify that the Utility Cost Test be used to determine whether energy efficiency programs are cost effective; that total budgets for efficiency and load management programs are set at three percent of retail sales revenue but with a cap of $75,000 per customer per year; and that utilities must spend a minimum of five percent of funds allocated for residential energy efficiency programs on  low income customers. The new rules also provide utilities an opportunity to earn a profit incentive on energy efficiency and load management program investments, provide guidance on the criteria for determining the incentive as well as establish a cap on the incentive.   

 

Nevada Public Utilities Commission Decides to Move Ahead with Decoupling for NV Energy

On October 9, the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) decided by a unanimous vote to open a rulemaking to adopt some version of revenue decoupling for the state’s major electric utility, NV Energy. Decoupling will replace a Lost Revenue Recovery Mechanism (LRAM) that has proven to be very controversial in Nevada. In its Order, the PUCN determined it has the authority under Nevada statues to adopt a version of decoupling, and that decoupling in general is preferable to continuing LRAM. Decoupling was supported in this docket by the staff of the Commission, the state’s consumer advocate, and energy efficiency advocates.

 

Salt River Project Continues to Surpass its Energy Efficiency Goals

Salt River Project (SRP), Arizona’s second largest electric utility, announced that it achieved annual energy savings of 641 GWh per year from energy efficiency programs implemented during its 2014 fiscal year (which ended April 30, 2014). The energy savings delivered were equivalent to 2.3% of the utility’s retail electricity sales, placing SRP among the top electric utilities in the nation with respect to this metric. The utility also exceeded its annual energy savings goal of 1.5% by a wide margin while delivering programs that were about $9 million under budget. SRP highlighted several programs that were major contributors to its success: business, retail lighting, appliance recycling, pool pump, pre-pay meter, and ENERGY STAR® homes programs. SWEEP congratulates SRP for another strong year of delivering significant financial and energy savings for its customers.

 

September

Fort Collins Utilities Reports Record Energy Savings in 2013

The City of Fort Collins Utilities reports that its 2013 energy efficiency programs helped its customers save over 32 million kWh per year, nearly 50% more energy savings than was achieved by 2012 programs. The utility’s customers reduced their electricity use by 2.2% from 2013 programs alone. Considering the effects of all efficiency programs implemented by the utility during 2008-2013, customers reduced their electricity use in 2013 by about 8.5%. Home Energy Reports, energy efficiency rebates for businesses, and technical assistance to businesses yielded the most energy savings in 2013. In addition, the programs are achieving electricity savings at a cost to the utility of just 2.0 cents per kWh saved, less than half the utility’s wholesale electricity cost of 5.4 cents per kWh. The City of Fort Collins Utilities provides electricity to about 68,000 customers in northern Colorado.  

 

SWEEP Staff Present Paper at 2014 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings

Howard Geller, Jeff Schlegel and Ellen Zuckerman presented a paper titled Maintaining High Levels of Energy Savings from Utility Energy Efficiency Programs: Strategies from the Southwest at the 2014 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings held in Pacific Grove, CA this past August. The paper discusses the main strategies that electric utilities in the Southwest are employing or proposing to meet increasing energy savings goals and standards including: 1) promoting behavior change in all sectors; 2) integrating demand response and energy efficiency efforts; 3) building the market for LED lamps; 4) implementing conservation voltage reduction in the distribution grid; 5) adding financing components to energy efficiency programs; 6) striving for deeper energy savings, higher program participation and continuous improvement; and 7) supporting building energy code adoption and implementation. The paper estimates that these seven strategies in combination could yield over five percent energy savings by 2020, as a result of programs implemented during 2015-2020.

 

August

DRCOG Adopts Criteria for Transportation Funding that Supports Reduced VMT

On July 23, the board of Denver Regional Council of Governments adopted a policy governing how more than $200 million of federal transportation funds in the Denver metropolitan region will be allocated for the period 2016-2021.

DRCOG had previously adopted policy goals including reductions in per capita vehicle miles travelled and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. The new policy helps to better align transportation funding with these goals. New elements include much stronger incentives to include bus lanes and protected bike lanes in road projects, a shift from measuring vehicle trips to measuring person trips, and for the first time mandating that a significant share of flexible funds (that could be used for road projects) will be dedicated to bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

SWEEP was heavily involved in this policy development and had proposed several of the changes that were ultimately adopted. 

 

CO High Performance Transportation Enterprise Adopts Policy to Support Transit

On July 16, the board of the HPTE adopted a new policy   governing multimodal planning when developing tolled highway lanes. The policy requires that HPTE evaluate the inclusion of Bus Rapid Transit service in new toll lanes and consider using toll revenues to support the capital and operating costs of  transit service. Since most new highway capacity in Colorado will be tolled lanes, this is an important step towards a more balanced, multimodal transportation system.

SWEEP proposed the language that was ultimately adopted by the board.

 

July

Join SWEEP on Facebook and Twitter

SWEEP now posts news updates and pictures to our organization Facebook page.  Please follow us by visiting www.facebook.com/SWenergyefficiency and “like” what you see.  If you haven’t already followed SWEEP on Twitter to receive breaking energy efficiency news, quotes and policy developments in the Southwest, you can do so at www.twitter.com/SouthwestEE.

SWEEP’s Facebook and Twitter pages put you in a first-to-know position. Plus, you’ll get insider pictures from SWEEP meetings, events, policy initiatives and staff milestones—including the lighter side of life at SWEEP.  We welcome your interest.

 

Colorado PUC Revises Savings Goals for Xcel Energy’s Energy Efficiency Programs

On July 1, 2014, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued its decision in a docket examining the energy savings goals and other key policies affecting Xcel Energy’s energy efficiency and other demand-side management programs. The PUC approved significantly higher savings goals than Xcel Energy had proposed, setting the goals at saving 400 GWh (about 1.3% of electricity sales) each year for traditional efficiency programs during 2015-2020.

In addition, the PUC authorized Xcel Energy to propose a Distribution Voltage Optimization (DVO) initiative as part of its efficiency programs starting in 2015. Implementing DVO would add considerable incremental savings to the energy savings for consumers from traditional efficiency programs, leading to total savings of 1.6% per year on average during 2015-2020. The PUC also revised the incentive mechanism whereby Xcel is able to earn a bonus  when it achieves its energy savings goal each year.

SWEEP was an active participant in the docket and strongly urged the PUC to set higher energy savings goals than those proposed by Xcel Energy. SWEEP estimates that households and businesses served by Xcel Energy in Colorado will save around $1.2 billion as a result of meeting the new energy savings goals, in combination with implementing the DVO initiative. 

 

Arizona Public Service Company Top Large Utility Holding Company in the Nation with Respect to Energy Efficiency Program Savings in 2012

In its newly released utility clean energy benchmarking report, Ceres recognized that, among the 32 largest investor-owned electric utility holding companies in the nation, Pinnacle West (the parent company of Arizona Public Service Company) achieved the highest incremental energy efficiency savings in 2012. Pinnacle West achieved 1.77 percent energy savings from efficiency programs implemented in 2012, compared to just 0.73 percent on average for all 32 large utility holding companies. The benchmarking was based on data that utilities report to the Energy Information Administration, a branch of the U.S. Department of Energy. SWEEP congratulates Arizona Public Service Company for achieving this distinction, and notes that the state’s Energy Efficiency Resource Standards propelled the company into this leadership position.

Ceres is a nonprofit organization mobilizing business and investor interest on climate change and sustainability issues.

 

New DSM Plan Approved for Southwestern Public Service Company

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) has approved a new demand-side management (DSM) plan for Southwestern Public Service Company (SPS). The new plan calls for spending $15.8 million on 15 programs during 2014-15, with the goal of saving about 60 million kWh per year at the end of the two-year plan period. The DSM plan was presented to the PRC as an uncontested stipulation. The stipulation also includes a shareholder incentive that is tied to the performance of SPS’s programs in 2014 and 2015. SWEEP contributed a number of improvements to the plan as the stipulation was negotiated. SPS, a subsidiary of Xcel Energy, serves approximately 115,000 customers in southeastern New Mexico.  

 

June

SWEEP Applauds Governor Herbert for Issuing Energy Efficiency and Conservation Plan

On June 4, Utah Governor Gary Herbert issued the Utah Energy Efficiency and Conservation Plan. The new Plan includes 26 specific recommendations for advancing more efficient energy use and energy savings in Utah. Recommendations include:

  • adopt current and future model energy codes
  • support PACE financing for energy retrofits of commercial buildings
  • incorporate building energy performance information into market transactions
  • support transit-oriented development
  • expand the fueling infrastructure for electric and natural gas vehicles
  • expand community-based alternative methods of transportation such as bike sharing
  • adopt energy efficiency tax credits and a revolving load fund for industrial efficiency improvements
  • provide financing and incentives for agricultural efficiency improvements,
  • develop a Governor-led energy efficiency outreach and public education campaign, and
  • have the state of Utah lead by example.

The Plan also highlights the linkages between energy efficiency, water conservation, pollution reduction and air quality in Utah. SWEEP and its partner Utah Clean Energy participated in the development of the Governor’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Plan. 

 

SWEEP Releases Paper on Upstream Utility Incentive Programs

Upstream utility incentives programs have the potential to dramatically increase the market penetration of energy-efficient technologies. Upstream incentive programs work through manufacturers and distributors, compared to downstream programs which provide rebates directly to consumers. To encourage greater adoption of upstream programs in the Southwest, SWEEP has issued Upstream Utility Incentive Programs: Experience and Lessons Learned, a report that reviews the experience with upstream incentive programs at electric utilities and other energy efficiency program administrators across the U.S. The paper also provides program design recommendations based on this experience.

 

May

Colorado Industrial Energy Challenge Resumes

Thanks to renewed funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office and support from the Colorado Energy Office (CEO), the Colorado Industrial Energy Challenge (CIEC) program is up and running again. 

CIEC’s quarterly networking meetings invite members and prospective members to share best practices and to discuss their common challenges to making energy efficiency improvements at their facilities. The meetings typically include presentations by consultants or other experts, updates from local utility industrial energy efficiency program representatives, and a site tour of the facility hosting the meeting. At the CIEC’s annual recognition event, the Governor of Colorado honors leading companies for outstanding energy-saving achievements and implementation of strategic energy management practices.

Industrial facilities in Colorado can join the CIEC program by committing to a five-year energy goal and agreeing to provide annual energy consumption data to show progress towards the goal. SWEEP leads the CIEC program, which has been operating since March of 2010, except for a six-month hiatus prior to May 2014.

 

Rocky Mountain Power Increased Energy Savings in Utah in 2013

Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) reports that its 2013 energy efficiency programs in Utah helped its customers save 243 million kWh per year, about 7% greater than the amount of savings achieved by its 2012 programs. The utility spent $55 million on energy efficiency and load management programs in Utah in 2013, approximately 2.9% of the utility’s total revenues. In addition, RMP reports that its 2013 energy efficiency and load management programs will save customers in Utah $141 million net at a benefit-to-cost ratio of greater than 2:1. Rocky Mountain Power, a subsidiary of PacifiCorp, serves about 820,000 customers and provides 81% of the electricity consumed in Utah.     

 

Xcel Energy’s 2014 DSM Programs Plan Approved

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission has approved annual budgets of $87.8 million for Xcel Energy electric energy efficiency and load management programs and $12.3 million for natural gas efficiency programs. The 2014 DSM Programs Plan is aimed at saving 384 GWh per year of electricity at the generator level and 623,500 dekatherms of natural gas per year.  The Commission approved a Settlement in the docket that included a number of enhancements proposed or supported by SWEEP including a multi-family housing pilot and a Wi-Fi connected smart thermostat pilot. Implementation of the Plan begins in May 2014 and will continue until a new DSM Programs Plan is approved next year.  

 

Xcel Energy Exceeds Its Energy Savings Goals Again in 2013

Xcel Energy reports it achieved 384 GWh per year of electricity savings and 81 MW of peak load reduction at the generator level from demand-side management (DSM) programs implemented in 2013. The electricity savings exceed the savings goal established by the Colorado PUC by 8%. Xcel estimates that its 2013 electric DSM programs will provide its customers with $177 million in net economic benefits over the lifetime of measures installed last year. Natural gas efficiency programs helped customers save 570,000 dekatherms of gas per year, well above the Company’s gas savings goal. Xcel Energy is the largest electric and gas utility in Colorado with approximately 1.4 million customers.

 

SelfEE Energy Efficiency Photo Contest Announces Top Winners

Five winners from throughout the Southwest won top prizes for entering photos into an energy efficiency contest. The SelfEE Photo Contest was held March 29 - April 22 on Facebook. The purpose of the contest was to humanize energy efficiency by showing how real people are saving energy at home or work. The top winners of the contest are:

  • Faye Leigh Parks, Denver, CO: “Boys with their Fluorescents.”  Grand Prize, GE hybrid hot water heater
  • Dusan Slepcevic, Henderson, NV: “We use this meter, called a Kill-A-Watt, which lets us see just how much energy everything really uses.” Top Prize, Honeywell wi-fi thermostat
  • Lindsay Sajban, Boulder, CO: “We use Solatubes at our office to bring natural light in so we don’t use as much energy on lighting.” Top Prize, Honeywell wi-fi thermostat
  • Isa Jimenez-Luna, Buckeye, AZ: “We use solar screens in my home.  They have saved me so much energy and money.” Top Prize, Honeywell wi-fi thermostat
  • Erick Seelinger, Albuquerque, NM: “How many program managers does it take to be energy efficient?” Top Prize, Honeywell wi-fi thermostat

To see the winning photos and all other entries, visit our Facebook SelfEE Contest page and click the "Vote" button.

 

April

Congratulations to 2014 ENERGY STAR Award Winners in the Southwest!

On April 3, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE) honored 127 organizations for their commitment to protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency. SWEEP congratulates the seven award winners with operations based in the Southwest region.

Four organizations in our region were honored in the category of "Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence" for their exceptional leadership year after year in the Energy Star program while remaining dedicated to environmental protection through energy efficiency:

  • Arizona Public Service (Phoenix, AZ)
  • Energy Inspectors Corporation (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver (Denver, CO)
  • Meritage Homes Corporation (Scottsdale, AZ)

In addition, three organizations were honored as "Partner of the Year" for strategically and comprehensively managing their energy use:

  • D.R. Wastchak, LLC (Tempe, AZ)
  • New Mexico Gas Company (Albuquerque, NM)
  • Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District (Tempe, AZ)

The complete list of award winners, with details of their energy efficiency accomplishments, is available on the ENERGY STAR website.

 

March

Salt River Project Board Approves Fiscal Year 2015 Energy Efficiency Budget

Salt River Project (SRP) will expand customer energy efficiency programs this year and next year thanks to the SRP Board’s unanimous approval of the utility’s latest energy efficiency budget. The approved fiscal year 2015 budget calls for spending $58.4 million on energy efficiency and demand response programs starting May 1, 2014. As a result of this approval, SRP plans to expand several programs serving residential customers including the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program, the Appliance Recycling program, and the ENERGY STAR New Homes program. SRP also plans to boost commercial customer program participation by improving access to technical assistance and by expanding the energy efficiency measures available through its Standard Business Solutions program.  In fiscal year 2015, SRP’s energy efficiency goals will grow from 1.50% to 1.75% of retail sales. SRP serves 970,000 customers located mainly in the metro Phoenix area. SWEEP supported approval of the budget in comments before the SRP Board.

 

Key Electric Vehicle Policies Adopted in the 2014 Utah Legislative Session

During the 2014 Utah Legislative Session, lawmakers passed four policies that will help accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in the Utah by making EVs more affordable and convenient. Two of the bills, HB 19 and HB 74, were priorities for SWEEP and Utah Clean Energy.

House Bill 19 clarifies that businesses, governments, and other entities that want to re-sell electricity through electric vehicle charging stations are not regulated as a “public utility” or “electrical corporation” in Utah. This bill encourages more electric vehicle charging stations to be installed throughout the state, making it more convenient to charge EVs and thus encouraging more electric vehicles to be purchased by overcoming “range anxiety” that prevents many drivers from investing in EVs.

House Bill 74 (First Substitute) reauthorizes Utah’s clean fuel vehicle tax credit; increases the tax credit for electric vehicles from $605 to $1,500 (equal to that for new compressed natural gas vehicles); and increases the tax credit for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles from $605 to $1,000. Importantly, the bill also allows those who lease or purchase alternative fuel vehicles to be eligible for the tax credit.

House Bill 61 allows electric-hybrid vehicles to qualify for funding and for direct grants for alternative refueling infrastructure, administered by the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

Senate Bill 99 (First Substitute) requires that by July 1, 2018, 50% of the state of Utah’s vehicle fleet that are used for the transportation of passengers be alternative fuel vehicles, including electric vehicles.

Visit the UT State Legislature website for more information about each bill:

 

Arizona Corporation Commission Approves APS Energy Efficiency Plan

Arizona Public Service Company (APS) customers will see additional opportunities to save money on their utility bills thanks to the Arizona Corporation Commission’s adoption of APS’ latest energy efficiency plan. The approved plan calls for a $68.9 million investment in energy efficiency that will save customers more than 500 million kWh in annual energy savings in 2014. As part of the plan approval, APS will also implement new cost effective energy efficiency measures, including LED lamps and smart power strips. SWEEP advocated for approval of the plan in comments before the Arizona Corporation Commission. SWEEP also supported several amendments jointly developed by the Residential Utility Consumer Office, APS, and SWEEP.

 

APS & TEP Report Strong Energy Savings in 2013

Arizona Public Service Company (APS) and Tucson Electric Power (TEP), Arizona’s two largest regulated electric utilities, reported total annual energy savings of 539 GWh and 177 GWh respectively for energy efficiency programs implemented in 2013. APS reports that it achieved 101.6% of the Commission’s energy efficiency goal for 2013 while delivering programs significantly under budget. Meanwhile, TEP achieved 165% more savings than it did in 2012 thanks to a recent ramp-up of its programs. Together the energy efficiency programs of these two utilities in 2013 will save customers more than $110 million net from reduced power consumption and saved water. SWEEP applauds both utilities for their very strong performance in 2013.

 

February

Governor Jan Brewer’s Arizona Energy Plan Aims to Advance Energy Efficiency

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer released a new statewide energy plan that recognizes Arizona’s active and effective commitment to reducing energy consumption through energy efficiency. The plan seeks to advance energy efficiency by  “fostering statewide coordination to reduce energy consumption.” Specific action items include the establishment of an annual statewide energy efficiency recognition program for municipalities, businesses and nonprofits; support of energy performance contracts for efficiency upgrades in state buildings; and increasing access to capital to support investments in energy efficiency. SWEEP commends the Governor and her staff for recognizing the important role energy efficiency plays to ensure affordable and reliable energy in Arizona.

 

SWEEP Releases Paper on Financing Options for Combined Heat and Power Systems

SWEEP has released a new paper, "Financing Options for Combined Heat and Power Systems."  One of the greatest challenges to implementing large energy efficiency projects in both the commercial and industrial sectors is a shortage of capital. This is especially true for combined heat and power (CHP) systems, which tend to have higher initial costs and longer payback periods than many other types of energy efficiency projects.  This paper describes the range of financing options available for CHP systems, with more detailed information about how lease options and third-party ownership (energy service agreements) can provide a winning solution for CHP systems larger than two megawatts.

 

Tucson Electric Showcases Energy Efficiency at BrightEE Awards Ceremony

Tucson Electric Power Company (TEP) celebrated local businesses, contractors, and community partners during its first annual BrightEE Awards event, held in the company’s new LEED Gold certified headquarters on Wednesday, Feb. 12. Eight awardees were formally recognized for achieving significant utility bill reductions and energy savings by participating in the utility's energy efficiency programs. Their work was brought to life for attendees through a video showcase of their energy efficiency projects. President and Chief Operating Officer David Hutchens thanked the awardees for their efforts, noting that energy efficiency enables the utility to provide safe, reliable, and affordable service. Awardees are: Carondelet-St. Mary’s Hospital, Vroom Engineering, Inline Electrical Resources, Sunnyside Unified School District, Marana Unified School District, Primavera Foundation, Meritage Homes, and John Wesley Miller Homes.

 

City Energy Project Launched—Includes Denver and Salt Lake City

On January 29, the mayors of 10 major U.S. cities announced they will undertake a united effort to significantly boost energy efficiency in their commercial buildings. Known as the City Energy Project, the 10 cities will promote more efficient building operation, encourage greater private investment in energy efficiency, provide better energy performance information to building owners and occupants, and lead by example in municipal buildings. SWEEP congratulates Denver and Salt Lake City for being selected to participate in the City Energy Project. The Project is a joint initiative of the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and includes funding to each of the cities from three large charitable foundations.

 

January

SWEEP Announces Members of New Business Allies Program

The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) announced the launch of its Allies Program today, with 22 energy efficiency businesses or business organizations participating so far in 2014, the inaugural year for the program.  These companies are helping SWEEP advance its mission to increase energy efficiency and thereby save households and businesses money while improving the environment in the Southwest. 

Members of the 2014 SWEEP Allies Program are:

  • ACS Energy
  • ADM Associates, Inc.
  • CLEAResult
  • Conservation Services Group
  • Ecova
  • Edison Foundation Institute for Electric Innovation
  • Energy Solutions
  • EnergySavvy
  • EnerNOC
  • FirstFuel Software
  • Franklin Energy
  • Honeywell
  • JACO Environmental
  • Johns Manville
  • Leidos Engineering
  • Nexant
  • Opower
  • Philips Lighting
  • Proctor Engineering  
  • Retroficiency
  • Simple Energy
  • J.R. Simplot

For more information on the SWEEP Allies Program, please see:

 

El Paso Electric Approved to Spend $16.6 Million on Energy Efficiency Plan

El Paso Electric Company (EPE) received approval in December 2013 from the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) to increase its investment in energy efficiency to $16.6 million over the next three years, 2014-16. EPE serves 92,000 residential and business customers in south-central New Mexico and expects the investment in programs and technologies to conserve energy use by nearly 58 GWh annually by the end of 2016. SWEEP, working in partnership with the New Mexico-based Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy (CCAE), participated in settlement negotiations that led to the approved plan.  CCAE’s recommendations helped to strengthen and diversify EPE’s plan, increase cost-effective energy savings, and ensure that the plan reaches new spending levels required by the 2013 amendments to New Mexico’s Efficient Use of Energy Act.  In addition to providing incentives and technical support to ratepayers, the utility will launch a campaign in 2014 to build awareness of its energy-saving programs.  The campaign will target EPE’s customers as well as contractors who sell and install energy-efficient goods and services.