Press Coverage

October 2019

  • Colorado Maintains High Ranking in State Energy Efficiency Scorecard
    T&D World - October 11, 2019
    Colorado remained in 14th place in the 2019 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard released recently by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), while New Mexico and Nevada achieved higher rankings compared to those in last year’s State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.
  • In Hawaii and Colorado, Governments and the Private Sector Electrify Transportation
    GreenBiz - October 1, 2019
    The leading transportation electrification projects have a clear beginning and end, but the route in between can be a maze of forks in the road that easily can lead project teams into high congestion. An early pit stop at RMI’s Mobility Innovation Lab (MIL) can redraw the roadmap and put project teams back in the fast lane. Building on a foundation laid last year in the Midwest, Rocky Mountain Institute applies an intensive workshop method, filled with experts from the field, for teams to recalibrate and take a giant step forward in only a few days in what otherwise would take half a year.

September 2019

August 2019

  • Colorado Revs Up, Adopts Zero-Emission Vehicle Program
    Ecowatch By Simon Mui - August 19, 2019
    "States across the country are stepping up to make clean cars cheaper and easier to find. Colorado's Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) voted Friday to adopt a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program that will increase the availability of electric vehicles in the state, improve air quality and increase transportation affordability. In doing so, Colorado joins together with ten other states that have already adopted ZEV programs and follows up on its adoption of state clean car requirements limiting emissions of greenhouse gases and criteria pollutants from all new passenger vehicles. All told, 30% of the U.S. vehicle market is now covered by a ZEV program. The adoption is the latest rebuff to the Trump administration's proposed rollback to federal clean car standards, which Consumer Reports estimates will cost U.S. consumers $460 billion more at the gas pump. Governors from 24 states, including Colorado's Jared Polis, now oppose the rollback. NRDC — as part of the broader Environmental Coalition that includes Western Resource Advocates, Environmental Defense Fund, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project and Sierra Club — provided comments supporting strong ZEV standards as good for the environment, good for consumers and good for Colorado."
  • Colorado First State In Middle Of Nation To Adopt Electric Vehicle Standard
    RealVail.com by David O. Williams - August 16, 2019
    “Auto companies are increasingly understanding that governments are adopting climate targets that are going to require a shift away from fossil fuels for transportation—a hundred percent shift—and that’s going to happen whether they want it to or not,” said Travis Madsen of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. “It’s now just a matter of how and when.”
  • City Bringing First Electric Buses to Albuquerque
    City of Albuquerque - August 15, 2019
    Albuquerque is bringing the first electric buses to ABQ RIDE routes with $2.78 million in federal funding that the City won in a competitive grant process. The buses are for regular ABQ RIDE routes and cannot be used on the ART corridor. The grant funding comes from the Federal Transit Administration’s Low-or No-Emission (Low-No) grant program, which awarded grants to help 38 cities out of more than 150 applicants, purchase transit buses and infrastructure that use advanced propulsion technologies. “We are not waiting to take bold action on climate change right here at the local level,” stated Mayor Tim Keller. “With this $2.7 million federal grant we will bring the first electric buses to Albuquerque. Transitioning our fleets is just one of the projects we’ve taken on to make Albuquerque one of the top 10 cities in the nation for renewable energy. It’s not just a number to us, it’s about equity. Our residents already know the impact of climate change, as local farmers along the Rio Grande deal with changing conditions and kids with asthma can’t play outside on high ozone days.” Mayor Keller specifically thanked the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, among 15 other advocates, for providing a letter of support towards the city's grant application to the Federal Transit Administration.
  • In Colorado, Electric Vehicle Ambitions Meet Extreme Peaks And Weather
    Energy News Network by Allen Best - August 12, 2019
    Article quotes SWEEP's transportation program manager Travis Madsen: “After this legislative season, I think Colorado has to be considered a leader,” said Travis Madsen, transportation program manager for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. “We have some new work to do to implement the policies, but I expect that the next couple of years will be transformative.” "Colorado last year was fifth in the nation in electric vehicle sales as a percentage of total sales at about 2.6%, according to EVAdoption.com. California led the nation at 7.8%. Madsen expects Colorado’s sales to increase, the result of steps taken by both legislators and direct action ordered by Polis."
  • Boulder-Based Green Energy Group Makes Case For Density To Meet City’s Climate Goals
    The Boulder Beat by Shay Castle - August 11, 2019
    "A local nonprofit (Southwest Energy Efficiency Project) focused on energy efficiency has released a comprehensive report calling for increased density in Boulder. Through exhaustive use of data, the 50-page “Growing Greener: The Environmental Benefits of a Compact and Connected Boulder” makes the case that the city cannot meet its climate goals without housing more people and lambasts the city’s anti-growth policies for exporting its environmental impacts into neighboring communities — despite Boulder’s reputation as a leader in sustainability."
  • Nonprofits Outline ‘Compact Development’ As Traffic Decongestion Tool
    Boulder Daily Camera by Sam Lounsberry - August 10, 2019
    "The report pointed out environmental advantages of increasing housing density in some areas of the city. The 50-page report, focused on Boulder and titled, “Growing Greener,” was put forward by a group of nonprofit researchers in the state: Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, Colorado Public Interest Research Foundation, Environment Colorado and Frontier Group. Boulder-based environmental nonprofit Innovo Foundation is also listed as a contributor to the report."
  • Electric Vehicle Adoption Plan Approved By ACC
    AZBigMedia.com by Nick Esquer - August 2, 2019
    Article quotes AZ Representative Ellen Zuckerman: "Approved on July 1, the plan includes a layout of potential locations for charging stations and incentives or rebates for EV drivers. Groups, such as Southwest Energy Efficiency Project Arizona, Western Resource Advocates, and Wildfire Arizona, have already given high praise to the plan and hope to encourage more support behind it. “This decision clearly sends a signal that Arizona is ready to get serious about transportation electrification,” Ellen Zuckerman of Southwest Energy Efficiency Project said in a statement. The group believes that a plan like this can end up saving Arizona customers billions of dollars over time as well as improve air quality."

July 2019

  • Arizona's New EV Growth Plan Could Save Customers Billions, Groups Say
    UtilityDive.com by Robert Walton - July 12, 2019
    SWEEP's Arizona Representative Ellen Zuckerman is quote in this article about a recent decision by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) to boost the state's use of electric vehicles: "Several groups applauded the decision, which they say will improve air quality and save Arizona customers billions of dollars. "This decision clearly sends a signal that Arizona is ready to get serious about transportation electrification," Southwest Energy Efficiency Project Arizona representative, Ellen Zuckerman, said in a statement."
  • Judge Hits Brakes On Car Dealers’ Lawsuit Against State Rule Boosting Fuel Efficiency
    Denver Post - by Judith Kohler - July 9, 2019
    SWEEP's Travis Madsen quoted in a story about a failed court challenge by the Colorado Automobile Dealers Assn. to the state's low emission vehicle standards: "“We’re glad the courts recognized Colorado’s right to act against air pollution. Coloradans will save billions on fuel over the next decade as a result,” Travis Madsen, transportation program director at the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, said in a statement."
  • Understanding New Utility Incentive Programs for Energy Efficiency
    FacilitiesNet.com - by Karen Kroll - July 8, 2019
    SWEEP Executive Director Howard Geller was quoted in a series of articles on FacilitiesNet.com: "At one time, the incentive programs launched by utility companies often centered around rebates for purchases of energy-saving equipment. While these programs are still around, many utilities are shifting course. “Now, the trend is to offer a financial incentive per unit of energy saved,” says Howard Geller, executive director with Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, a public-interest organization promoting greater energy efficiency and clean transportation in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming."
  • That $1.5B Boulder-Longmont Train? Transit Advocates Say Maybe We Should Ask For More Buses Instead
    Colorado Public Radio - by Nathanial Minor - July 3, 2019
    SWEEP's Transportation Program Director quoted in this news article by CPR News (by Nathanial Minor): "The efficiency of bus rapid transit-style lines means they should be a huge part of transit’s future in the Denver area, said Travis Madsen, transportation director at the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. He said the RTD board’s recently re-stated goal of finishing FasTracks shouldn’t be their highest priority. “We have an opportunity to get a lot more folks riding the transit system, getting cars off the road, reducing air pollution and generally making quality of life in our region better by focusing our investments on the projects that are going to give us the biggest bang for the buck,” he said."

June 2019

  • Utility energy-efficiency programs benefit all
    Santa Fe New Mexican - By Howard Geller and Tammy Fiebelkorn - June 8, 2019
    MY VIEW Kenneth Costello (“There’s no free lunch with energy efficiency,” My View, April 20) argues that utilities such as Public Service Company of New Mexico should not spend money to help their customers implement energy-efficiency measures and save energy. But real-world experience demonstrates that although improving energy efficiency isn’t free, it provides benefits that far outweigh the costs. Here are some numbers. PNM and other electric utilities in New Mexico spent about $285 million from 2008-17 on programs to help their customers save energy and reduce peak demand. As a result, households and businesses cut their electricity use by more than 1 billion kilowatt-hours in 2017, savings that are equivalent to the electricity use of 130,000 typical households in the state. Lower electricity use means utility bills are more affordable for hundreds of thousands of New Mexico’s families. Furthermore, energy efficiency programs implemented over the past decade are providing over $400 million in net economic benefits due mainly to utilities avoiding costly capital investments and fuel purchases. In addition, reducing wasteful electricity use means less operation of coal and natural gas-fired power plants. This in turn cuts pollutant emissions, thereby improving public health and reducing the state’s contribution to global warming. Contrary to what Costello claims, the energy savings resulting from utility energy-efficiency programs are not “engineering estimates” subject to large uncertainty. The programs are carefully evaluated by an independent consultant with oversight from the state’s Public Regulation Commission. In its detailed reports, the independent evaluator excludes energy savings by so-called “free riders” — those households and businesses that would adopt energy-efficiency measures in the absence of utility incentive programs. Costello also wrongly claims that utility energy-efficiency programs benefit relatively few customers. When considered over a number of years, the majority of customers participate in one or more utility incentive programs, thereby realizing direct energy savings and reduced utility bills. And all customers benefit when the programs enable utilities to avoid costly investments in new power plants and transmission lines, or reduce air pollutant emissions. Low-income households in particular benefit from utility energy-efficiency programs, as these families cannot afford to make energy-efficiency improvements on their own. Consequently, utilities often pay the full cost for energy-efficiency upgrades in low-income housing. Put simply, it costs less to save energy from energy-efficiency programs that it does to supply energy from any type of new power source — whether wind power, solar power or gas-fired power plants. The environmental benefits are “icing on the cake.” This is why policymakers in New Mexico and elsewhere direct utilities to implement energy-efficiency programs for their customers, and why utility regulators approve them. House Bill 291, approved by the state Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, provides the foundation for comprehensive utility energy-efficiency programs for the next decade. Based on past experience, including rigorous program evaluation, consumers and the environment will come out ahead. The Legislature and governor deserve praise for their foresight. Howard Geller is the executive director of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. Tammy Fiebelkorn is the New Mexico representative of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. SWEEP is a nonprofit, public interest organization.
  • Codes Requiring EV in Commercial Help Grid
    Codewatcher - June 7, 2019
    SWEEP's senior transportation associate Matt Frommer quoted: "The commercial International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) committee approved codes proposed by the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) and other groups. The codes require new commercial and high-rise residential buildings to provide for low-cost and easy installation of EV charging, said Matthew Frommer, senior transportation associate for SWEEP."
  • Can These Electric Vehicle Codes Lead to Grid Benefits?
    Microgrid Knowledge - by Lisa Cohn - June 7, 2019
    SWEEP's senior transportation associate Matt Frommer is quoted extensively in this article about the new ICC code requirement for new commercial buildings to come equipped with charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. “EVs result in fewer emissions and cleaner air for everyone, particularly a lot of these counties in non-attainment areas, with ground-level ozone and other pollutants. EVs are a great tool to clean up our air,” said Frommer.
  • New Clean Energy Laws for Nevada
    KTVN 2 News Nevada - Chris Buckley - June 4, 2019
    SWEEP's Nevada Representative is quoted in this article about new clean energy laws in the state: "We're going to start tracking carbon emissions; this is a very innovative bill simply to measure," said Tom Polikalas of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. "When we start measuring what Nevada is putting out, then we can start finding cost effective ways to reduce carbon emissions, and that's the key. We're going to be able to create jobs - that find ways that pay for themselves - that will not only reduce carbon emissions, but lower costs to consumers. That's something we'll move forward with in 2021. What we've done in the 2019 session is set a framework to put Nevada at the forefront across the board in clean energy technology."

May 2019

  • Colorado wants to spark move to electric vehicles in a big way — with buses, trucks, fleets
    Denver Post - Judith Kohler - May 31, 2019
    SWEEP's senior transportation associate Matt Frommer is quoted in the article: "As more and more of the electricity on the grid comes from renewable sources, the benefits of driving electric vehicles will increase, said Matt Frommer, senior transportation associate at the Boulder-based Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. And Xcel Energy-Colorado has proposed a change that would better accommodate businesses that have to charge large electric vehicles. RTD recently reported that it costs more to operate its electric buses on Denver’s 16th Street Mall than diesel buses due to Xcel Energy’s “demand charge.” The charge is a price tier typically added to commercial and industrial customers’ bills to recover a utility’s capital costs of building a system that can provide enough power to meet peak demand when needed. The proposal Xcel Energy filed May 24 with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission would allow businesses or transit agencies to time the charging in a way that will lower costs. “That definitely strengthens the economic argument for electric vehicles,” Frommer said."
  • Electric bus plan is now a law, but is there money to make it go?
    Nevada Current - Jeniffer Solis - May 31, 2019
    SWEEP staffers Matt Frommer and Tom Polikalas quoted extensively in this article about recent electric school bus bill signed by Gov. Sisolak in Nevada: “If you’re not going to build a plug that any electric vehicle can use you shouldn’t be eligible for ratepayer funding,” said Matt Frommer, senior transportation associate at the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, which focuses clean transportation policy and advocacy. A dearth in charging stations in Nevada make EVID funds competitive, “There is a fair amount of competition but it is good that there is a fair amount of money left,” Frommer said. “To be honest $15 million isn’t that much in the grand scheme of things,” Frommer said.”That’s why we’d like to see a pilot program launched in 2019 and as soon as possible.” Funding for electric school buses is not part of the current annual plan for EVID funds but now that a bill has been passed advocates are hopeful the funds will be set aside and invested in electric school buses. “They have direction from the state to launch this investment in electric school buses. So there’s no reason they couldn’t start the program this year,” Frommer said. The EVID program is a three-year program and will likely end in 2021, making funding the electric school buses a race against time and potentially dwindling funds. “The next step is to have advocacy groups reach out to school districts to work with the utility and try to get projects underway quickly,” said Tom Polikalas a Nevada Representative for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. “We are highly motivated to see these electric school buses put into place as quick as possible.”
  • Polis signs suite of climate, energy bills
    Grand Junction Daily Sentinel - Dennis Webb - May 31, 2019
    "On Friday, he’s scheduled to sign bills extending state income tax credits for purchase or lease of electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids through 2025, and requiring regulated electric utilities to develop and implement plans for investment in electric-vehicle charging infrastructure, the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project said in a news release."
  • DOE Lightbulb Rollbacks Spark State Action
    E&E News - May 28, 2019
    SWEEP's executive director is quoted in this story about the Governor of Nevada signing a bill into law that maintains strong lamp efficiency standards should the federal government try to rollback those standards: "Howard Geller, the executive director of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, which helped formulate the bills in Colorado and Nevada, said it received large bipartisan support because unlike at the federal level, lightbulb manufacturers did not get involved in the process." "Most legislators are pragmatists and accept the fact that this would benefit consumers," he said, adding that as more states move to pass these standards, the manufacturers will soon be forced to comply with the stricter standards.
  • New Mexico adopts energy efficiency regulations
    Choose Energy - May 25, 2019
    SWEEP's New Mexico Representative is quoted in the article, stating: "Energy efficiency campaigners are also upbeat about the new measures. “It’s not fair to ask [utilities] to sell less of their product,” explains the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project’s Tammy Fiebelkorn. ”So this decoupling mechanism will make them pretty much indifferent to whether they sell more energy or not. They’ll still get all their costs recovered.”
  • Nevada Governor Sisolak signs bill that would fund electric school buses
    KSNV News 3 - Las Vegas, NV - May 23, 2019
    SWEEP staffer Tom Polikalas is quoted: “Electric buses are a great way to get kids to school,” said Tom Polikalas, Nevada Representative for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. “They save school districts money, so more of our education dollars can go towards teachers instead of polluting and expensive diesel fuel. Thanks to Governor Sisolak, bill sponsors Senator Brooks and Senator Spearman, and the Nevada legislature for charging ahead with SB299."
  • Reaction to state legislature’s work on energy runs gamut
    Denver Post - May 19, 2019
    Howard Geller of SWEEP quoted: “Energy efficiency has helped us to eliminate the growth in electricity use in the state even though our population is growing and our economy is growing,” said Howard Geller, executive director of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. “Leveling off our overall energy use makes it much easier to transition away from fossil fuels.” And it’s not just a matter of phasing out coal and natural gas power plants with wind farms and solar arrays. The number of vehicles and the miles driven are on the rise, Geller said. “There’s more work to do there.” See the full article by Judith Kohler at the Denver Post.
  • Energy efficiency is not a free lunch; it’s a smorgasbord
    Santa Fe New Mexican - May 18, 2019
    An opinion article written by Claire Fulenwider, Ph.D., a former executive director of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, quotes SWEEP research: "SWEEP, the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, estimated that households and businesses in the Southwest between 2005 and 2017 saved more than $7 billion as a result of utility energy efficiency programs, and power plant carbon emissions were cut by over 80 million metric tons. Any way you look at it, those are big numbers. And these savings continue into the future. The effects of efficiency programs are big and they are real."
  • SWEEP Promotes Electric Vehicles
    Denver Post - May 15, 2019
    Travis Madsen of SWEEP quoted in this article: “We hope Xcel will do something similar for commercial EV charging in Colorado, to help RTD and transit fleets all across the state capture the benefits of electrification and deliver better service at lower cost for their constituents,” said Travis Madsen, transportation project director for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. See the Denver Post for the full article.
  • Marijuana Prices Have Collapsed, Forcing Growers to Focus on Energy Efficiency
    Utility Dive - May 1, 2019
    Efficiency experts say the biggest opportunities to reduce energy use in the cannabis sector are in the design phase of a new grow operation. As marijuana becomes more mainstream, an increasing number of utilities are seeing growers set up shop in their service territories — at times creating distribution system issues, and in general bringing significant new demand.

April 2019

  • New law boosts energy-efficiency mandates
    Albuquerque Journal - April 18, 2019
    New Mexico’s electric consumption could drop markedly over the next decade thanks to new energy-efficiency mandates approved by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. House Bill 291, which the Legislature passed this year and the governor signed into law on April 3, requires the state’s three public utilities to achieve 5 percent savings off 2020 retail sales by 2025, followed by higher savings targets that the state Public Regulation Commission will set through 2030. It also authorizes up to a 66 percent increase in utility spending on energy-efficiency programs.
  • The 2018 IECC is Fair to the Solar Industry
    ICC - Building Safety Journal - April 11, 2019
    As state and local officials tackle building energy code issues in 2019, they likely will hear discussions about how solar photovoltaic (PV) power should fit into the energy code, and if solar energy can “trade off” for energy efficiency. Some interest groups want policymakers to weaken the efficiency requirements for new homes if the houses also have solar energy, but those requests fail to understand three things. Read the full article.
  • New Mexico Efficiency Bill Ensures Utilities Don't Take Hit From Lower Energy Use
    Utility Dive - April 10, 2019
    New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D, signed a bill on Thursday to establish decoupling, which aims to remove the disincentive for utilities to conserve energy, as well as boost energy efficiency funding 67%. The New Mexico law is another addition to the state's growing clean energy programming.

March 2019

  • Legislation Amended To Help Consumers Save Energy and Money?
    ThisisReno - March 22, 2019
    The Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy (NGOE) has introduced an important amendment to Assembly Bill 54, to ensure that the Silver State maintains a high level of energy efficiency for light bulbs sold in Nevada.
  • The IECC Is a Life Safety Code: Make It the Law
    CodeWatcher - March 12, 2019
    This first blog in a series on the IECC explains why America’s Model Energy Code may be getting a bad rap and what the industry needs to do to see it adopted as law in more municipalities around the nation.
  • 7 Tips to Reduce Your Energy costs
    Cannabis Business Times - March 11, 2019
    The total energy costs for average indoor cannabis grow operations account for 20 percent to 40 percent of total operating costs. By comparison, for a typical medium-size or larger brewery, energy use accounts for about 6 percent to 12 percent of total operating costs. Because energy makes up a large portion of cannabis operating costs, efforts to reduce energy consumption can have a significant effect on a grow operation’s profit margin, as well as the business’s overall competitiveness. Many states with legalized cannabis markets also have their own energy-efficiency goals, making those state governments interested in working with the cannabis industry to reduce energy consumption. Also, many utilities have programs to help cannabis cultivators reduce their energy consumption. This article outlines pointers to gain control over your energy costs and pad your bottom line.

February 2019

  • New Study Finds Electric Vehicles Could Help Nevada Economy in Multiple Ways
    Channel 2 News Reno, Nevada - February 1, 2019
    The station ran this story covering electric cars and the Nevada economy interviewing Matt Frommer, Senior Transportation Associate at SWEEP, about the growing popularity of EVs and the gas and maintenance cost savings realized by EV owners. Also noted is the increasing affordability given available tax credits and the lower cost of lithium ion batteries. This broadcast preceded today’s Nevada Electric Transportation Forum being held in Reno from 8:00 am 1:30 pm PST. To watch the livestream event go to the SWEEP Events page and follow the link.

January 2019

  • The 2018 IECC is Fair to the Solar Industry
    Code Watcher - January 16, 2019
    The online publication picked up the blog from SWEEP's Jim Meyers. "Solar energy and efficiency are not the same thing, and cannot be traded off one-for-one. There are technical reasons why a house with solar PV needs different insulation levels than a house without it. The latest model energy code, the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), was widely developed, agreed to, and supported by the homebuilders, the solar industry, and local building officials in a lengthy and inclusive process. The IECC works as a kind of clean energy ecosystem, where changing just one small item can unbalance the rest of the system."
  • Environmentalists are demanding aggressive action on climate change. How far will Colorado Democrats go?
    Colorado Sun - January 2, 2019
    Climate change is emerging as the top legislative priority on the political left, where environmental advocates and Democratic lawmakers are hoping to turn Colorado’s blue wave into a green one. So while low prices of clean energy have gotten most of the credit for reducing Colorado’s electrical emissions, gains in energy efficiency have been the bigger driver of emission reductions since 2008, according to SWEEP’s analysis of energy usage data.