Press Coverage

June 2018

  • Colorado regulators raise Xcel's energy-efficiency target by 25 percent
    Colorado Springs Gazette - June 20, 2018
    The Colorado Public Utilities Commission has raised the energy-efficiency bar for Xcel Energy Inc. even as Colorado's biggest power utility sought to hold it steady. Howard Geller, executive director of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project or SWEEP, said that Xcel has consistently tried to keep the targets low and voiced concern that easiest and cheapest efficiency gains have been made. "There are still plenty of opportunities for energy savings," Geller said. For example, there are gains in high-efficiency LED lighting, not only in homes, but schools, business, and streetlights, he said. These bulbs offer energy savings of 50 to 70 percent. The use of heat pumps in residential appliances, such as hot water heaters and clothes dryers, is another emerging energy-saving area, Geller said. The pumps capture and recycle heat.
  • Hickenlooper's plan for low-emissions-vehicle standards draws backlash, praise
    Denver Business Journal - June 20, 2018
    Gov. John Hickenlooper has drawn some strong reactions to his executive order Tuesday requiring the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to draw up rules increasing emission standards in order to increase the percentage of cars on the road that are low-emissions vehicles. “The adoption of light-duty fuel economy standards by the federal government is one of the largest single steps ever taken to advance energy efficiency. The Trump Administration is moving to dramatically weaken these standards, despite an extensive record that shows that federal clean car rules not only protect public health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also create jobs and save consumers thousands of dollars per household. SWEEP strongly supports Governor Hickenlooper’s move to adopt clean car standards which will protect consumers and clean air in Colorado, and we encourage other states across the region and the nation to adopt these standards.”— Howard Geller, executive director of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project
  • Maine finds marijuana growers too risky for energy efficiency grants
    Utility Dive - June 19, 2018
    SWEEP's cannabis energy use study gets quoted in longer story about Maine's controversial decision to not allow marijuana growers to apply for energy efficiency grants. "A 2017 study from the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project calculated that the state's indoor growing operations could reduce 32% of its energy use through efficiency best practices regarding lighting, cooling and dehumidification in facilities."
  • Colo. to adopt low emissions vehicle standards under Hickenlooper’s latest executive order
    Colorado Springs Gazette - June 19, 2018
    Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an executive order Tuesday committing the state to the adoption of low emission vehicle (LEV) standards in an effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 26 percent by 2025. Howard Geller, executive director of the Boulder-based Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, called the decision historic. “The adoption of light-duty fuel economy standards by the federal government is one of the largest single steps ever taken to advance energy efficiency,” he said in a statement. “The Trump administration is moving to dramatically weaken these standards, despite an extensive record that shows that federal clean car rules not only protect public health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also create jobs and save consumers thousands of dollars per household. “SWEEP strongly supports Governor Hickenlooper’s move to adopt clean car standards which will protect consumers and clean air in Colorado, and we encourage other states across the region and the nation to adopt these standards.”
  • 2009 Called. It Wants Its Energy Code Back
    Insulation Institute online - June 15, 2018
    The Insulation Institute spoke with Southwest Energy Efficiency Project’s (SWEEP) Christine Brinker about why energy conservation code adoption lags in many states and how builders can benefit as their states take up newer versions of the IECC. The energy code fundamentally improves the durability of buildings as well as the health and safety of us humans inside. It’s not just a “nice to have,” Brinker added.
  • Nevada electric utility seeks to partner with 6 solar firms
    Reno Gazette Journal - June 1, 2018
    Nevada’s main electric utility said Thursday that if voters reject a statewide energy choice constitutional amendment in November, it plans to partner with six solar power development firms to buy enough power from projects to be built around the state to supply more than 600,000 homes. Officials with the advocacy groups the Interwest Energy Alliance, Vote Solar and the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project issued a statement hailing the NV Energy proposal as a step toward clean energy efficiency and cost savings for families and businesses.

May 2018

  • Traffic on westbound I-70 past Floyd Hill.Colorado Department of Transportation Conservatives: Even If Our Transportation Ballot Initiative Loses in November, We Still Win
    Westword - May 22, 2018
    Colorado hasn't increased its 22-cent gas tax, which funds state highway projects, since 1993, which is projected to create a $9 billion shortfall over the next decade, according to state transportation officials. "I can't predict the results of the election, but I think we're going to work hard to get the word out to folks that the responsible way to fix our transportation problem is by bringing new money to the table," says Will Toor, transportation program director for the regional nonprofit advocacy organization Southwest Energy Efficiency Project.
  • You Can’t Buy New Crosstrek PHEV Unless You Live in These 10 US States
    Torque News - May 21, 2018
    Subaru’s all-new 2019 Crosstrek plug-in-hybrid is coming later this year, but the fuel-stingy model will only be sold in 10 U.S. states. Will Toor, the transportation program director for SWEEP, said "Despite the fact that Colorado has some of the strongest consumer demand for electric vehicles, most car manufacturers don't sell all their electric models here. States that have adopted zero emission standard get up to three times as many models.”
  • Colorado to miss out on Subaru EVs for lack of a law
    Colorado Springs Gazette - May 16, 2018
    Subaru plans to offer its first plug-in hybrid powertrain on its Crosstrek -- but won't sell the cars in Colorado. SWEEP's Will Toor explains what Colorado must do to encourage Subaru and other car makers to offer electric vehicles in our state. ""Despite the fact that Colorado has some of the strongest consumer demand for electric vehicles, most car manufacturers don't sell all their electric models here," Toor said. "States that have adopted zero emission standard get up to three times as many models. The new plug-in hybrid Subaru Crosstrek is a great example. What could suit the Colorado lifestyle more than an all-wheel-drive electric vehicle? But Subaru is only planning to release it in the ZEV states. Colorado needs to take action to increase model availability."
  • Regulators approve rules for EV charging, despite criticism from consumer advocate
    Nevada Independent - May 11, 2018
    State regulators on Thursday approved rules that allow NV Energy to play a central role in building electric vehicle charging stations. The decision, intended to kick-start the industry, was applauded by clean energy advocates but criticized by the state’s consumer advocate, who argued the rules expanded the utility’s mandate at a potentially high cost to ratepayers. Will Toor, who directs the transportation program at the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, said the charging stations were a public good. Electric vehicles, he said, have the obvious benefits of lower greenhouse emissions but went a step further to argue that they could even reduce rates over time by helping the utility better balance demand for power with its supply. “In addition to the community and public benefits, we believe there are specific benefits that accrue to utility ratepayers,” he argued.

April 2018

  • Business groups team up to urge increase in transportation funding
    Denver Business Journal - April 10, 2018
    SWEEP transportation-program director Will Toor said he would like to see SB 1 dedicate at least 15 percent of spending toward multi-modal solutions, allocate at least 40 percent of total revenue to local governments and remove a provision making it more difficult to add toll lanes to highways. “The state spends less than 1 cent per person per day on public transit — 20 times less than the national average,” Toor said. “In order to address this, it makes sense both to use available revenue in the general fund and ask the voters to increase taxes.”
  • ‘America First’ Or Dirtier Air? What EPA Rollbacks On Auto Emissions Could Mean
    Colorado Public Radio - April 5, 2018
    CO Public Radio interviews SWEEP's Will Toor about EPA's proposal to halt improvements in car and light truck fuel efficiency. "Will Toor of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project tells Colorado Matters he opposes the move, and believes it will hurt Coloradans in their wallets and in diminished air quality."
  • Don’t roll back U.S. auto emissions standards
    Denver Post - April 4, 2018
    Colorado's leading newspaper supports fuel efficiency and mileage requirements for cars and light trucks, and opposes EPA chief Pruitt's push to roll back the standards. "If the auto industry and consumers hit the targets in the agreement, they would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2 billion tons, oil consumption by 2.2. million barrels per day from 2010 levels and fuel costs by $1.7 trillion."
  • Analysis: How EPA’s rollback of auto mileage rule would impact Colorado
    Durango Herald - April 3, 2018
    The rollback of federal auto-mileage standards – expected by the Trump administration in the coming days – could erase some of the progress being made in Colorado on cutting air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, according to analyses by environmental groups. “Having this rule yanked out from under us will send Colorado backward,” said Will Toor, transportation program director at the Boulder-based Southwest Energy Efficiency Project.

March 2018

  • Climate, clean air goals in danger
    Boulder Daily Camera - March 31, 2018
    The Trump administration has launched such a dizzying array of attacks on environmental quality in its first year that it's sometimes hard to keep track of them all. But perhaps the most direct assault on environmental quality yet is expected this week, when Pruitt plans to announce the administration will revoke auto emission standards set in 2012, which mandate that the fuel efficiency of cars, sport-utility vehicles and light trucks continue to improve on an annual basis through 2025. The effects of a rollback on Boulder's and Colorado's emission reduction goals could be devastating. Former Boulder mayor Will Toor, now director of the transportation program at the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, estimates that if Pruitt succeeds in rolling back mandated improvements after 2021, it will negate the entire improvement in emissions expected from the Colorado Energy Plan announced by Xcel Energy last year, which calls for retiring 660 megawatts of coal-fired electric capacity and replacing it with wind, solar and natural gas. "There is simply no way that Boulder can achieve its climate goals without the clean-car standards," Toor said. "If you look at projections for greenhouse gas emissions from transportation in Boulder, the biggest single reduction comes from federal standards forcing cars to get cleaner. From a metro area perspective, cars are one of the two big sources of ozone precursors contributing to smog and violations of federal air quality standards. The other big source is oil and gas production, a not-unrelated source. Rolling back the standards will increase emissions of ozone precursors, making it harder to clean the air here."
  • Colorado Senate committee unplugs bill to allow Xcel to build EV charging stations March
    Colorado Politics - March 28, 2018
    Despite strong support from the business community, the Colorado state senate's transportation committee killed a proposal to let Xcel Energy to build electrical vehicle (EV) charging stations to bolster the development of the alternative transport. It failed on a 3-2 vote along party lines. SWEEP's Will Toor had argued for the plan, citing a 2017 study by the consulting firm M J Bradley & Associates that calculated the annual savings by 2030 from high EV penetration in Colorado could be $70 million a year. Under PUC regulations that money would be returned to customers, Toor said.
  • Colorado to spend millions building electric-vehicle charging stations
    Denver Business Journal - March 26, 2018
    After more than a year of work, Colorado air pollution officials last week finalized a plan to spend $68.7 million to cut car and truck pollution in the state by investing in electric and alternative-fuel vehicles. “I think the state has done a really good job of crafting a plan that will support the bold goals the Governor set out in the Colorado Electric Vehicle plan earlier this year,” SWEEP's Will Toor said.
  • TEP, APS ordered to cut reliance on gas, add renewables in long-term plans
    Arizona (Tucson) Daily Star - March 19, 2018
    Arizona utility regulators have sent a strong message to the state’s biggest power companies: Step off the gas.The high level of public engagement in the resource planning process shows Arizonans want clean energy and energy efficiency, said Ellen Zuckerman, Arizona senior associate with the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. “The ACC’s decision to start getting the utilities better in sync with public appetite for cleaner energy resources and cost savings is good to see,” Zuckerman said.
  • Arizona regulators rebuff utilities, order turn from gas to renewables
    PV Magazine - March 15, 2018
    As an historic first, the Arizona Corporation Commission has voted not to acknowledge the gas-heavy energy resource plans of utilities, and is pushing instead an aggressive clean energy plan by one of its members. In a report highlighted by Western Resource Advocates and the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, if just one electricity utility – APS – were to install renewable energy sources, backed with energy storage and efficiency, instead of the planned 4,000-5,500 MW of gas – customers would save roughly $300 million.
  • Arizona regulators hope to put hold on utilities' gas-fired ambitions
    Electric Light and Power online - March 15, 2018
    Arizona regulators are scuttling plans by the state’s utilities to massively expand natural gas-fired generation until they take time to officially study and report on the cost comparisons with alternative energy and storage options. “The unprecedented level of public engagement in this process underscores that Arizona is a state where people want clean energy and energy efficiency and all the benefits they bring,” said Ellen Zuckerman with the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project in a statement. “The ACC’s decision to start getting the utilities better in sync with public appetite for cleaner energy resources and cost savings is good to see.”
  • Arizona regulators move to place gas plant moratorium on utilities
    Utility Dive - March 15, 2018
    This story doesn't directly quote SWEEP, but used much of our information. A published decision is not yet available, but the commissioners' amendments signal how the agency envisions Arizona's energy landscape and the future of natural gas in the state.
  • Henderson receives energy efficiency award
    KTNV - March 14, 2018
    Henderson, NV, is seeing green by saving green, says a Nevada television station. KTNV reports on SWEEP awarding the 2018 Energy Codes Count award to the City of Henderson.
  • People Are Buying Electric Cars in Bulk to Get Cheaper Prices
    Motherboard - March 5, 2018
    Online geek magazine Motherboard gives SWEEP kudos for advancing the idea of "group buys" for electric vehicles, thus lowering prices for consumers. "In 2016, US advocacy group Southwest Energy Efficiency Project noted EV sales doubled and even tripled in communities where group-buying programs existed. Earlier this year, Colorado said group-buys would be a major driver in attaining its ambitious goal of having 940,000 EVs by 2030."
  • Nevada accelerates efforts to widen electric transportation adoption
    Northern Nevada Business Weekly - March 2, 2018
    According to the Nevada Governor's Office of Energy (GOE), nearly 90 percent of the energy consumed in the state comes from imported fossil fuels. Accounting for nearly one-third of this energy consumption is transportation. The GOE and partnering agencies are charged - in more ways than one - to change this fact by navigating Nevada into an electric transportation transition. This story is based on presentations made at SWEEP's Northern Nevada Electric Transportation Forum in February 2018. Although it doesn't quote SWEEP directly, it does clearly explain the issues, challenges and clean energy potential of deploying more electric vehicles in the Silver State.
  • What’s driving a Tesla Model X like for a first-time electric vehicle user?
    Northern Nevada Business Weekly - March 2, 2018
    A magazine journalist got behind the wheel of an electric car at the SWEEP-sponsored electric vehicle forum in Reno, NV and discovered that the new vehicles are fun as well as clean. "I feel like I'm on a ride at Disneyland."
  • Clean energy advocates decry proposed electric, hybrid vehicle fees
    Deseret News - March 1, 2018
    Utah Clean Energy and other entities that include Rocky Mountain Power are harnessing their opposition to a transportation funding bill that includes significant registration fee increases for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. "While this bill includes important provisions to increase funding for mass transit, we’re very concerned that the Senate is moving forward with the third-highest fee for electric vehicles in the United States," said Kevin Emerson with Utah Clean Energy. "This fee will deter electric vehicle adoption in Utah."

February 2018

  • Electric Transportation Forum
    KTVN Ch. 2 News Reno, NV - February 22, 2018
    Check out the KTVN-Channel 2 news story about SWEEP's recent NV electric forum, including snowstorm interview with SWEEP's Will Toor, as well as a calmer but still outdoor discussion with state Sen. Patricia Spearman, who sponsored important energy efficiency legislation last year. The one-minute newscast also describes the value of the eight-state (including NV) agreement to create charging stations along 7,000 miles of interstate highways.
  • Colorado’s NREL — a workhorse in national solar, wind research — faces “devastating” cuts in Trump budget proposal
    Denver Post - February 1, 2018
    SWEEP's Howard Geller on Trump's proposal to slash DOE's funding: "Deep cuts in funding for DOE’s renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs would be devastating to NREL and would harm clean energy businesses throughout Colorado. We urge the Colorado congressional delegation to push back." https://www.denverpost.com/2018/01/31/donald-trump-energy-cuts-national-renewable-energy-laboratory/

January 2018

  • Governor Sets Bold Goals for Electric Vehicles
    Prowers Journal - January 28, 2018
    The newspaper in eastern Colorado describes Gov. Hickenlooper's plan to encourage the development and installation of electric vehicle charging stations. The story quotes SWEEP's Will Toor: "Governor Hickenlooper is taking a bold step forward by setting a target of nearly a million electric vehicles on the road by 2030. This would save consumers over half a billion dollars a year in fuel costs, would drive down electricity rates, saving utility customers $50 million per year, and would have a major impact on cleaner air and lower carbon emissions."
  • Few EVs in rural Colorado now, but with spark that may change; Expect to see fast-charging stations along highways in 2018
    Mountain Town News - January 23, 2018
    Colorado’s state government has been assisting in many local efforts to smooth and accelerate the transition to electrified transportation. Now, the state is expanding its effort to secondary highways, both federal and state. One-third is to be used for in-town locations but two-thirds is to go to highways. U.S. Highway 50 through Gunnison could be a potential recipient. Will Toor, transportation program manager for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, points out that Colorado has the 6th largest market share of EVs in the country.
  • Legislature begins the fight, again, over how to pay for transportation
    Durango Herald - January 23, 2018
    The Colorado Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday afternoon served up the official opening volley of another contentious fight over how to pay for transportation to keep up with Colorado’s growth. Mike Salisbury, a transportation expert for the Colorado-based Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, agreed local governments should get money and expanding broader forms of transportation is critical. Local roads, state highways, bike paths and transit services Coloradans are relying on have become increasing inadequate,” he said.
  • Sales Of Electric Cars Have Doubled In Colorado The cars are gaining popularity across the state.
    KCNC Channel 4 - January 5, 2018
    CBS affiliate in Denver, CO offers an in-depth explanation of why sales of electric vehicles have doubled in Colorado, and why emerging technologies may make such cars more affordable, longer-range and even more environmentally friendly.
  • Billions From VW Settlement Boost Push to Clean Vehicles
    Stateline - January 4, 2018
    Prestigious national policy publication explains that many states will use VW emission fraud settlement funds to encourage deployment of electric vehicles as a way to affordably improve their air quality. SWEEP's Will Toor is quoted.