ACEEE 2014 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard Released; Indiana ranks 40th with 10.5 out of 50

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   October 22, 2014  /   Posted in Uncategorized  /   No Comments

 

NEWS RELEASE

 

For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Patrick Kiker

pkiker@aceee.org, 202.507.4043

Massachusetts Tops California as Most Energy-Efficient State, while Arkansas, D.C., Kentucky, and Wisconsin are Most Improved

 

Top 10 States are MA, CA, RI, OR, VT, CT, NY, WA, MD, and MN; 5 States Most in Need of Improvement are ND, WY, SD, MS, and AK

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 22, 2014):Governors and lawmakers in state capitals across the nation continue to take major steps to lower energy costs, reduce pollution, and save consumers money by increasing their states’ energy efficiency, according to the findings of the 8th edition of the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

 

Available online at http://aceee.org/state-policy/scorecard, the report found that in 2014 Massachusetts (#1) continues to edge out California (#2) as the most energy-efficient state in the nation for the fourth year in a row. Following these states in the top 10 are: Rhode Island (marking the state’s first time in top five), Oregon, and Vermont (all tied for #3); Connecticut (#6); New York (#7); Washington (#8); Maryland (#9); and Minnesota (#10).

 

Other key State Energy Efficiency Scorecard findings include the following:

  • Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, and Wisconsin are the four most improved energy-efficiency states for 2014. Arkansas pushed forward with strong utility programs. The state’s budgets for electric efficiency programs increased 30% between 2012 and 2013, while electricity savings more than tripled. The District of Columbia and Wisconsin also saw upticks in energy savings. Kentucky took notable steps to adopt a more efficient commercial building energy code.
  • From dead last and up, the five states most in need of improvement on energy efficiency in 2014 are North Dakota, Wyoming, South Dakota, Mississippi, and Alaska.
  • Overall, states are ramping up their commitments to energy efficiency. Savings from electricity efficiency programs in 2013 totaled approximately 24.4 million megawatt-hours (MWh),a 7 percent increase over 2011 savings reported last year by ACEEE. Gas savings for 2013 were reported at 276 million therms (MMTherms), a 19 percent increase over the 2011 savings reported in the previous ACEEE State Scorecard.
  • A total of 23 states fell in the energy efficiency rankings in 2014. Indiana dropped the furthest, by 13 spots, due inpart to state legislators’ decision to eliminate the state’s long-term energy savings goals. Legislators in Ohio made a similar decision to freeze and substantially weaken the state’s energy efficiency resource standard (EERS), contributing to the state’s fall of 7 spots down the rankings.  Despite these policy setbacks, utilities in both states have indicated they will continue running efficiency programs, albeit at levels below what would have been required by the standards.
  • ACEEE found that states that enforce and adequately fund an EERS drive investments in utility-sector energy efficiency programs. The states with the most aggressive savings targets include Arizona,Massachusetts,and Rhode Island.

Maggie Molina, Director of ACEEE’s Utilities, State, and Local Policy program, said: “More and more governors and state lawmakers understand that they have a choice: Do nothing as costly energy is wasted or take action by creating incentives to waste less energy. Smart energy efficiency choices maintain the same comfort, convenience, and quality of life that consumers want and expect. Energy efficiency is also good for business. State action on energy efficiency improves bottom lines, drives investment across all sectors of the economy, creates jobs, and offsets the environmental harms created by the energy production system.”

 

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said: “We have treated efficiency as our first fuel because saving energy, managing costs, and reducing environmental impacts while building a stronger cleantech economy helps fulfill our responsibility to future generations to leave a stronger Commonwealth than we found.”

 

JD Lowery, Director of the Arkansas Energy Office, a division of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, said: “Much of Arkansas’ improvement must be attributed to the ongoing leadership of our Arkansas Public Service Commissioners, our utility partners, and our citizens. Through innovative programs, both businesses and households in Arkansas have discovered the economic benefits of investing in energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is no longer this unknown thing. We’re creating jobs while saving Arkansans money. Everybody wins.”

 

Other key findings include the following:

  • Total budgets for electricity efficiency programs in 2013 reached $6.3 billion. Adding that to natural gas program budgets of $1.4 billion, total efficiency program budgets were estimated to be more than$7.7 billion in 2013.
  • The leading states in utility-sector energy efficiency programs and policies were Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Vermont.With long records of success, all three continued to raise the bar on cost-effective programs and policies. Both Massachusetts and Rhode Island earned maximum points in this category.
  • The leading state in building energy codes and compliance was California. Eleven states and the District of Columbia have officially adopted the latest standards for both residential and commercial buildings.
  • California and New York led the way in energy-efficient transportation policies. California’s requirements for reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have led it to identify several strategies for smart growth,while New York is one of the few states in the nation to have a concrete vehicle-miles-traveled reduction target.
  • Other states have also made recent progress in energy efficiency. Nevada scored additional points for its building codes and compliance measures. Delaware passed a significant energy efficiency bill in early July, laying the ground work for customer-funded energy efficiency programs. This policy shift did not result in an improved score this year, but it will likely garner additional points in future editions of the State Scorecard as programs are implemented and regulations are finalized.
  • The U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have taken steps to improve energy efficiency in new construction by adopting building energy codes, but have generally not made investments in efficiency in other sectors. This is the first year these territories have been included in the State Scorecard.

ACEEE State Policy Research Analyst Annie Gilleo, lead author of the 2014 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, said:  “The State Scorecard provides an annual benchmark of the progress of state energy efficiency policies and programs. It encourages states to continue strengthening their efficiency commitments in order to promote economic growth, secure environmental benefits, and increase their communities’ resilience in the face of the uncertain cost and supply of the energy resources on which they depend. The State Scorecard offers a toolkit that policymakers can use to increase energy savings in their state.”

 

METHODOLOGY

 

The State Energy Efficiency Scorecard benchmarks states across six policy areas – utility policies and programs, transportation initiatives, building energy codes, combined heat and power development, state government-led initiatives, and state-level appliance standards. In total, states are scored on more than 30 individual metrics. Data is collected from publicly available sources and vetted by state energy offices and public utility commissions.

 

 

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, visit http://aceee.org.

 

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IREC Report: Trends Shaping our Clean Energy Future

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   October 21, 2014  /   Posted in Uncategorized  /   No Comments

 

FOR RELEASE October 21, 2014Contact: Ruth Fein ruthw@irecusa.org  518.858.732 

Report: Trends Shaping our Clean Energy Future

Released by IREC 

 

(Las Vegas, NV) October 21, 2014 – Today’s release of Trends Shaping our Clean Energy Future, an annual report by The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) presents information and an independent perspective on the year’s renewable energy and energy efficiency progress and challenges across the U.S., and the activities, research, publications, expert insight and recommendations that are helping shape our clean energy future.

“The report offers a collection of new models, best practices and resources, across IREC’s broad work in the national and state regulatory arenas and as a leader in clean energy workforce development,” says IREC President and CEO Jane Weissman. “Unique to this report, IREC’s nationally respected experts present independent insight on the current issues that face stakeholders, as spectacular growth continues throughout the renewable energy and energy efficiency marketplace, including stories of some of the successes and challenges of 2014.”

In addition to delving into the latest trends, and the next challenges and solutions playing out in the most progressive states, the report also shares highlights from the many IREC publications that guide and shape regulatory and workforce development policies, including helping the nation’s colleges and training providers prepare a skilled, job-ready workforce.

“All of these points of action are linked and promote a responsive, safe and resilient clean energy economy,” says Weissman, “ultimately, enabling more consumers to safely, confidently and affordably benefit from clean energy.”

Some key topics in the report include:

  • How best practices are growing smart shared renewable programs, interconnection policies and  quality workforce development.
  • How strategies to efficiently inspect and permit residential solar rooftop systems are bridging regulatory and quality workforce training initiatives. A look at the field tested, proven tools IREC has developed with guidance from code officials and solar experts.
  • Even with a perfect balance of good products, profitable pricing and proactive policies, poor workmanship can crash a market in no time. A look at what’s being done to ensure consumer confidence.
  • In the presidential limelight in 2014, IREC’s work with the Solar Instructor Training Network included helping SITN member colleges and training programs integrate solar skills into existing education and training programs, one way to ensure long-term workforce stability.
  • Now filtering into state procedures are the precedents set by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s significant modifications to the federal Small Generator Interconnection Procedures late in 2013. These and other actions, and IREC’s outreach work in clean energy progressive and transitioning states, are shaping state and community conversations across the U.S.
  • Still a hot topic is IREC’s report Calculating the Benefits and Costs of Distributed Solar Generation, which presents standardized approaches and calculations for solar benefits and costs. IREC’s goal is to develop a consistent methodological framework that moves some of the headline debates into well-structured conclusions.
  • Nationally, there’s a vocal, cross-industry dialogue on competency-based training – on building a qualified workforce for tomorrow’s jobs. IREC is leading the clean energy sector with programs to accredit training providers and certify instructors for competency-based assessment of “learned” skills. This is among leading indicators that make recruitment, screening and hiring straightforward and result in less overtime, less downtime, fewer mistakes and callbacks.
  • IREC’s U.S. Solar Market Trends publication (July 2014 ) reports that residential photovoltaic capacity grew by 68 percent in 2013. This tremendous growth and other highlights from this report set the backdrop for the need for IREC’s work, state by state and nationally.
IREC’s Trends Shaping Our Clean Energy Future was released at Solar Power International this week in Las Vegas. The full report is available online at www.irecusa.org and in print or on USB flash drive by request.

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT HERE> IREC-Trends-Report-2014-10-15-14-L-1


About the Interstate Renewable Energy Council

IREC is a not-for-profit organization that believes clean energy is critical to achieving a sustainable and economically strong future. IREC works to expand consumer access to clean energy; generates information and objective analysis grounded in best practices and standards; and leads programs to build a quality clean energy workforce, including a unique credentialing program for training programs and instructors. Since 1982, IREC’s programs and policies have benefitted energy consumers, policymakers, utilities and the clean energy industry.

 

California Home Owner Association (HOA) Denies Solar Panels; Has your HOA denied your solar panels?

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   October 21, 2014  /   Posted in Uncategorized  /   No Comments

Marin Homeowner Denied Solar Panels Over Fear That Neighbors Might See Them

Click title above to view video. 

October 19, 2014 4:47 PM

KENTFIELD (CBS SF) — Betty Segars’ Kentfield home is barely visible from the street but it’s got a great view of the sun, so Betty thought it would be perfect spot for solar panels.

“I’ve got a perfect position for solar. My house faces southern exposure,” Segars said.

In eco-conscious Marin, solar panels are a popular thing, so Betty was shocked when she got a letter from the Kent Woodlands homeowners association denying her request. Segars says she has a county permit.

“They rejected me because the panel has a white back sheet.  And I said, back sheet?  I’ve never heard of this before, what are you talking about?”

The Architectural Committee says the panels must have a black back sheet. Betty’s preferred solar provider, Sun Run, doesn’t carry those.

One neighbor thinks he knows the real reason for the rejection.

“Control. They just like to have total control over the area,” Paul Cooper said.

When Betty pointed out that none of her neighbors can even see her roof she got what Betty calls a petty response.  “You can see the roof over there, can’t you? Obviously, you can see the roof-they’re going to be able to see your panels.”

Betty acknowledges that she can’t move forward without approval from the association, but that doesn’t mean she’s giving up on solar.

“I’m gonna keep knocking on their door. I’m gonna keep calling and sending letters and figuring out what my rights are.”

Segars says she’s already spent about $900 on the project and expects an appeal to cost another $1,500.

 

NYT Real Estate: When an Insurer Shuns Solar Panels

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   October 18, 2014  /   Posted in Uncategorized  /   No Comments

Has anyone else experienced this problem with an insurance carrier? Please let me know and tell me how you resolved the problem.

Laura.Arnold@IndianaDG.net or (317) 635-1701

From The New York Times

Ask Real Estate is a weekly column that answers questions from across the New York region. Submit yours to realestateqa@nytimes.com.

When an Insurer Shuns Solar Panels

Q. Four years ago I had solar panels installed on the roof of a building I own. I recently decided to look for a new insurance carrier to replace my existing coverage, hoping to get a lower rate. But when I requested a quote from a different carrier, I was rejected. The company said it would not insure the building because it has solar panels. The installation was done with all the necessary permits and inspections. I received federal, state and city subsidies. How can a company reject my application based on the solar panels? If I had known it could have been an issue, I might have reconsidered the installation.

Manhattan Valley, Manhattan

A. Solar installations on residential rooftops are hardly novel. There are about 1,373 residential arrays citywide, according to Sustainable CUNY, which promotes solar energy. A well-installed solar array, like the one you describe, should set even the most risk-averse insurer at ease. That said, who knows what makes an insurer tick? (After all, your current carrier does not seem to mind the panels on your roof.)

“To tell you the truth, it just sounds like they got one weird company,” said Bret Heilig, the founder of Fiveboro Solar, a solar installation company in the city. Mr. Heilig pointed out that his insurance company did not flinch when he installed a solar array on the roof of his own home.

Rooftop solar panels are “not an issue with very many insurance companies,” said Stuart Cohen, the founder of the City Building Owners Insurance Program, an insurance broker that specializes in small buildings. “There are some that won’t do it, but there are just as many that don’t care about it.”

Get back on that insurance-hunting horse and try to find an insurer who will embrace your green ways. Enlist an insurance broker who is familiar with the marketplace — perhaps one that specializes in small residential buildings. A broker should be able to offer you several quotes from competing insurance companies. This will not only ensure that you get adequate coverage for your property, but it also might help you fetch a lower price.

Ohio SB 310 (2014) Eliminated “in-state” requirement for renewable energy according to PUCO; Good or bad?

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   October 17, 2014  /   Posted in Uncategorized  /   No Comments

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Solar companies in Ohio have been delivered another blow.

Another blow to the solar industry as PUCO nixes in-state sourcing rule

Oct 16, 2014, 2:35pm EDT UPDATED: Oct 16, 2014, 3:04pm EDT
, Reporter-Columbus Business First

 

It’s official: Ohio power companies no longer have to get half of their renewable energy from in-state providers.

law signed in July made clear the state’s requirement that a 2008 law mandating alternative energy make up 25 percent of a utility’s power source by 2025 be frozen at current rates for two years. Half of that 25 percent must come from renewable sources like wind and solar.

But regulators were unclear if the 6.25 percent in-state renewable energy requirement would be wiped out by the bill.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has settled the matter: that provision will been eliminated completely. It’s another blow to an Ohio alternative energy industry that has been battered this year.

“Pure financial projects are on hold right now,” said Geoff Greenfield, president of Third Sun Solar in Athens.

The vague language of Senate Bill 310 meant the PUCO had to determine if the in-state requirement should be eliminated or pro-rated. Some commenters argued that legislators did not mean to eliminate the in-state requirement at all, but the PUCO rejected those arguments. Legislators like Sen. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, had argued that the requirement is unconstitutional.

By getting rid of the in-state requirement, renewable energy companies, especially in solar, must now compete to sell renewable energy credits with other states. It’s an issue of supply and demand: A solar company in a nearby state like Indiana, which doesn’t have mandatory renewable energy standards, can now more easily sell to Ohio power providers that need to buy solar credits to comply with the standards.

So now companies from Indiana and whereever else can flood the Ohio market with their offers and lower the prices. The in-state requirement was seen as a boon to Ohio renewable producers; it provided a safety net, preventing power companies from seeking solar credits from other states, even if the credits went for less.

Solar companies have pretty much stopped doing large business and nonprofit projects in Ohio since Senate Bill 310 was first bandied about anyway, Greenfield said. His company only does residential projects in Ohio now, and goes to other states for commercial projects.

The in-state requirement impacts solar more than wind. But wind industry sources say another law passed this year to move back turbines from property lines will have an even bigger impact on its operations in Ohio.

 

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