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Report details growth of state energy efficiency standards


From the August 8, 2017 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published August 7, 2017

By Paul Ciampoli
News Director

As of July 2017, thirty states and the District of Columbia have adopted energy efficiency policies, either mandated requirements, voluntary goals, or pilot programs, the Energy Information Administration reported on Aug. 3.

Seven states have either created new or updated existing energy efficiency standards within the past year, EIA said in a “Today in Energy” report.

EIA noted that since Texas became the first state with an energy efficiency resource standard, or EERS in 1999, 24 states have adopted an EERS. Four states have set voluntary goals, and two states established energy efficiency pilot programs.

In August 2016, New Hampshire became the latest state to adopt an EERS, with a cumulative savings target of 3.1% of 2014 delivered electricity by 2020.

An EERS uses either financial incentives or non-performance penalties to encourage energy efficiency and reduce electricity sales and, usually, EERS targets increase over time, EIA said.

“Efficiency targets may be set as reductions from retail electricity sales in a base year or the average of prior years, as a cumulative reduction over a compliance period, or as a percent of a long-term forecasted consumption amount. An EERS may specify reductions for energy use, peak electricity demand, or both,” EIA noted. “Some newer policies include traditional customer-incentive programs such as lighting or cooling equipment rebates as well as utility-sponsored measures that make the electricity distribution system more efficient.”

Retail electricity sales in states with efficiency mandates

According to the report, retail electricity sales in the states that have efficiency mandates accounted for 55% of total U.S. retail electricity sales in 2016. “This percentage represents the upper bound of electricity sales directly affected by EERS,” EIA said.

In 11 states, the EERS policy covers all retail electricity sales in the state, while in others the EERS includes a subset of the state’s electricity sales; “for instance, only sales by investor-owned utilities or a combination of IOUs, public power utilities and cooperatives.”

Taking into account the electricity sales that are not directly affected, EERS-covered electricity retail sales in 2016 were close to 45% of total U.S. retail electricity sales, based on EIA sales data and information from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the report went on to say.

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