Contact: Chelsea Harnish
Richmond, Virginia – Today the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee reported SB 966, sponsored by Senators Frank Wagner and Richard Saslaw, by a vote of 10:4 to the full Senate Chamber.
The bill often referred to as the Dominion Rate Freeze Repeal bill, includes important funding and programmatic provisions that favor energy efficiency.
The following is a statement by Chelsea Harnish, Executive Director of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC):
“Throughout the process, VAEEC has advocated that any portion of over-earnings that the utilities are allowed to keep should be used to fund energy efficiency programs. We applaud the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee for passing legislation that provides significant energy efficiency gains for Virginia consumers.
“Energy efficiency is one of the easiest, most direct ways to help a vast number of customers lower their electricity bills this year and for years to come.
“Whenever Virginia takes a step to advance energy efficiency, ratepayers win with lower monthly energy costs. Businesses win with lower operating costs. Companies and the economy win with more jobs and economic activity. And we all win with cleaner air and protecting natural resources.
“While other aspects of this legislation have stirred controversy, support for Virginia to do more on the energy efficiency front has been strong and unwavering. Passage of this legislation underscores the widespread, bipartisan agreement that energy efficiency is a smart investment for the Commonwealth and for consumers.
VAEEC specifically applauds the following components of the bill:
- States that a utility energy efficiency program is in the public interest if it passes three of four cost-benefit tests, effectively removing the burdensome hurdle of the “RIM Test”
- Provides for the development of an independent stakeholder process to receive input on energy efficiency program design and implementation
- Commits Dominion Energy to spending $1B in energy efficiency spending over 10 years. This includes $870M in regulated programs (at least 5% of which will be for low-income households) and $6M/year for Energy Share Weatherization, doubling the current level, which will be funded entirely by shareholders.
- Commits Appalachian Power Company to spending $140 million over 10 years for energy efficiency programs for their customers
Just last fall the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranked Virginia 29th on the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, but named us one of a handful of ‘Most Improved States.’ In doing so, it said the following: ‘However the state has significant room to strengthen efficiency programs and policies in the utility sector…. Virginia could also work to streamline the process by which utilities evaluate, measure, and verify energy savings which may help utilities to develop efficiency programs with more comprehensive measures. To keep costs low for all Virginia consumers, utilities could design programs that better meet the needs of large customers.’”
The Virginia Energy Efficiency Council is the voice for the energy efficiency industry in the Commonwealth. Our members include Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, universities, nonprofits, local governments, state agencies, utilities, and individuals. The Council’s goal is to ensure energy efficiency is recognized as an integral part of Virginia’s economy and clean energy future. As a 501c3 organization based in Richmond, the VAEEC provides a platform for stakeholder engagement while assessing and supporting programs, innovation, best practices, and policies that advance energy efficiency in Virginia. Together we are creating, implementing, and sharing energy efficiency solutions that keep costs down for residents and businesses, while improving the quality of life in our work and home environments. Our May 2017 report, “Why Energy Efficiency is a Smart Investment for Virginia”, found that energy efficiency is a $1.5B industry in Virginia that supports 75,000 jobs. www.vaeec.org @SmartEnergyVA
The steep spending cuts that President Trump will soon call for from federal agencies would fall particularly heavily on the Energy Department unless the Trump budget team unexpectedly warms up to the Obama administration’s clean energy, energy efficiency, and smart grid technology programs, budget experts say.
White House officials said last month that the president will ask Congress to add $54 billion to discretionary Department of Defense spending in the 2018 fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The new budget goals will be released in the middle of this month, White House spokesman Sean Spicer reiterated yesterday, which circles next week on the calendar.
To keep the budget in balance, that increase for defense would require a matching $54 billion cut in civilian agencies’ discretionary spending, just over 10 percent of the ceiling for these programs set by the Budget Control Act, under which the federal government is operating.
Read more (E&E News)
Did you blink? If so, you might have just missed a major piece of news this week.
We’re just seven days into the Trump presidency and a major shift in U.S. energy policy is already underway. It’s been such a whirlwind of a week that it’s been tough to keep track of all the developments.
In this recurring series, GTM tracks the latest energy and climate policy changes under the new administration to help you stay up to date. Several of Trump’s cabinet nominees have also weighed in on climate and energy policies in recent days. So in this edition we also chronicle the highlights from last week’s confirmation hearings.
An America First Energy Plan
Minutes after Trump took office, the White House archived President Obama’s policy pages and posted new ones, including “An America First Energy Plan.” The plan commits to embracing the oil and shale gas revolution, reviving America’s coal industry and promoting energy independence, but makes no mention of renewable energy. Trump’s plan also commits to ending “unnecessary policies,” such as President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. Eliminating such regulations will increase American workers’ wages by more than $30 billion over the next seven years, according to the new White House webpage.
Trump lists infrastructure priorities, including in wind, solar and energy storage
The Trump administration has drawn up an infrastructure investment priority list with about 50 projects nationwide, totaling at least $137.5 billion, McClatchy and the Kansas City Star reported this week. The preliminary list of vetted projects created by the White House matches a list of projects developed by the National Governors Association.
Read more (Green Tech Media)
Governor Terry McAuliffe unveiled his update to the 2014 Energy Plan at a ribbon cutting for a new solar installation at Monticello High School in Albemarle County. The update, titled “Energy in the New Virginia Economy,” highlights the significant progress the McAuliffe administration has made on his strategic energy priorities to build a new Virginia economy. The event showcased the installation of solar energy generating systems at six Albemarle County public schools, totaling more than 1 megawatt of solar energy.
“Today’s installation is the perfect venue to formally unveil an update on the progress we are making toward making Virginia a leader in the global energy economy,” said Governor McAuliffe, speaking at today’s announcement. “The clean energy sector has been a central part of our efforts to build a new Virginia economy and that effort has paid off as revenue in the sector has grown four-fold to $2 billion. The Albemarle County Public Schools project embodies the countless benefits of growing the clean industry such as lower energy bills and carbon emissions, more education for our students, and economic activity for our local businesses.”
“To grow the new Virginia economy, we must take an all of the above approach to energy policy,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “While we have attracted $500 million in capital investment in the clean energy industry, we must also ensure that Virginia consumers and businesses have access to affordable, reliable and diverse energy resources. The Governor’s energy plan update lays out how the administration’s success is driving Virginia’s energy economy forward.”
Read More (Augusta Free Press)
May 29, 2014
Clean Air Act 111(d)
Presentation at May 2014 VAEEC meeting by Kara Saul Rinaldi, Vice President, National Home Performance Council.