How Utilities Can Become Efficiency Innovators

With future federal clean energy policies in doubt, proactive clean energy policy will likely be left largely to states in the next few years. Fortunately, a New York policy proposal could show the way forward on energy efficiency for utilities.

Though energy efficiency is the most cost-effective clean energy resource in America, existing policies and programs still leave significant value on the table for residences and businesses. One major barrier to more large-scale energy efficiency has been traditional evaluation, measurement and verification (EM&V) of utility savings, which can be slow to adapt to new technology and often encourages utilities to focus disproportionately on easy-to-obtain, shallow savings.

The New York Public Service Commission, seeking innovative solutions in its Reforming the Energy Vision proceeding, instead opted for an outcome-oriented approach to measuring and incentivizing efficiency performance. An outcome-oriented metric would focus on the policy goal of reduced energy use overall, putting a smaller emphasis on the administratively intensive business of attributing savings to specific actions.

New York’s Clean Energy Advisory Council added detail to the commission direction when it released its Energy Efficiency Metrics and Targets Options Report on implementing the New York Commission’s orders last month. The report represents a radical departure from program-based efficiency regulation, and highlights both opportunities and implementation challenges.

Read more (Greentech Media)