This week I joined NEEP as the new Public Policy Manager. I don’t think many people can say they are passionate about energy efficiency, but I am. It started as a passion for regulatory law and environmental justice in law school and has evolved into a career in energy efficiency and finding the path to an equitable, decarbonized grid.
I come to NEEP from the Mid-Atlantic region, where I started my career in this field with the Energy Efficiency Alliance working in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In the past year, I watched both states take major steps in the transition to a carbon-free future.
New Jersey stood up its first statewide gas and electric energy efficiency utility programs, enacted under the state’s . The state used a robust stakeholder process with 15 stakeholder meetings and comments in the span of 10 months. Through this process, I was introduced to all aspects of energy efficiency – from program administration to the utility business model, workforce development, energy equity, and benefit-cost analysis. The process resulted in a new centered on a suite of utility core programs offered statewide. It is funded by a first-of-its-kind modified decoupling mechanism that seeks to remove the incentive to sell electricity while holding utilities accountable for lowering energy usage. And, most importantly, the project created a web of stakeholder groups to ensure robust public input and feedback as programs roll out.
Pennsylvania was quite a different story. Phase IV of the state’s electric energy efficiency law, Act 129, started despite attempts by industrial energy consumers to stop it. As the pandemic shuttered most energy efficiency work, advocates in Pennsylvania fought successfully in making sure the state keeps moving forward with energy efficiency priorities. Energy efficiency also popped up in a new way. Pennsylvania is in the process of entering the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), despite some tense moments in the legislature. Pennsylvania will be the first energy producing state to enter RGGI. As the fourth highest carbon emitter in the country, its auction proceeds will equal all states currently in RGGI. What does energy efficiency have to do with RGGI? Everything. All states that receive RGGI auction proceeds invest some portion of them in energy efficiency. Why? It lowers energy bills, creates jobs, and builds the pathway to a more equitable clean energy economy.
I am beyond excited to join NEEP as the Public Policy Manager and look forward to expanding my knowledge to new states and cities in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. Through this work, I hope to learn more about the larger-than-life successes of New York and Massachusetts, and help other states as they embark on the slightly complicated but important processes of decarbonizing their grid. Most of all, I look forward to working with the great team here at NEEP as we try to find the path to an equitable, clean energy future.