NEEP was honored to participate in an important Restructuring Roundtable discussion last week on the state of energy efficiency in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Sue Coakley, NEEP’s Executive Director, presented at the event along with Massachusetts Commissioner of Energy Resources Mark Sylvia, Connecticut Energy Policy Advisor Jessie Stratton and Steve Rourke of ISO-New England. The impressive panel highlighted the tremendous progress the Northeast states have made on energy efficiency and put a spotlight on innovative policy and system planning approaches that will help the region continue to lead.
Sue anchored the panel presenting how the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states are raising the bar for energy efficiency savings as the rest of the country tries to mimic our success.
Sue began with a reminder of NEEP’s prediction in its 2004 Energy Efficiency Potential Study of negative electricity load growth as a result of robust energy efficiency programs. “When we compare our 2004 potential study with ISO New England’s recent electric energy forecast – it is exciting to see that the trend for the next ten years matches the opportunity that we saw ten years ago,” said Coakley, “The bottom line is that we can more than offset energy growth if we continue down the path we are on.”
The reason for success in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states is the leadership of policymakers that have embraced investments in energy efficiency, and complementary building and appliance efficiency policies, as a cornerstone of our energy policy. This was demonstrated by the other panelists, with the representatives from Massachusetts and Connecticut vying for the #1 spot in the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE)’s State Policy Scorecard. (Both states have released innovative energy efficiency proposals in the past few weeks which we will discuss in upcoming blog posts).
Yet, important work remains—Sue noted that “while we have met with notable success in the last few years, significant challenges lay ahead to ensure that we remain innovative and retain our potential to achieve all cost-effective efficiency.” Those include changing outdated regulatory frameworks that undervalue efficiency, and more fully committing to other policy tools such as building energy codes, appliance efficiency standards, and building energy disclosure with programs. ISO-New England’s new energy efficiency forecast and our new Regional Energy Efficiency Database (REED) will provide important new sources of data so that we can benchmark the progress of states across the region to achieve cost-effective energy savings.
All of us here at NEEP are excited to assist in the growth of energy efficiency and keep the region a national efficiency leader by advancing innovation and best practices with leading-edge policies, programs and strategies that deepen, broaden and accelerate energy efficiency on a regional-scale. We remain convinced that the type of discussion that occurred at the Roundtable will allow us to keep “inventing ways to be more efficient with energy,” as Sue stated.