The MEECA Maven:  News and updates on Michigan's energy efficiency industry. June 2014
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A New Era for Energy Efficiency 

Energy Optimization Programs Become Reduction Programs 


June saw the beginning of a new era for energy efficiency – a paradigm shift that bodes well for Michigan’s energy efficiency contractors.  It’s a shift from looking at energy efficiency programs as tools to achieve state imposed savings goals to an energy resource utility companies can use to comply with federal regulations.
 
Dubbed the Clean Power Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released proposed new language to the Clean Air Act (CAA).  The EPA proposes section 111(d) of the CAA, which grants the EPA authority to issue guidelines and proposals for rulemaking to reduce emissions from existing coal-powered power plants.
 
The EPA sets-out four ‘Building Blocks’ as a means of compliance:
 

  1. Improve reduction of existing electrical power plant emissions
  2. Dispatch more energy from natural gas powered power plants
  3. Leverage low/no carbon emission technologies

          4.Utilize demand side reduction energy efficiency programs
 
This means that a utility company has to consider the best resource mix in their portfolio to provide their customers power AND comply with section 111(d) carbon reduction requirements.  They will choose resource options that are the most financially beneficial.  Energy efficiency is the cheapest energy resource available. Energy efficiency programs will evolve from savings programs to reduction programs. 
 
Currently, these rules are in the public comment period and not expected to be finalized until mid-2015.  Utilities will be required to submit their compliance plans by the end of 2016.  Compliance will be expected by 2017. 
 
Click here for full text of proposed rule (over 600 pages).
 
Click here for summary of rule drafted by Bridget Sobek, Michigan Senate Majority Policy Office (10 pages).

Click here to submit a comment to the EPA.


Sincerely,

  
Brindley Byrd
Executive Director
brindley@meeca.info 
517-203-9180

Recommendations to Expand Michigan’s EO Programs

MEECA Pushes for Higher Goals and the Resources to Achieve Them


The Senate Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Workgroup (EEREW) met twice in June.  Both meetings were held in Lansing and attended by representatives from all 33 organizations invited to participate.
 
The first meeting on June 3rd consisted mainly of introductions with little substantive discussion taking place.  All but four of the EEREW members were part of the workgroup that drafted P. A. 295 back in 2008.  MEECA, the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum, the Michigan Christian Coalition and the Michigan Agri-Business Association are the new kids on the block all bringing fresh ideas to the table. 
 
Between the two meetings, MEECA began framing recommendations we wanted to present for consideration to the workgroup.  Brindley Byrd, Executive Director of MEECA poured over recommendations being drafted for submittal from other members of the EEREW.  The MEECA board collectively and individually with Brindley discussed what our recommendations would be.  We knew holding back was not living up to our Core Purpose.  We also knew that if an issue or idea was really important to us we had better throw it out there rather than try and bring it into the conversation later.  So, at the June 24 meeting MEECA submitted a document containing six main recommendations.  Brindley was invited by Senator Nofs to briefly present our recommendations to the workgroup.
 
MEECA Recommendations:
 
  1. Set 10-year total savings goals at 14% for electric and 9.5% for gas. 
  2. Extend program period from 1 to 3 years.
  3. Eliminate the utility spending cap imposed on energy efficiency.
  4. Establish an energy efficiency workforce training funding program.
  5. Create a two-tiered utility incentive model, one for achieving annual savings goals and a higher incentive for over achieving.  Additionally, incent utilities to deploy programs that run for the entire program period and reduce contractor paperwork.
  6. Include life-cycle savings in savings calculations. 
     
Click here to see MEECA recommendations.
 
Many of these recommendations had been echoed by others on the EEREW.  The surprising thing was the people making some of them.  Senator Nofs was the first to talk about lifting the spending cap.  Brandon Hoefmeister, representing Consumers Energy was receptive to the idea of eliminating the spending cap.  Irene Demitri, Vice President of Marketing and Renewables for DTE Energy spoke urgently about ensuring flexibility in state legislation to comply with federal legislation, i.e. EPA’s section 111(d). 
 
All in all the second EEREW meeting was rather productive.  Certainly, no one is doing a victory dance.  However, the tone of the discussions where rather supportive of Michigan’s energy efficiency industry.
 
With continued input and support from MEECA members and other energy efficiency stakeholders, MEECA looks to continue being the voice of energy efficeincy contractors throughout the entire Senate Energy Efficiency  & Renewable Energy Workgroup process.
 
Please provide any feedback on how you would like to see Michigan's utility based energy efficiency programs ASAP!!  The next meeting of the workgroup Tuesday, July 10th.  

Contact Brindley Byrd at brindley@meeca.info or (517) 203-9180

Michigan House Passes HB5397, On-Bill Financing 

Bringing Clarity to the Home Performance Industry


In the the last-minute rush to end session before summer break, the Michigan House of Representatives still found brain-power to overwhelmingly pass HB5397 – The Municipal Utility Residential Clean Energy Program Act with a vote of 108 – 2!  Never before has the Michigan legislature passed an energy related bill with such bi-partisan support.
 
Represententive Joe Haveman (R – 90th District) in Holland, MI is the sponsor of this legislation requested by the City of Holland as they begin to implement their Community Energy Plan.  This bill alllows for municple owned electric utililities to create a mechanism to pay for energy efficiency upgrades that is repaid via the electric bill with the debt being attached to the meter/property rather than the occupant. 
 
MEECA was instrumental in getting the bill passed out of the House Energy & Technology Committee (19 – 0) with our addition of a definition for a Home Energy Audit.  We look to keep advocating for this legislation through the Senate and then all the way to being signed by the Governor later this fall. 
 
Such support is a very positive signal for energy efficiency as revisions to Public Act 295 are being drafted with a new bill hopefully introduced after the November elections. 

MEECA Member Meet & Greet

Second Networking Event is Set for August

 
Michigan is currently debating what our future energy policy will be.  P.A. 295 is set for reevaluation in 2015.  Until now, energy efficiency contractors have not had a voice in those discussions.
 
The Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association (MEECA) was created to be that voice.
 
Join MEECA members and its board of directors for a chance to discuss Michigan's energy policy and other activities MEECA has been working on.
 
Light appetizers and Michigan beer provided.  
 
Meeting Details:

Date:        Tuesday, August, 2014
Time:        5:30pm – 7:30pm
Location:  Pure Eco Environmental Solutions
                1397 Piedmont Dr  
                Troy MI
 

The event is free.
 (Contributions certainly accepted!)


 
 

To join MEECA please complete our Membership Application.

For more information please contact Brindley Byrd at 517-203-9180  or brindley@meeca.info.
 
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