November 2017 Newsletter

Welcome to the newsletter of the Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association (MEECA), the voice for Michigan's energy efficiency contractors.

Spotlight: Energy Efficiency as a Resource (EER)

This month we feature the growing prominence of energy efficiency as a utility system resource. Treating efficiency as a resource and integrating it into utility investment decisions is especially critical given its distinct cost advantage. Customer EE programs deliver energy savings at a fraction of the cost of building new generation. These programs can also offset the need to install or upgrade transmission and distribution equipment, improve system reliability, and reduce peak demand. Moreover, the direct benefits to the economy—stronger efficiency programs lead to more activity by a variety of EE professionals and suppliers—are significant.

EER in Michigan

State law now requires rate-regulated electric utilities to submit integrated resource plans to the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) for review and approval. On November 21, the MPSC approved the Michigan Integrated Resource Planning Parameters (MIRPP), to be used by Michigan utilities filing these plans. The document specifies three modeling scenarios to evaluate in support of proposed utility investments are specified. For each scenario, annual energy savings of least 2.5% of prior year sales must be examined as part of the analysis. (By comparison, current law requires regulated utilities to achieve 1.0% annual savings, with incentives for achieving up to 1.5%.)

Earlier this year, MEECA testified at a public hearing and submitted written comments to MPSC on why energy efficiency should be prioritized in Michigan’s IRP process. The new MIRPP is largely consistent with our comments.

National EER Conference

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently convened its ninth biennial conference on energy efficiency as a utility system resource. Once again, the affordability and system benefits of efficiency programs were underscored. To view many of the presentations by more than 90 professionals in the field, visit the conference website.

Energy Efficiency in the News

New Report on How to Talk about Home Energy Upgrades

How can home energy assessments lead to more energy efficiency upgrades? Using a behavioral science approach to answer this question, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) conducted an online experiment with nearly 2,000 American homeowners and explored the latest research on motivators and barriers to investment. They learned that financial motivators are part of the equation, but not the only part. The report delves into the art of message framing for home energy upgrades. See the ACEEE website for more information.

ACEEE Amps Up Storytelling about EE Workforce

A goal of MEECA is to raise the profile of the EE industry with policymakers through better storytelling about the activities of our members. In its new multimedia project, People Who Save Energy, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) highlights the diverse and growing EE workforce in the United States across industries and technologies. They tell the stories of some of these workers, who describe how energy efficiency changed their lives and those around them. Check out ACEEE's project here.

"Faces of EE" Initiative Takes Off

As E4TheFuture puts it, “70 percent of EE workers are in businesses with just 10 employees or fewer. How will we combine voices for maximum impact?” A blog post by Pat Stanton describes a project to highlight EE professionals across the nation. “It can be tough to get the ear of a policymaker,” she writes. One of the best ways is by sharing stories of how their work can affect real people. Our Faces of EE initiative collects photos and testimonials of energy efficiency workers across the U.S.” To learn more about the initiative, visit the Faces of EE website. For details about how individuals can participate, see the project’s “Count Me In” page.

MSU Extension: Implementing Energy Conservation Measures Saves Money

There are six primary fish hatcheries in Michigan that support Fishing, the third largest tourism sector in Michigan. These facilities are heavy users of electricity. Recently three of them—Harrietta State Fish Hatchery, Platte River Fish Hatchery, and Wolf Lake State Hatchery—completed energy audits by a certified agricultural energy auditor and invested in measures to reduce their energy footprints. Read more about these projects and the resulting benefits at the MSU Extension website.

Public Facilities in Michigan Continue to Benefit from Energy Savings

Midwest Energy News reports that, “Michigan officials have recognized six public entities for making $39.5 million in cumulative energy efficiency investments that will save nearly $2.1 million a year in energy costs. The projects by local units of government, public schools and colleges may not have otherwise happened without performance contracting, which allows public entities often short on capital to pay for multi-million dollar clean energy projects.” Read the full story here.

Public Policy Update

Federal Tax Reform Legislation

Earlier this month the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of tax reform on a party-line vote. The Senate has moved its bill out of committee onto the floor for debate. At this point the proposals are quite different and will require negotiation before they can be reconciled into a single bill. For an overview of various energy-related provisions, see the Bipartisan Policy Center’s analysis.

Ongoing Implementation of Michigan Energy Laws

A website from the Michigan Public Service Commission provides details on updates related to recently adopted state energy laws. To learn more, or to sign up for notifications, visit the official website: www.michigan.gov/energylegislation

Renewing Members

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Upcoming Events

2018 ASHRAE Winter Conference & AHR Expo. January 20-24, 2018 in Chicago.

The 2018 Expo will host more than 2,000 exhibitors and 65,000 industry professionals.

Powering Michigan Agriculture Webinar Series:

  • Blackstar Farms featured on January 25, 2018
  • Miller Family Farm featured on February 1, 2018
  • Grand Valley Farm featured on February 8, 2018

2018 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference. February 7-9, 2018 at Chicago Hilton & Towers.

With more than 650 attendees, MES is the region's largest energy efficiency event and an unparalleled networking opportunity. MES is about celebrating accomplishments in energy efficiency, as well as laying out the efficiency program and policy landscape for the coming year.

MEECA Annual Gala. Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing, MI.

MEECA Summer Golf Outing. Wednesday, July 18, 2018 at Hawk Hollow Championship Course in Bath, MI.