The fox is definitely in charge of the hen house. Or maybe it's a wolf.
More than 50 organizations, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have developed a leadership group to launch an aggressive new national commitment to energy efficiency. The joint effort could substantially increase utility funding for energy efficiency and could save customers $200 to $300 billion on energy bills over the next 15 to 20 years.
In the face of rising energy demands and costs, larger utility investments in energy efficiency are an effective way to lower consumer energy bills, decrease demand for natural gas, improve the reliability and security of the nation's energy systems, and help protect the environment. However, there is a perception that a number of factors are limiting greater utility investment in energy efficiency. Accordingly, the leadership group will look at policies and programs that are delivering results around the country, develop a common understanding of what works, and develop and follow through on recommendations for action.
"Improving energy efficiency is not just a responsibility that falls to consumers, but the private sector and the government too," Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman said. "By working together and sharing the best information and efficiency technologies, all Americans will benefit from an increased energy supply, and hopefully, lower costs."
"Innovative efforts in energy efficiency are proving that environmental progress and economic development can, in fact, advance hand-in-hand," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "While meeting President Bush's call to conserve, EPA and our partners are working to address our nation's growing energy demand in a way that supports our goals for a clean environment, a healthy economy, and lower energy costs."
The leadership group is co-chaired by Diane Munns, member of the Iowa Utilities Board and president of the Natural Association Regulatory Utility Commissioners, and Jim Rogers, chairman and chief executive officer of Cinergy. In addition to the federal agencies, the group is made up of representatives from leading gas and electric utilities, state agencies, energy service providers, environmental/energy efficiency organizations, and energy consumers.
"Given the interrelationship between price, reliability and environmental impact of our energy resource decisions, I am honored to be part of this process which encourages regulators to take a fresh look at cost-effective energy efficiency resources as a means to provide necessary utility services to the customer today and in the future," said Munns.
"Like Cinergy, many utilities are looking to energy efficiency to balance high demand growth with corporate goals for reduced environmental impact and costs," said Rogers. "We are pleased to be part of this national leadership to advance the business case for energy efficiency."
Leadership group members include state utility commissioners from California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey and Washington; utility executives from American Electric Power, Austin Energy, Baltimore Gas and Electric, Bonneville Power Administration, Cinergy, Entergy, Exelon, New Jersey Natural Gas, New York Power Authority, Pacific Gas and Electric, PNM Resources, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Santee Cooper, Seattle City Light, Southern California Edison, Southern Company, and Xcel Energy; state agency representatives from California, Connecticut, Maine, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas; environmental/energy efficiency organizations such as the Alliance to Save Energy, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, and Natural Resources Defense Council; as well as representatives from ISO New England, PJM Interconnection, The Dow Chemical Company, Food Lion, Johnson Controls, Servidyne Systems, US Automobile Association Realty Company and Vermont Energy Investment Corporation. American Gas Association, American Public Power Association, Edison Electric Institute, National Association of Energy Service Companies, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, National Association of State Energy Officials, National Energy Assistance Directors' Organization, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and North American Insulation Manufacturers Association are serving as observers to the Leadership Group.
The first meeting of the Leadership Group is in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 2. For more information, visit: eeactionplan