Vermont’s position as a national leader on energy efficiency policy and results is getting noticed in the halls of Congress. At a hearing of the Energy Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources chaired by Senator Al Franken, ACEEE Executive Director Steve Nadel took part in a panel discussion on lessons learned from state efficiency and renewable programs.
In his prepared remarks, Steve cited successful approaches in a number of states, starting with Efficiency Vermont, the statewide “energy efficiency utility” VEIC has operated since the year 2000:
“Vermont is a leader in utility-sector energy efficiency programs. They have established an energy efficiency utility called Efficiency Vermont which operates energy efficiency programs in most of the state. Over the past decade, Efficiency Vermont’s programs have reduced electricity use by about 12%, a figure that is increasing by about 2% each year. In 2012, according to an Efficiency Vermont estimate that has been verified by the state regulator, the programs provided the state’s consumers and businesses with net economic benefits of $102 million. An independent study estimated a net gain of about 1,900 job-years from 2012 investments plus spending of the money saved as a result of efficiency measures installed in 2012. Energy efficiency creates jobs because designing and installing efficiency measures is generally more labor-intensive than building and operating new power plants.”
Later in his testimony, Steve noted the innovative approach that Efficiency Vermont has taken to fund energy efficiency services for the unregulated fuels (e.g., heating oil, propane, and wood) sector. A substantial portion of funding for that effort comes from Forward Capacity Market (FCM) revenue that VEIC, in its capacity as the Efficiency Vermont operator, collects from ISO-New England by bidding in energy efficiency as a capacity resource. In fact, with the upcoming retirement of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, energy efficiency will represent Vermont’s single largest resource being bid in to the FCM.
As Steve’s testimony notes, consistent, long-term investment in cost-effective energy efficiency not only adds up to a substantial portion of the energy portfolio, it also delivers significant economic and job creation benefits.