Thursday, June 04, 2009

Progress on Energy in the General Assembly

While open government and the budget dominate the headlines coming out of Legislative Hall, two important energy bills moved forward yesterday. Senate Bill 59 with Senate Amendment 3 and Senate Bill 85 with Senate Amendment 1 were both released from the House Energy Committee.
SB 59 would establish new standards for home energy efficiency, which is one of the most cost effective ways to reduce carbon emissions available to us. The most authoritative studies, including those by McKinsey & Company, agree that increasing home energy conservation will not cost money, but will save money. The now famous McKinsey abatement cost curve shows home energy efficiency techniques at the far left end of the chart, with net savings far greater than adopting hybrid vehicles or most forms of renewable energy including wind and solar:
The Building Codes Assistance Project (http://www.bcap-energy.org/) estimates that the energy efficiencies from adoption of the bill would amount to no more than $337 per home—a modest amount that will quickly be recovered through energy savings. Any homeowner who has struggled with the cost of heating in the winter or cooling in the summer can easily appreciate the lasting value of improved energy efficiency.
SB 85 would institute net metering for electric utility customers with wind or solar installations by eliminating forfeitures of excess electric generation. Customers would be able to retain excess generation or request payments. It has been compared to allowing customers to accumulate rollover minutes on their cell phones without having to forfeit them at the end of a billing year.

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