The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently announced it will be launching the Electrification Futures Study, a research project aimed at identifying the potential impacts of “electrifying” all parts of the U.S. economy, including commercial and residential buildings, transportation and industry. The study will answer these questions:
1) What end-use electric technologies are available for the highest energy-consuming services today, and how might the technologies advance over time?
2) How might widespread electrification impact national and regional electricity demand and consumption patterns?
3) How would the U.S. electricity system need to transform to meet changes in demand from an electrified economy?
4) What role might demand-side flexibility play to support reliable operations of a clean electricity grid?
5) What are potential costs, benefits, and impacts of mass electrification?
Learn more here: https://www.nrel.gov/analysis/electrification-futures.html
Under the direction of the Trump Administration, federal housing authorities created new challenges for residential PACE (property assessed clean energy) financing, that has traditionally supported energy efficiency upgrades. PACE removes homeowners’ need to pay for energy efficiency investments up-front by enabling them to pay off these costs via an assessment tied to their property taxes. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently announced it would no longer insure mortgages for homes with PACE liens.
In 2017, President Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris climate accord. Despite this, many corporations took climate change matters into their own hands. As of early December 2017, 327 major corporations with combined earnings of $6.5 trillion, committed to matching emission reduction goals laid out in the Paris agreement. Another 864 companies have stated their intention to adopt these targets in the next two years.
California utilities have been directed to invest heavily in electric vehicle development as part of a statewide goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. Southern California Edison recently outlined four electric vehicle pilot programs that will help advance the use of electric vehicles with a focus on heavy-duty transportation uses.
State regulators in California recently directed utility company Pacific Gas & Electric to prioritize energy storage to meet peak electricity demand. Traditionally, utilities have relied on “peaker” power plants to meet demand, so this signals a significant shift in how electricity needs may be met in the future.
A report, issued by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy in response to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decisions to reduce vehicle performance standards, found that vehicle prices have remained flat during the past 15 years while efficiency standards have improved. The report debunks claims that rising standards impact vehicle cost.
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed three bills designed to upgrade Department of Energy research centers. The bills are an attempt to support research and development efforts, and the funds would support more than 30,000 researchers around the country.
New data from Lazard that compares the levelized cost of different electricity sources released in November 2017 is said to show that investing in energy efficiency is cheaper than investing in all other resources. The conclusion is that this supports the notion that continuing to make investments in energy efficiency appliances and weatherization of homes and businesses is wise.
At the Chicago-based North American Climate Summit in November 2017, a group of U.S. mayors touted the benefits of energy efficiency as a means to combat climate change and emphasized the importance of cities taking action. Mayors from more than 50 cities attended, including large and small municipalities.
The U.S. Department of Energy recently deferred taking action on more than 20 standards that would increase the efficiency of electric and gas appliances. According to the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy, this could jeopardize billions of dollars of savings for American homes and businesses.