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MEEA Releases Midwest EE Policy and Program Resource Guide

The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance releases new resource guide for policymakers on proven policy and program successes from across the region. With $1.7 billion expected to be spent on Energy Efficiency in the Midwest by 2015, energy efficiency investment has grown exponentially in the last ten years. While only $200 million was spent on energy efficiency in 2004, in 2012 that has increased to an estimated $1.2 billion. MEEAs new guide details policies and programs currently in place that will guide the more efficient use of electricity and natural gas.

Since 2002, more than $6.4 billion has been invested in energy efficiency across the Midwest. The Midwest Energy Efficiency Resource Guide was developed to give regulators and policymakers a comprehensive report on how this ratepayer money has been invested. MEEA released this report to the Mid-America Regulatory Conference at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD, on November 12, 2012. The Energy Efficiency Policies, Programs, and Practices in the Midwest: A Resource Guide for Policymakers, funded in part by the Joyce Foundation, highlights many of the state and local energy efficiency policies, regulations and programs from across the region and is intended to be a resource for legislators, regulators, advocates and other stakeholders active in the energy efficiency space.

While the Midwest includes metropolitan areas, small towns and rural communities, it also has many commonalities across jurisdictions, including climate zone, building stock, and generally lower energy prices. As such, this guide provides policymakers, utilities, and other entities with policies, programs, and practices that have been adopted elsewhere in the Midwest.

These policies, programs, and practices include the following:

  • Actions by states and local governments to reduce their own energy consumption, as well as promote and recognize energy efficiency efforts by their residents and businesses;
  • Synopsis of energy efficiency policies that encourage or require ratepayer funded efficiency programs operated by utilities or other organizations;
  • Policies that allow utilities to recover the costs of energy efficiency programs, recover any lost revenue due to lower energy sales, and provide an incentive for utility investments in energy efficiency;
  • Adoption of building energy codes that reduce energy consumption in new residential and commercial buildings;
  • Benchmarking of public and private buildings, and providing building owners with the tools necessary to reduce energy usage by their tenants;
  • Policies and programs targeting the industrial and manufacturing sectors of the economy; and
  • Programs aimed at assisting customers finance energy efficiency improvements to their homes and businesses.

According to Jay Wrobel, MEEA’s Executive Director, “this energy efficiency resource guide is intended to provide a snapshot of energy efficiency policies and programs across the region as well as to identify the examples that could be adopted by policymakers wanting to promote energy efficiency practices in their jurisdiction.”  MEEA recognizes that not every policy addressed in the guide is appropriate for every jurisdiction. However, MEEA hopes that this guide will provide “policymakers in every state or locality a wide array of energy efficiency policies and decide which are most appropriate for their jurisdiction and residents.”

This guide will be a “living document” housed on MEEA’s website at www.mwalliance.org/policyguide and as changes to policies are made or new programs adopted, these changes will be reflected on the site. In addition, MEEA’s website provides links to many of the policies and programs that are references in the report.