Tom Plant

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20 Ways to Boost Energy Efficiency - With or Without Mandates

Posted by Tom Plant on Aug 25, 2016 11:51:27 AM


CNEE-Beyond-EERS.pngThis is a guest post by the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University.

As Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS) approach their target dates and are in need of renewal or replacement, many states are looking for ways to provide market certainty for energy efficiency in a way that would complement an energy efficiency mandate but do not necessarily require one to be in place. With the maturation of the energy efficiency industry driven over the last decade by EERS policies, there are many policy options for states to consider that will reduce barriers, provide financing, and expand the productivity of utility systems across the spectrum. In a new paper prepared for the Advanced Energy Economy Institute (AEE Institute), the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University (CNEE) examines a suite of policies and programs to expand and grow the marketplace for energy efficiency. With 20 in all, state leaders have a lot of energy efficiency policies to choose from.

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Topics: State Policy

Water, the West, and the Clean Power Plan

Posted by Tom Plant on May 28, 2015 12:07:38 PM


This photo of the Hoover Dam intake towers was taken by Raquel Baranow in 2014. Water elevation on that day at noon: 1086.39 ft.

As the saying goes, in the West, the whiskey’s for drinking and the water’s for fighting. While much of the attention related to EPA’s Clean Power Plan is focused, appropriately, on the emissions and economic benefits of the new standards, a report just released by the CNA Corporation identified another benefit that may end up being worth more than all the other impacts combined: water.

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Topics: EPA GHG Regs

In Minnesota, Xcel Energy Proposes Performance-Based Rates, But With a Catch or Two

Posted by Tom Plant on Mar 26, 2015 11:15:00 AM


In Minnesota, the state’s leading utility is pushing legislation that would create performance-based rates. This would adjust the utility’s revenue model to align with the state’s energy policy objectives, protecting the utility’s business interests while giving customers the benefits of a more efficient, cleaner, and more distributed electricity system utilizing advanced energy. The proposal puts Xcel out ahead of regulatory reform efforts in Minnesota – some say too far ahead.

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Topics: State Policy

AC/DC: In the New Current Wars, Will Edison Win Out After All?

Posted by Tom Plant on Jan 29, 2015 2:38:00 PM


In the late 1800s, as the United States embarked on a public effort to electrify the country, the “War of Currents” pitted Alternating Current (AC) power against Direct Current (DC) power. On one side was Thomas Edison, an advocate of DC power.  On the other side was George Westinghouse, who had acquired the patents for AC power held by Nikola Tesla. In the end, the capability of AC power to run at high voltage from large central generating stations over long distances with relatively inexpensive transformers to “step down” and “step up” the voltage made AC the victor, setting the industry standard. As the electric power sector modernizes, however, two substantial changes could signal a return to the war of currents.

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YEAR IN REVIEW: Top Trends in State Energy Legislation

Posted by Tom Plant on Dec 17, 2014 5:24:00 PM

This has been a bit of a roller-coaster year for advanced energy in state legislation, with high profile rollbacks in Ohio and Indiana, but big steps forward in Minnesota and Connecticut. South Carolina became the latest state to adopt a renewable energy goal, setting the stage for solar growth there. New financial incentives for advanced energy investments were passed in a host of states. And more states started to look at ways for electric and natural gas vehicles to contribute to road and highway maintenance, as they are not subject to gasoline taxes.


Note: some links in this post reference documents in BillBoard, an application in AEE's new energy policy software platform, PowerSuite. Click here and sign up for a free 14-day trial of PowerSuite.

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Topics: State Policy, Year in Review



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