Quick Energy Efficiency News…Go Maryland!…Dishwasher Dispute…Appliance Standards Success…NY REV Already Animates Markets

July 21, 2015
In this week’s quick energy efficiency news…Maryland goes for big utility energy saving target…Trade group disputes dishwasher standards…Best way to create appliance standards… Examples of NY REV animating markets.

Here is our quick energy efficiency news for July 21…

Maryland regulators last week instituted one of the most aggressive energy efficiency targets in the country, a requirement that electric utilties save two percent of retail sales per year in perpetuity.

Issued July 16 by the Public Service Commission, the ruling extends Maryland’s EmPOWER Maryland program, which had set energy efficiency targets through 2015.

“The state of Maryland has just taken a huge step in showing that action on air pollution and climate change can go hand in hand with consumer savings,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “The PSC deserves praise for hearing the public’s voice that efficiency is a win-win. We now hope other states will follow suit at this same high level.”

In terms of future targets, Maryland’s new goals are among the top five in the country. Only two other states — Rhode Island and Massachusetts — achieved savings greater than two percent last year, according to the organization. In contrast, Maryland’s gross savings equaled 1.3 percent of retail sales in 2013.

The rules are expected to reduce energy use by 1.2 million MWh/year — the closing a 460 MW coal-fired plant every two years, according to the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

As part of the same decision, the Public Service Commission also ordered that natural gas companies set consumption reduction goals, a first in the state.

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Energy efficiency light bulbs, the sequel? Now dishwasher appliance standards, proposed by the Department of Energy, are coming under attack.

A news release  by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers said that the energy and water efficiency proposal will make dishwashers so unacceptable to consumers it will turn back the clock to the days of hand-washing dishes. Scheduled to become effective  January 2019, the standards would require  dishwashers to cut energy use by 24 percent and water use by 38 percent, AHAM says, leaving just 3.1 gallons of water to clean a load of dishes in a normal wash cycle.

“Standards work best when they are developed through consensus.  Unlike the three prior dishwasher standards, the latest proposed energy and water levels were published before manufacturers were consulted. Our testing shows that the impact on dishwasher performance would be disastrous,” noted Joseph M. McGuire, president of AHAM.

It’s hard to say if the proposed dishwasher standards will generate the controvery of the CFL. But it is ominous that RT.com posted the story under the headline: “Hands off my dishwasher Obama!”

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Meanwhile, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) had some good things to say about appliance standards this week and the use of a consensus approach to establish them.

EIA’s Today in Energy reported that standards proposed last month for commercial heating and cooling could save about 15 quadrillion Btu over 30 years.

The standards were created with the help of an advisory group that includes industry stakeholders and energy efficiency and environmental advocates, along with the Department of Energy (DOE). The working group represents an alternate approach to energy efficiency standards development within DOE.

The new standards build upon similar rules for commercial natural gas- and oil-fired warm-air furnaces and package air-conditioning and heat pumps agreed upon through the advisory process. Similar consensus agreement approaches were used to develop standards for several residential appliances such as furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioners, clothes washers, clothes dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, and freezers, acccording to EIA.  In some cases, these agreements meant earlier adoption of standards compared with the traditional DOE rulemaking process.

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New York regulators say they want to animate the distributed energy market through their new Reforming the Energy Vision (REV), and they seem to be doing so.

Here one example.

Simple Energy, a software-as-a-service company, and energy giant Iberdrola say they have struck a deal to use behavioral science, big data analytics, and digital marketing to encourage households to buy distributed energy products.

Ibedrola plans to use Simple Energy’s Marketplace e-commerce platform at Iberdrola utility Rochester Gas & Electric.

The program connects consumers to targeted energy-saving products and services that offer instant rebates.

And here is another example market animation occurring in New York.

Take a look at the response to the NY Prize. The state received 130 community microgrid applications in the competition and as a result, ended up funding 83 microgrids instead of its planned 25.

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About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded RealEnergyWriters.com, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

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