Across the nation, states are far ahead of the federal government in expanding advanced energy markets through policy, regulation, initiatives, and funding. As the leader of energy innovation in the U.S., California’s businesses and public sectors across the state have demonstrated the benefits in energy savings, reduced carbon and pollution, job creation, and economic growth. According to a press release by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), in 2014 Massachusetts surpassed California as ‘Most Energy-Efficient State’ (announced on October 22, this week).
While California governor Jerry Brown and the state’s lawmakers continue to emphasize climate action initiatives and take major steps in reducing the state’s carbon footprint, in lowering energy costs, and increasing energy efficiency – according to ACEEE score-card findings, Massachusetts continues to pass California, which ranked 2nd. Rhode Island, Oregon, and Vermont followed in third, fourth and fifth places.
Overall, states across the U.S. have been increasing their commitment to energy efficiency. Savings from energy efficiency programs in 2013 totaled approximately 24.4 million megawatt-hours (MWh), a 7 percent increase over 2011 savings (as reported last year by ACEEE).
ACEEE noted that state leaders are realizing that taking no-action is costly. Programs that save energy and incentivize commercial, industrial and residential customers to reduce energy consumption produce noticeable savings that benefit bottom lines. Energy management drives investment across all sectors of the economy, creates jobs, and offsets carbon emissions. Building a stronger Cleantech economy is a necessity for sustainable and resilient future economy.
California has significant advances this year in Cleantech and sustainability legislation, setting policies that would:
- Enable rapid growth of innovative energy companies
- Accelerate the development of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure throughout the state
- Streamline the permitting process for rooftop solar systems
- Bring vehicle emissions under California’s cap-and-trade system, a market-based system to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution.
California’s Carbon Market program (i.e. cap-and-trade program) was launched on January 1, 2013. California Carbon Allowances (CCAs) are auctioned by the State’s Air Resources Board on a quarterly basis through 2020. While California’s economy continues to rebound, several key indicators points to a successful cap-and-trade program:
• The state’s carbon market successfully addressed legal challenges and demonstrated a smooth launch and viability in its first year of implementation.
• Five successful quarterly auctions with full sale of current year allowances, and an actively trading secondary market, are strong indications of a well-designed program.
• The program is serving as a model for other countries, such as China, Australia, and three states and provinces along the Pacific Coast of North America. All of them signed memorandums of understanding with California to guide collaboration in addressing climate change, and as of January 1, 2014 Quebec and California formally linked their cap-and-trade programs.
Assembly Bills that passed include:
- AB 2565 – Addresses the growing need for EV charging stations around the state, including deployment of charging infrastructure at businesses and multi-family housing units.
- AB 2188 – Regulations that streamline the process for obtaining permits to install residential solar energy systems.
- AB 69 – Defeated – Preventing delays util 2018 of advancing the next steps in the state’s climate plan, bringing transportation fossil-based fuels under the cap-and-trade system in order to reduce carbon emissions.
1. California cap-and-trade program:
Year one summary of accomplishments – A Comprehensive Analysis of the State’s Cap-and-Trade Program:
Executive summary – Click on Summary.
Fact sheet – Click here.
Report – Check here.
2. Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is a national association of business leaders who are making the global energy system more secure, clean, and affordable. AEE focuses on innovations and policy in energy efficiency, demand response, natural gas electric generation, solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, electric vehicles, biofuels and smart grid. AEE has worked on transforming public policy to enable rapid growth of advanced energy companies in California.
3. ACEEE up-coming conference in San Francisco
ACEEE – American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy – will be holding the Intelligent Efficiency Conference in San Francisco, CA on November 16 – 18, 2014.
ACEEE is a nonprofit organization, that acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors.