Hearings and Business Meetings
Oct 18 2005
SD-366 Energy Committee Hearing Room 10:00 AM
Mr. Tom Kuhn
TESTIMONY OF EDISON ELECTRIC INSTITUTE
HEARING ON WINTER FUELS OUTLOOK
SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE
OCTOBER 18, 2005
To help address significantly higher energy prices this winter, EEI believes that:
• Congress should fully fund the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in fiscal year 2006. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) authorized LIHEAP funding at $5.1 billion.
• Congress should fully fund energy efficiency and conservation public information and outreach efforts. EPAct 2005 authorized $90 million per year for five years for public education.
• Congress should work with the Administration and the states to increase access to oil and natural gas supplies from our vast onshore and offshore resources, including from the unleased portions of leasehold 181 in the Gulf of Mexico, and to extend the drilling season for selected onshore areas.
To help improve the fuel diversity of future generating facilities, EEI believes that:
• Congress should provide greater regulatory certainty for coal-fired generating facilities through passage of sensible multi-emission legislation along the lines of the “Clear Skies” bill.
However, EEI strongly opposes any efforts to ration fuel supply or dictate fuel choices for the electricity industry.
• Both the Powerplant and Industrial Fuel Use of 1978 and the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) were attempts by Congress during the Carter Administration to dictate fuel choices and energy purchases to utilities. Both bills adversely distorted electricity markets and impacted consumers.
• This is a major reason why EEI opposes federally mandated “efficient dispatch” proposals, a renewable portfolio standard and any effort to limit utility access to natural gas for electricity generation. Raising consumers’ electricity bills is not a solution to higher natural gas prices.
TESTIMONY OF TOM KUHN
ON BEHALF OF THE EDISON ELECTRIC INSTITUTE
BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
WINTER FUELS OUTLOOK
OCTOBER 18, 2005
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:
My name is Tom Kuhn, and I am President of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI). EEI is the premier trade association for U.S. shareholder-owned electric companies and serves international affiliates and industry associates worldwide. Our U.S. members serve 97 percent of the ultimate customers in the shareholder-owned segment of the industry and 71 percent of all electric utility ultimate customers in the nation. We appreciate the opportunity to testify on the upcoming winter fuels outlook and ways to help consumers deal with high energy prices.
EIA 2005-2006 Winter Fuels Outlook
The latest forecast from the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) Short Term Energy Outlook, which was released last week, is predicting significant increases in fuel costs for home heating this winter. This comes on the heels of extremely high prices for gasoline and other transportation fuels.
Customers who are part of the nation’s largest home heating sector—the 60 million households that use natural gas—could see their home heating bills go up by an average of almost 50 percent. The average natural gas household spent about $750 last winter to stay warm. This winter, it should expect to spend about $1,100.
The price for heating oil, which is used by about eight-and-a-half million homes and is the dominant fuel source in the Northeast, is expected to increase about 32 percent. The typical oil-heated home last year spent about $1,200 on heating bills. This year that cost could be as high as $1,577.
The average cost of using electricity to heat homes is expected to be about 5 percent more this winter nationwide, affecting about 31 million households in the country, with higher costs in some regions. The average spent on electricity for heating last year was about $717, which would mean this year it will be about $755. This sounds relatively low, but the majority of electrically heated homes in the U.S. are in the South, which has a relatively short heating season, and southern homes also are more likely to use heat pumps, an efficient form of electric heating.
Residential electricity prices are expected to average 9.3 cents per kilowatthour (kWh) in 2005 and about 9.5 cents per kWh in 2006, with significant regional differences depending on the fuel mix used to generate electricity in each region of the country.
Of course, consumers’ heating bills will depend largely on temperatures this winter. EIA’s estimates also are somewhat sensitive to how fast the oil and natural gas infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico recovers from the two recent hurricanes. As of October 13, about sixty percent of the daily gas production in the Gulf of Mexico remained offline. By the end of the year, it is estimated that about one-fifth of natural gas production will still be offline, and EIA estimates that production will not return to pre-hurricane levels until March 2006. The hurricanes aggravated an already tight supply and demand situation. The wholesale price for natural gas is now trading between $13 and $14 per thousand cubic feet, which is roughly twice as high as a year ago.
All classes of consumers—industrial, commercial and residential—are feeling the effects of high energy prices. High prices for natural gas, heating oil and transportation fuels are having a ripple effect throughout the economy. Utilities that use natural gas to generate electricity also are feeling the pinch. Electric utilities do not benefit from higher energy prices, since they are often “caught” between high fuel costs and regulatory limitations on electricity rates. Like consumers, these utilities are seeking to use natural gas as efficiently as possible and are switching to more economical fuels whenever it is feasible.
Electric Utilities are Helping Energy Consumers
There are no quick and easy answers to our energy policy challenges. Increasing the supply and diversity of our nation’s available energy resources involves long-term solutions, many of which were included in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005). We commend the Committee’s leadership in getting that legislation enacted. But there are additional steps that can be taken to reduce energy demand and help ease prices in the near term. Electric utilities are actively working with their customers, state and federal governments, and others to help consumers manage their heating bills through direct assistance and other programs to reduce demand and increase energy efficiency.
• Special Focus on Low-Income Consumers
Low-income consumers are a special focus of the industry’s energy conservation efforts because they are especially vulnerable to high energy prices. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), low-income households spend 14 percent of their annual income on energy, while non-low-income households spend 3.5 percent.
EEI strongly supports full funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which Congress authorized at $5.1 billion a year in EPAct 2005. LIHEAP helps pay the winter heating bills or summer cooling bills of low-income and elderly people. Increased funding for the LIHEAP program is the most immediate and direct way that those in need may receive assistance this winter. An increase in the base funding for LIHEAP ensures that states will receive the funds necessary to provide heating assistance this winter, as well as cooling assistance next summer.
During extreme weather conditions, low-income consumers often are forced to choose between buying fuel to heat or cool their homes and buying food or medicine for themselves and their families. Since two-thirds of the families receiving LIHEAP assistance have incomes of less than $8,000 a year, the program clearly helps the people who need help the most.
Unfortunately, funding shortages in the LIHEAP program threaten to disproportionately affect America’s poor, especially the elderly, whose health and well-being depend on a comfortable living environment, and who are more likely to suffer during brutal weather conditions. The present program of approximately $2 billion serves only 20 percent of the eligible population with average payments of $311 per family.
An EEI survey shows that nationwide there are more than 800 programs available for low-income customers, including billing assistance, weatherization help, community development and outreach, and more. For many years, EEI member companies have established fuel funds to provide low-income households assistance with their utility bills, weatherization repairs and other programs, totaling over $1 billion annually. This year, companies are redoubling their efforts, pledging millions more dollars for assistance and energy efficiency efforts, and working with state officials to implement energy savings education programs.
• Proactive Initiatives Benefit Consumers, the Environment, and the Nation’s Electricity System
America’s electric utilities are among the nation’s leaders in encouraging the efficient use of energy. Since the early 1970s, electric utility programs and services have helped residential, commercial, and industrial customers take control of their energy bills.
These efficiency efforts are making a difference. Over the past 15 years, electric utility efficiency programs have saved about 700 billion kilowatthours (kWh) of electricity. That is enough to power almost 65 million homes for one year. Electric utilities invested more than $4.55 billion in energy-efficiency efforts between 2001 and 2003 alone. Many of these activities are accelerating. In California alone, between 2006 and 2008, shareholder-owned utilities will be spending nearly $2 billion on efficiency programs and activities.
These utility efficiency efforts are helping customers lower their electric bills, but that is just the beginning. Electric utility efficiency efforts also lead to fewer emissions, result in the more efficient use of generation and transmission assets, and reduce demand during peak periods, ultimately deferring the cost of building additional generation, and thus reducing consumer bills over the long term.
Electric utilities around the country offer energy-saving tips and advice. Most also have special conservation and energy-management programs and incentives. These can include:
? Energy-efficiency rebates to make purchasing high-efficiency appliances, including lighting, heating, air conditioning and refrigeration, and industrial equipment, more affordable.
? Low-interest loans to help consumers finance the purchase of high-efficiency equipment.
? Online energy audits to enable consumers to analyze their energy use and get recommended adjustments from their own computer.
? Home and commercial construction programs to offer incentives and training to encourage energy-saving designs and the installation of high-efficiency appliances, equipment, and lighting.
? Advanced metering, variable pricing, direct load control and demand response programs to encourage industrial, commercial, and residential customers to reduce their electricity use during peak periods. Load control programs give customers a bill credit in exchange for allowing the utility to cycle their large energy-consuming appliances and equipment on-and-off, and demand response programs offer innovative rate options to shift electricity use to non-peak periods.
EEI and its members also have twice yearly workshops with major national customers where we compare notes on energy efficiency practices, experiences, and new ideas. EEI also offers a brochure, “More Than 100 Ways to Improve Your Electric Bill,” to help residential customers control their electric bills.
Consumers support the industry’s energy-efficiency efforts. Two out of three Americans now say they are hearing more about the need to use energy efficiently and to conserve energy. The vast majority of Americans (80 percent) also say they are taking extra steps to conserve electricity in their homes.
• Coalitions Expand the Industry’s Effectiveness
EEI and its member company utilities are involved in a variety of energy-saving coalitions at the national, state, and regional level. For example, EEI currently is working with DOE, the Alliance to Save Energy, and a coalition of manufacturers, trade groups and consumer groups to implement an energy efficiency and conservation public information and outreach campaign.
The campaign will educate consumers to use energy wisely by providing tools to help them control costs, teach consumers about available energy efficiency tax incentives for homes and appliances, and increase consumer awareness that wise energy use is good for the country. This campaign will run through the heating season and likely will become part of a long-term public-private effort to change public opinion about the value of energy efficient behavior.
However, this campaign is severely underfunded. In order to be effective, much more money is needed. Changing consumer behavior requires a long-term, sustained effort. EPAct 2005 authorizes $90 million per year for five years for public education. However, even with private matching funds, including a major contribution from EEI, the program will have only about $2 million to spend this winter.
The electricity industry supports many coalitions focused on energy use. Descriptions of many of the major coalitions appear at the end of this testimony (Appendix 1).
EEI’s website [www.eei.org/wiseuse] includes: specific tips on how consumers can “take charge of their home heating bills” through simple, money-saving steps; brief descriptions of the many available individual utility-based conservation and efficiency programs; and information on the hundreds of low-income assistance programs available through our member companies.
• Supply and Demand for Natural Gas-Fired Electricity Generation
The reality is that the U.S. market for natural gas is a regional market, in contrast to the global oil market. We draw our natural gas supplies almost exclusively from a North American resource base, supplemented with some liquefied natural gas imports from foreign sources.
Our supplies from that resource base are currently constrained by two factors: declining production from existing open fields and a public policy decision to place off limit for development substantial areas within the U.S. that have natural gas reserves. This resource constraint is exacerbated further by a geographic concentration in the location of our developed gas reserves and related infrastructure. The resulting supply shortfall, potential for disruption, and related high prices are a drag on the economy and are incompatible with the growing, job-producing economy that Americans have come to expect.
EEI and its member companies have testified in the past that Congress needs to take steps to increase supply from every available resource that can be recovered consistent with environmental protections. This includes onshore and offshore domestic development, the construction of the infrastructure needed to deliver that product to market and access to foreign sources of international liquefied natural gas resources. EEI continues to support this position. The Minerals Management Service conservatively projects undiscovered and technically recoverable natural gas reserves of 128 trillion cubic feet (TCF) in Alaska and 284 TCF offshore. In comparison, the United States currently consumes 22 TCF per year.
We encourage Congress and the Administration to take the necessary steps to obtain oil and gas production from the unleased portions of Leasehold 181 in the Gulf of Mexico and extend the drilling season for selected onshore areas. We applaud the beginning of serious discussions of how to address domestic development issues, and we believe there can be a solution that addresses the concerns of the coastal states and the needs of our national economy.
• “Efficient Dispatch” Proposals
Concern about high natural gas prices has brought about renewed interest in legislative proposals to require the “efficient dispatch” of electric generating plants. While the goal sounds laudable, these proposals raise serious practical and policy concerns about consumer electricity prices and operation of the electricity system.
Advocates of efficient dispatch are seeking to require greater use of non-utility gas-fired generation, which they claim will reduce overall consumption of natural gas because these plants tend to be newer and burn gas more efficiently. Both the Powerplant and Industrial Fuel Use of 1978 and the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) were attempts to dictate fuel choices and energy purchases to utilities. Both bills adversely distorted electricity markets, which impacted consumers. This is a major reason why EEI opposes federally mandated “efficient dispatch” proposals. Raising consumers’ electricity bills is not a solution to higher natural gas prices.
“Efficient” dispatch is not the same as “economic” dispatch. In fact, efficient dispatch can often result in uneconomic dispatch that leads to higher electricity prices for consumers. The most efficient gas-fired generating plants do not necessarily provide the lowest-cost power to consumers. Different types of gas-fired plants have different operating features that are important in determining when they are used. These include thermal efficiency, short-term fuel costs, fixed capital costs, emission rates, plant location and interconnection with the grid, and start-up times, among others. It is not possible to decide which plant is the best to operate by looking only at thermal efficiency, and it is often the case that the goals of dispatching plants with the greatest level of thermal efficiency and dispatching the lowest-cost available power to consumers are incompatible.
For example, utilities use their less efficient single-cycle gas turbine, gas-fired power plants at times of peak demand because these single-cycle plants have the ability to start up very quickly, are operationally very flexible and are used for reliability purposes. In addition, older steam turbine plants are generally fully depreciated. Also, their fuel is often supplied under stable, long-term contracts that serve to mitigate the price volatility found in the natural gas spot markets. Under such circumstances, from a consumer perspective, these plants are the best choice to run and have the lowest cost, despite having lower thermal efficiencies than other gas-fired plants that may be available.
Decisions about which plants to run also can affect congestion on the transmission system. Running a more efficient plant in one part of the grid instead of a less efficient plant elsewhere on the grid can increase transmission congestion and create a situation where some consumers on the “downstream” side of the congestion point actually pay more.
Nationally, utilities routinely operate their generation units in a manner that benefits electricity customers, in an effort to dispatch the lowest cost unit available to serve the next increment of load, recognizing any generation or transmission operational constraints.
In addition to dispatching their own generation units on an economic dispatch basis, utilities, on a daily basis, seek out alternative non-utility generation sources from which to purchase energy that is available at a lower cost than their own generation. This routine inclusion of non-utility generation in their economic dispatch process enables utilities to provide energy to their customers at an even lower cost than if they relied exclusively on their own generation portfolio.
Many regions of the country are served by regional transmission organizations (RTOs) or independent transmission organizations (ISOs), which have Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)-approved dispatch procedures in place that are designed to optimize the use of the mix of energy resources available in each respective region. The RTOs and ISOs dispatch generating facilities according to comprehensive dispatch plans that balance a number of important factors, including efficiency, lowest-cost available power, reliability, fuel diversity, environmental goals and transmission constraints.
The dispatch systems used by utilities that are not in RTOs or ISOs are subject to regulatory oversight by state regulatory commissions. State commissions ensure that short-term costs are minimized, subject to operational, contractual and environmental constraints, and that other objectives are met, such as maintaining reliability, long-term rate stability, fuel diversity, promotion of renewable resources and other important criteria.
Congress should not disturb generation dispatch plans already in place, whether they are plans administered by RTOs or ISOs, or utility plans subject to state regulatory oversight.
During consideration of EPAct 2005, an “efficient dispatch” amendment was offered in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, where it was defeated by a 17–5 vote. EPAct 2005 requires two federal studies of economic dispatch, one to be conducted by DOE and the other by FERC-state joint boards. Congress should refrain from moving forward with more dispatch legislation until it receives the results of these studies and any policy recommendations they might propose.
• The Importance of Fuel Diversity
Low-cost, reliable electricity results, in part, from our ability to utilize a variety of readily available energy resources – coal, nuclear energy, natural gas, hydropower, and emerging renewable energy resources, such as wind, biomass and solar. Fuel diversity is key to affordable and reliable electricity. This Committee recognized this important fact in crafting EPAct 2005, which includes many provisions that will promote long-term fuel diversity. A diverse fuel mix helps protect consumers, our economy and our national security from contingencies such as fuel shortages or disruptions, price fluctuations and changes in regulatory practices. A diverse fuel mix takes advantage of regional differences in fuel availability that have evolved over many decades.
Coal and electricity are inextricably linked to the economic health of the nation. Coal is the fuel for more than half of our country’s electric generation, and electric generation drives economic growth. Electric demand, coal-fired generation and GDP growth are all projected to grow at a steady pace to 2025 and beyond.
While coal fuels slightly more than 50 percent of the generation produced in the U.S., it fuels upwards of 80 percent of the electric generation in many specific states. These coal-fueled plants help to keep the price of electricity stable and affordable for consumers and businesses. The map at the end of our testimony shows how different regions of the country rely on different fuel mixes to generate electricity. Interestingly, roughly 40 percent of coal used for power generation in 2004 came from the Powder River Basin region in Wyoming.
Coal will continue to play a key role in electric generation due to its reliability, affordability and fuel source security. New baseload generation is projected to come from coal and nuclear energy in 2025 and beyond. Between 2004 and 2025, EIA projects that 87 gigawatts (GW) of new coal-fired generation will be built.
EEI member companies are already planning for substantial investment in new, large, baseload coal and nuclear generating plants to respond efficiently to growth demands, environmental requirements, and the expected limited availability and relatively high cost of natural gas. Public databases indicate that there are currently at least 38 large-scale (500 megawatts (MW) or more) coal projects totaling 30,197 MW being planned. Twenty-two projects (or 18,247 MW) have been announced, while 16 projects (or 11,950 MW) are undergoing feasibility studies. They all have scheduled online dates between 2006 and 2013.
EEI believes that many more such projects are under study but have not yet been announced. These new plants promise to be much cleaner than the ones in today’s coal-fired fleet, and they will provide opportunities for new advanced clean coal technologies such as super-critical pulverized coal and integrated gasification combined cycle plants. Some of these projects may present above-market costs initially, but costs will come down and risks will diminish as new plants are built and improved designs become standardized.
Nuclear energy uprates are estimated to account for an additional 3.5 GW of electric generation. However, EEI does not agree with EIA’s projection that no new nuclear plants will become operational between 2003 and 2025, as several consortia are working on new plants. Nuclear energy is critical to meeting our country’s growing demand for new baseload generation and is a top-rated option now available for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Natural gas plants, which provide baseload generation in some regions, will continue to be well-suited for peaking. Generation from non-hydroelectric renewables – particularly wind energy – is expected to increase as these technologies become more economically competitive and as reliability and transmission issues are addressed. Renewables are a growing part of many utilities’ generation portfolio, and EEI supports measures to promote their expansion through tax credits and increased funding for research and development, as well as renewable programs in the states. However, because of their intermittent nature and the concomitant need for backup generation, renewable resources such as wind and solar energy will be limited in their ability to displace coal plants, nuclear energy and hydroelectric plants in baseload generation. And, while no new hydroelectric generation is expected, the challenge will be to maintain the nation’s hydropower resource through relicensing. In short, it is important to recognize that different regions of the country rely on different fuel mixes for their electric generation. Secure and diverse electric generation sources are critical to the economy and national security.
• The Need for Environmental Certainty
Due in part to the complexity, cost and uncertainty of existing clean air regulation, over 90 percent of new power plants built over the past decade have relied on natural gas to produce electricity. However, given the unpredictability of natural gas supply and price, federal clean air policy must not force increases in the use of natural gas for electric generation. Federal energy and clean air policy goals can be better met, and consumer price increases kept to a minimum, through properly crafted “multi-emission” legislation, along the lines of Clear Skies. The regulatory certainty provided by multi-emission legislation would promote continued use of the nation’s abundant and low-cost coal resources, require continuing environmental progress, and alleviate pressure on the natural gas supply.
The U.S. electric power sector has reduced air emissions substantially under existing programs. Since 1980, the industry has cut sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by over 40 percent, while increasing net generation from coal by nearly 70 percent. Multi-emissions legislation would require SO2 and NOx and mercury emissions to be reduced by an additional 70 percent.
In addition, power plants could take new steps to increase their efficiency if EPA’s 2003 NSR rule were codified. Increased efficiency at existing plants leads to lower fuel consumption, greater fuel availability to the market, and lower average fuel prices due to lower overall demand. Because the electric power industry’s emissions of SO2 and NOx are capped, and the regulations require state-of-the-art emission controls for all new plants, such improved NSR policy would not increase emissions.
It also is important to exercise caution to assure that proposals for addressing climate change and greenhouse gas emissions do not increase the pressure to shift from coal to natural gas, thus exacerbating the current shortage and price volatility of natural gas. Rather, we need to emphasize the development and deployment of technologies that will reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions. Again, we commend the Committee for your attention to technology advancement in EPAct 2005 and encourage continuing emphasis in this area.
• Challenges and Possibilities for Near-Term Reductions in Natural Gas Usage for Electricity Generation
Electric power plants are subject to economic, engineering and environmental realities and constraints. For example, power plants built to use natural gas or oil cannot burn coal directly. Power plants with long-term fuel contracts may not be able to switch to another fuel or procure new supplies in a tight spot market. There are challenges to transporting enough coal or oil to some plants; in fact, there are cases now where utilities are burning natural gas because of the problems associated with transporting coal out of the Powder River Basin. Nuclear power plants are operating at high capacity factors. To increase output at our nation’s nuclear plants, companies could upgrade some existing facilities to improve efficiency and employ new instrumentation technologies. However, uprate applications and reviews are complex and require careful review and approval by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
In addition, environmental permits can limit the specific types of coal and oil that can be consumed at individual plants. When power plants switch from natural gas to oil or use more coal, SO2 and NOx emissions increase, often substantially. Such emissions are regulated by the Clean Air Act, state law and local regulations. While in many situations power plants could increase emissions by using more emission credits, doing so would come at a steep price (e.g., approaching $1,000 per ton of SO2 and $2,500 per ton for NOx).
That said, there is limited promise that some existing coal-based plants could increase their electric production, or that retired or mothballed plants could be started up again. And, although oil prices have increased significantly, the price of oil has increased less than that of natural gas, so some natural gas-based plants potentially could switch to using oil.
These opportunities often tend to be plant specific and, where feasible, economics already are driving these actions to occur. However, regulatory flexibility can help to maximize the potential for alternatives to natural gas in the short-term, and our companies stand ready to work with regulatory and policymakers to pursue reasonable opportunities.
Depending on the weather and what fuels they use, American consumers are facing significantly higher bills for heating and other energy uses this winter, due largely to tight supplies of oil and especially natural gas. Electric utilities across the country are actively engaged in programs and coalitions to promote conservation and to help customers use electricity more efficiently. They also support full funding of the federal LIHEAP program for low-income households.
Natural gas will remain an important part of the electricity generation fuel mix for the foreseeable future, so Congress should take action to increase gas supplies, while resisting calls for a return to failed or misguided demand-side restrictions on natural gas-fired generation. Fuel diversity must remain a fundamental part of our national energy policy, including (but not limited to) environmental and transportation policies to promote the use of affordable domestic coal supplies for baseload generation; and to facilitate the development and use of hydropower and other renewables.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND CONSERVATION COALITIONS
SUPPORTED BY THE ELECTRIC UTILITY INDUSTRY
Examples of National Coalitions:
• Alliance to Save Energy — Educates decision-makers, opinion leaders, and the public about the many benefits of energy efficiency. [www.ase.org]
• DOE Motor Challenge — Increases the market penetration of energy-efficient electric motors, where 20 percent of all electricity is consumed. By 2010, the potential savings are over 100 billion kWh/year energy savings and $3 billion (U.S.) annual energy cost savings. [www.oit.doe.gov/bestpractices/motors]
• EPA ENERGY STAR — Voluntary rating system to label appliances and products that are 10-25 percent more efficient than the federal standard. [www.energystar.gov]
• International Utility Efficiency Partnerships — Expands the development of international, environmentally friendly, energy-development projects. [www.ji.org]
• Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium — Reduces home heating and cooling energy use through the expanded use of geoexchange heat pumps. Homeowners enjoy utility bills from 25 to 50 percent lower than with conventional systems. [www.geoexchange.org]
• Peak Load Management Alliance — Promotes the concepts and technologies of reducing demand for electricity during peak periods in response to pricing signals in the marketplace. [www.peaklma.com]
• Utility Hybrid Truck Working Group — Establishes the user requirements and performance specifications for a cleaner and more efficient hybrid utility “bucket” truck. H-TUF’s goal is to meet 2010 emissions standards while improving fuel economy up to 50 percent and with it, a 50-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. [www.weststart.org/]
Examples of State and Regional Coalitions:
• The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) — Advances energy efficiency in the Midwest to support sustainable economic development and environmental preservation. [www.mwalliance.org]
• New England Energy Efficiency Partnership (NEEP) — Promotes energy efficiency in homes, buildings and industry in the Northeast United States. [www.neep.org]
• New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) — Administers the New York Energy $martSM program during the transition to a more competitive electricity market. Some 2,700 projects in 40 programs are funded by a charge on the electricity transmitted and distributed by the state's shareholder-owned utilities. [www.nyserda.org]
• Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA, or NWEEA) — By 2010, the Alliance and related utility efforts are expected to save the region over 500 megawatts. Reduction in carbon dioxide emission from the energy savings is estimated at over 2 million tons. [www.nwalliance.org]
• Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) — Collaborates with utilities, state agencies, environmental groups, universities, and other energy efficiency specialists on conserving electricity [www.swenergy.org]