Massachusetts Moves Toward a Three-Year Energy Efficiency Plan
A statewide energy council approved a three-year energy efficiency plan on October 6 that is designed to save Massachusetts consumers more than $5 billion in electricity costs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The measure, based on an agreement between Governor Deval Patrick and Attorney General Martha Coakley, requires the state's four investor-owned utilities to scale up their energy efficiency programs to reach greater numbers of customers, and provide them more significant energy savings through a combination of improved energy assessments and incentives for investing efficiency. The $1.1 billion cost of this initiative over three years would be funded primarily by distribution charges on electricity bills, proceeds of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative allowance auctions as well as third-party capital.
The plan sets an energy savings target of 2.4% for electricity sales in 2012. Utility energy efficiency programs have traditionally produced savings of 0.8% to 0.9 % annually, backers said. If energy efficiency investments reach the 2012 target, it will save 2,648,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, or 15% of the utilities’ annual residential customer usage. With energy savings of 2.4% per year going forward, Massachusetts would meet 30% of its electricity needs by 2020 through improved energy efficiency, rather than additional generation. Now that it has passed the state's Energy Efficiency Advisory Council, it will go to the Department of Public Utilities for final approval this fall. See the Massachusetts governor’s press release.