Advancing Energy Efficiency in Texas
Over the past two years, Public Citizen has secured new and expanded energy efficiency programs throughout Texas to reduce greenhouse gases that cause climate change and other pollutants. Our achievements include a legislative requirement that utilities double the amount of load growth that must be met with efficiency measures, up to 20% by 2009.
Based on a study mandated in the 2007 legislation session and completed in late 2008, Texas could easily increase its commitment to assure that at least 50% of the growth in demand comes from efficiency. Unfortunately, the 2009 legislature failed to increase the goal during the regular session. Recently, however, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) began discussing whether they could adopt rules to go beyond the current state mandated minimum.
In the coming year, we have three big opportunities to secure new utility-focused efficiency measures through the PUC. First, the PUC will undergo a Sunset Review process, which will include a statutory and management review. Second, PUC and ERCOT will conduct rulemaking, where the details of efficiency rules will be decided, including issues such as how to value various programs and how to deploy new programs such as Advanced Meter Implementation (AMI). Third, all across Texas, cities now have the ability to create clean energy districts.
Clean energy districts are an innovative financing tool that cities can use to offer low-interest loans to homes and businesses to cover the upfront cost of major energy efficiency upgrades. Learn more here.
Public Citizen is engaged at the city level too. Right now we are trying to pass an energy plan in Austin that would raise the energy efficiency goal for the city to 1000 megawatts by 2020. We've formed a coalition called Clean Energy for Austin, joining non-profits, businesses and individuals who want a green energy plan for the city.
For additional energy efficency links, learn more here