FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 8, 2013
Would Enhance Benefit to State of Utility EE Programs
Little Rock, AR – In testimony filed at the Arkansas Public Service Commission this week, the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association (AAEA) makes a strong case for evaluating utility energy efficiency programs by using an avoided cost for carbon emissions.
“By evaluating energy efficiency programs with even a minimal carbon price (as soon as 2015), the state benefits from a more realistic value for energy efficiency,” stated AAEA’s testimony filed by Attorney Nate Coulter this week in which AAEA suggests using a cost of $15 per ton of CO2 for the 2015-2019 time frame and $20 per ton with annual escalators until 2040.
The testimony was filed during deliberations by a collaborative of utilities and other parties regarding the proposed extension by the APSC of the state’s Energy Efficiency Resource Standard for public utilities through 2017, Docket No. 13-002-U. AAEA has participated in meetings and conference calls throughout this year as the collaborative prepared joint comments and drafted a request for proposals for a potential study of the existing program.
AAEA has joined the collaborative in multiple joint filings this week and chose to file independently only on the issue of avoided carbon costs. The collaborative achieved broad agreement among the utilities and others that for the purposes of measuring energy efficiency program costs and benefits, it is important to forecast a “carbon regulatory cost avoidance.”
A study by Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation (AAEF) researchers at HISTECON Associates and the University of Arkansas-Little Rock Institute of Economic Analysis helped guide the deliberations by the parties.
In his testimony this week, Coulter informed the Commission that the AAEF study showed that forecasts being evaluated by the Arkansas collaborative of parties to the EE docket do not account for the economic costs that indirect CO2 emissions produce elsewhere in the economy (such as health care and environmental damage). AAEF found that depending on the fuel source, these costs add about 11 to 15 percent to the direct figure for avoided costs of CO2.
In filings this week, the APSC collaborative of parties is responding to the Commission’s Order of October 1 in which Commissioners determined that the first three years of the EERS program was successful.
According to Dr. Katherine Johnson, who drafted an independent assessment of the state EE programs, “customer satisfaction was overwhelmingly positive across the entire Arkansas energy efficiency portfolio with high marks for all aspects of the program operations.”
With all but one of Arkansas’s seven public utilities exceeding their energy savings goals within the state’s Energy Efficiency Resource Standard, the APSC set a 2015 goal for electric utilities of .9% of 2014 retail kwh sales and for natural gas utilities, .5% of 2014 retail natural gas sales.
The Commission also authorized a study to determine savings goals for the entire second, three-year phase of EERS, 2015-17, with a promise to revisit the 2015 goal if data from the study justifies any changes.
“As a result of the original EERS order in December, 2010, energy efficiency is now a way of life for ratepayers and a significant component in the generation capacity of Arkansas’s public utilities,” said Steve Patterson, Executive Director of AAEA. “Other southeastern states like Louisiana and Mississippi are now modeling their EE programs based on best practices established by the Arkansas experience.”
All filings and orders in Docket 13-002-U, In the Matter of the Continuation, Expansion and Enhancement of Public Utility Energy Efficiency Programs in Arkansas can be found here.
Arkansas Advanced Energy Association is a business group dedicated to growing Arkansas’s economy by expanding our energy workforce and manufacturing base through the increased development, manufacture, and utilization of advanced energy technologies. www.arkansasadvancedenergy.com
The Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation is the educational affiliate of the AAEA. The Foundation promotes greater public understanding of advanced energy in Arkansas through research, public education programs and economic and workforce development. The Foundation is dedicated to informing the energy policy debate with well-researched, fact-based data on the advanced energy economy in Arkansas and by providing a public forum where state leaders can address Arkansas’s energy challenges for the future. www.arkansasadvancedenergyfoundation.org
Report Shows Global Economic Impacts of Advanced Energy
A report released in January 2013 by Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) shows that advanced energy was a $1.1 trillion global market in 2011, larger than pharmaceutical manufacturing worldwide. Read the full report here: http://arkansasadvancedenergyfoundation.org/files/dmfile/AEEIEconomicImpactofAdvancedEnergy-Final.pdf
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