Legislation. Deregulation. What Does it All Mean?
There are many drivers shaping the energy conservation movement including national security, energy independence, economic development, climate change and others. These factors have sparked legislative action that requires all of us to take a closer look at how, when and where we use energy and make informed decisions about our energy use.
From recent changes in building codes and standards to national and local stimulus plans and statewide legislation associated with the removal of utility rate caps, it can be tedious to keep up with the incentive programs designed to promote energy efficiency, economic development and emissions reduction. Some of the most applicable legislation you should know about includes:
Mandates that all Pennsylvania utility companies reduce annual electrical consumption by 1% by May 2011 and by 3% by May 2013. In addition, the Act stipulates that peak electrical demand be reduced by 4.5% by 2013. Utility companies are offering various incentive programs to customers who participate in energy conservation projects as a means of achieving these goals.
The Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act
Requires that Pennsylvania utilities derive 18% of their electrical generation from renewable resources-8% for solar energy and 10% from other sources-by 2020. Currently, approximately 3% of electrical generation is derived from renewable resources. In order to meet these goals, utility companies have established programs to allow end users to install renewable generation facilities and provide a credit back to the utility companies to account for the renewable energy.
PA Alternative Energy Investment Act
Provides funding for energy efficiency improvements for homeowners and small businesses statewide and more than $200 million for solar photovoltaic systems and other renewable energy projects.
House Bill 2200
Imposes requirements on the Electrical Distribution Companies (EDCs) that are designed to enhance energy procurement, reduce energy demand and consumption and expand alternative energy sources.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)
While there are many facets of this Act that were designed to enhance our economy, $3.2 billion was allocated for energy efficiency and conservation block grants for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
Collectively these and other legislation changes, including current and forthcoming climate change legislation, have created a huge push for energy conservation and the development of alternative energy sources. They present a variety of opportunities for businesses to develop and execute energy generation and conservation projects.