New York State has reauthorized its Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard, which requires the state to reduce demand for electricity and natural gas heating 15% by 2015.
It's allocated $510 million a year for the effort.
About 28 states have Renewable Energy Standards, requiring the use of clean energy, but few states have Efficiency Standards, requiring the state reduce the amount of energy it uses in the first place. NY's is one of the more aggressive laws.
"Energy efficiency is the most cost-effective, and most immediate, way to reduce the burden of rising energy costs on residential and business customers. The steps we have taken helped ensure that energy efficiency remains an integral part of New York's clean energy economy," says Gary Brown, Chair of NY's Public Service Commission, which voted to renew it.
The Commission credits the Efficiency Standard for reversing the pattern of ever-increasing energy use in New York. The program is on track to meet the 2015 goal of reducing electricity use by an amount that would supply almost 2 million homes.
The program was originally drafted in 2008 to save energy,
while spurring creation of an infrastructure that supports energy efficiency-related jobs. Now, the state wants to make sure incentives continue to encourage residential, commercial and industrial residents to become more efficient.
With the Commission's decision today, 100 electric and gas programs designed to spur efficiency upgrades are reauthorized for four more years.
Among the programs are NYSERDA's EmPower New York Program, National Grid's Energy Initiative, and Con Ed's Multifamily Low-Income Program.
UK Passes Efficiency Law
The UK passed a law this week to increase residential energy efficiency and to create the legal framework for the "Green Deal," which will be launched next year.
Half the homes in the UK - owned and rented - have inadequate insulation and furnaces. The new law removes the upfront cost of upgrades, making them affordable. The object is to lower energy bills, address climate change, and create jobs. Homeowners will pay for the upgrades over time through small additional charges on their utility bills.
After April 2018, landlords will no longer be allowed to rent a house or place of business if it gets an energy efficiency rating less than "E."
The Green Deal, which "is intended to revolutionize the energy efficiency of British properties," says UK's Dept of Energy & Climate Change, is "expected to attract capital investment of up to 15 billion pounds in the residential sector alone by the end of this decade and at its peak support around 250,000 jobs."
Here's a map of US states that have Energy Efficiency Standards: