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Energy Sector Law and Policy

This tab includes laws and policies for avoiding or reducing climate change impacts in the energy sector, including best practices and legal and policy analysis.

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126 results are shown below.

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Resource

Bronzeville Microgrid - Chicago, Illinois

2019

The Bronzeville Microgrid project deployed in a neighborhood in the South Side of Chicago, Illinois demonstrates how utilities can invest in pilot microgrid projects to benefit underserved communities. Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) implemented a 7.7 MW community microgrid that will provide service to approximately 770 customers in the historically black neighborhood of Bronzeville Chicago. The project, which is a key component of the utility’s “Community of the Future Initiative,” will serve an area that includes facilities that provide critical services, including hospitals, police headquarters, fire departments, a library, public works buildings, restaurants, health clinics, public transportation, educational facilities, and churches. Bronzeville, considered to be a climate vulnerable urban area, was selected using a data-driven process and based on many socioeconomic factors including income, public health, and lack of investment in the community’s existing infrastructure. 

Related Organizations: Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Port of Long Beach, California Microgrid

2018

In early 2018 the Port of Long Beach, in conjunction with Schneider Electric, began planning a microgrid solar Photovoltaic (PV) and Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) project. The project will enhance reliability and resiliency of the port’s electricity supply, and reduce the port’s carbon footprint, while simultaneously strengthening local workforce development initiatives, and providing paid, on-the-job training to port workers. By powering the port’s electric terminal equipment and reducing its reliance on diesel generators and the grid, the project reduces the port’s GHG emissions footprint and criteria air pollutant emissions. The microgrid implementation will use union labor from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, with paid training hours to fill workers’ knowledge gaps in installing comparable microgrids. Moreover, the project enlists and provides educational experience to students from the University of California - Irvine, Advanced Power and Energy program in analyzing its performance data. Funding for the plan comes from a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC), combined with $2.12 million in matched funds from the Port of Long Beach. The grant requires that the project demonstrate benefits to electricity customers in the local grid in the form of enhanced reliability, lower costs, or improved safety. An overriding objective of all CEC grant projects, is to “lead to technological advancement and breakthroughs to overcome barriers to achieving the state’s statutory energy goals.” As such, the project must document lessons learned in implementation and maintenance in promotion of replicability of similar projects, and the commercialization of microgrids more broadly.

Related Organizations: Port of Long Beach, California

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Connecticut Green Bank Solar For All Program

2015

In 2015, Connecticut recognized that its standard solar incentive program for homeowners, the Residential Solar Incentive Program (RSIP), had successfully promoted residential solar development, but was serving very few low-income homeowners. To increase low and middle income (LMI) homeowner access to credit for solar, the Connecticut Green Bank (which was established by the Connecticut General Assembly), developed a model for providing these homeowners with cost-effective residential solar power and energy efficiency, and applied it to a partnership with solar provider PosiGen Solar (PosiGen). The Green Bank's Solar For All program provides financial support to PosiGen, which uses this financing to build solar panels on LMI homes. PosiGen retains ownership of the panels, benefits from the solar rebates provided under the RSIP, and leases the solar panels to homeowners. Homeowners benefit financially by avoiding large upfront payments for their solar systems, and by reducing electricity costs. Additionally, all PosiGen customers receive efficiency upgrades. The average PosiGen customer in Connecticut receives a net annual financial benefit of $450. For the first six years of solar panel operation, PosiGen owns and benefits from the Renewable Energy Credits – the excess power created by the panels. Ownership of these credits is then transferred to the Bank, which makes back some of the money it spends on the RSIP. 

Resource Category: Funding

 

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New Jersey Clean Energy Program Efficiency Retrofitting

2010

New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program (NJCEP) is a financial incentive system created by the state legislature to encourage energy efficiency retrofitting and promote the use of renewable energy. CMC Energy is a private firm specializing in improving energy efficiency, and became a contracting partner of NJCEP’s Direct Install program. Through this program, CMC works directly with a participating business or public entity to assess areas for improved energy efficiency, and implement modern technical solutions to reduce energy costs. NJCEP pays for 70% of the total retrofitting costs directly to the entity, reducing the total project time to an average of 90 days from the initial appointment. High Bridge Elementary School, in High Bridge, NJ, participated in the Direct Install program and is realizing an annual energy savings of approximately $22,000. The total cost of the installation was $135,109, of which $94,576 was provided directly to the school. The school thus contributed only $40,532, estimated to be paid off in 1.8 years given the school’s energy savings. Future energy savings will be used for further improvements, such as a new roof. In 2019, to promote equity, NJCEP increased its funding to 80% of the retrofitting costs for facilities: within an Urban Enterprise Zone, within an Opportunity Zone, owned by local governments, containing K-12 public schools, or designated as affordable housing. Under the newer scheme, the High Bridge Elementary pay period would be shortened to 1.23 years, freeing up reduced energy savings faster.

Related Organizations: State of New Jersey, CMC Energy

Resource Category: Funding

 

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New Mexico SB 489 - Energy Transition Act

March 22, 2019

New Mexico’s 2019 Senate Bill 489 enacts the Energy Transition Act, establishing ambitious statewide renewable energy standards and a pathway the state will use to transition its economy towards one powered by clean energy. The bill includes tens of millions of dollars of economic and workforce support for communities affected by the transition away from coal. By incorporating equity considerations into its framework, this bill not only ensures greater renewable energy production, but also eases the burden of energy transition on frontline and disadvantaged communities.

Related Organizations: State of New Mexico

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Missouri Comprehensive State Energy Plan

October 2015

In October 2015, officials within the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Division of Energy released the Comprehensive State Energy Plan, which outlined recommendations that would help the state transition to cleaner, more affordable, and more reliable energy. As a result of numerous public meetings and significant stakeholder participation, the agencies were able to divide their recommendations into five categories that would help Missouri achieve its energy goals: promoting efficiency of use; ensuring affordability; diversifying and promoting security in supply; undertaking regulatory improvements; and stimulating innovation, emerging technologies, and job creation. Compliance with these statewide recommendations will help to create new jobs, expand the economy, facilitate more efficient use of energy in all sectors, and help households more effectively manage their energy budgets – all in a more equitable manner. The Plan is a living document that serves as a resource for all elected officials, communities, businesses, and even individuals. In local, frontline communities especially, it is intended to serve as the basis for developing community-specific plans that not only emphasize its energy resources, but the priorities of the area. 

Related Organizations: Missouri Department of Economic Development, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Division of Energy

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Duke Energy Progress Partners with RETI for Community Solar

Duke Energy Progress (DEP) worked with the nonprofit, Renewable Energy Transition Initiative (RETI), to increase access to renewable energy programs for lower-income residents. This program provides an example of how utilities can use equity considerations to inform the deployment of renewable energy programs and resources. RETI works to eliminate high energy costs and make renewable energy solutions more accessible through educational programs, community outreach, research, advocacy, and partnerships. RETI promotes income-based applications and brings awareness to this energy saving program through engaging with communities at local community events and churches. DEP and RETI also launched The Shared Solar program for its residential and non-residential customers to be able to share in the economic benefits from a single solar facility. The cost savings from this community solar program are allocated to low-income customers in the company’s territory.

 

Related Organizations: Duke Energy Progress, Renewable Energy Transition Initiative

Resource Category: Funding

 

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Baltimore Shines - Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore Shines is a Baltimore City initiative that helps low-income residents access solar energy through either rooftop installations or community solar projects in Baltimore, Maryland. The program also expands workforce development opportunities in the solar installation industry. Baltimore Shines pilot projects were used to learn about barriers preventing solar installation in low-income communities and to inform the development of a sustainable financing model to increase access to solar energy. As the initial step to teaching energy affordability awareness, Baltimore Shines had community residents’ homes retrofitted by its close affiliate, Civic Works, which installed energy and water conservation equipment in homes. This program was not income restricted and is open to any Baltimore City homeowner or tenant residing in a house or apartment. Baltimore Shines also incorporated the development of workforce opportunities for underemployed and unemployed Baltimore residents through job-training and job placement. Additionally, Baltimore Shines leveraged a state funding program - the Maryland Community Solar Pilot program - that supported investments in renewable energy projects benefiting low- and moderate- income customers and encouraged private investment in the state’s solar industry with incentives for the investors. The program ultimately lowered bills, increased wages for some of the City’s low-income, under-employed or unemployed residents, and enhanced access to solar for many throughout the city. 

Related Organizations: City of Baltimore, Maryland

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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DC Public Service Commission MEDSIS Initiative, Customer Impact Working Group

2018

The District of Columbia Public Service Commission’s (DCPSC) establishment of the Customer Impact Working Group within the Modernizing the Energy Delivery System for Increased Sustainability (MEDSIS) initiative is a replicable example of how utility commissions are working to invite equitable input in grid modernization efforts. DCPSC initiated the MEDSIS initiative as a means of making the energy delivery system more sustainable, reliable, efficient, cost effective, and interactive for District customers. DCPSC approved the establishment of six working groups to elicit input from a diverse range of stakeholders in order to address key issues related to modernizing the District’s energy delivery system. The Customer Impact Working Group is examining how grid modernization efforts may impact various customers, including exploring questions of customer equity, data protection and privacy, consumer protection, and low- and limited-income customer inclusion. This Working Group will produce recommendations aimed at ensuring that all customers benefit from grid modernization efforts.

Related Organizations: District of Columbia Public Service Commission

Resource Category: Planning

 

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California Public Utilities Commission Clean Energy Research Projects for Low-Income and Disadvantaged Communities

January 2018

The California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) allocates its Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) to fund projects located in and benefiting low-income and disadvantaged communities, which is an example of utility commissions participating in equitable grid investment. EPIC funds come from rates charged to electricity customers of the state utilities and supports investments in clean energy technologies that benefit ratepayers of investor owned utilities. AB 523 directs the California Energy Commission (CEC) to expend at least 25 percent of its EPIC funds for Technology Demonstration and Deployment funding (TD&D) at sites located in, and benefiting, “disadvantaged communities,” and adds an additional requirement that the CEC expend at least 10 percent of its EPIC funds for TD&D at sites located in, and benefiting, low-income communities located in the state. The CPUC approved the allocation of $60 million of its EPIC funding to projects located in and benefiting low-income and disadvantaged communities that are also specifically prioritized for the investment of proceeds from CA’s cap-and-trade program. These investments are aimed at improving public health, quality of life, and economic opportunity in disadvantaged communities, which are defined by AB 523 as those most burdened by pollution from multiple sources and most vulnerable to its effects, considering socioeconomic characteristics and underlying health status.

Related Organizations: California Public Utilities Commission

Resource Category: Funding

 

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