Southeast Energy News reports that energy efficiency advocates in Virginia worry regulators will be too conservative when evaluating cost-effectiveness. Here are some excerpts:
Virginia energy efficiency programs will get a $1 billion boost over the next decade, but how much bang for the buck the state gets for that money will hinge on how utilities and regulators decide to spend the money.
The state’s sprawling new energy law, the Grid Transformation and Security Act of 2018, includes a requirement that utilities invest more than $1.3 billion over the next decade in programs that help customers conserve energy.
Virginia’s utilities have historically lagged in efficiency spending. A 2017 report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranked Dominion Energy’s programs 50th among the 51 largest utilities.
In 2015, Dominion Energy spend $31 million on efficiency programs — less than 0.5 percent of yearly revenue. That average for large utilities that year was 2.7 percent of revenue, according to the ACEEE report.
The new law in Virginia commits Dominion to spending $870 million on regulated efficiency programs over 10 years, or about $87 million per year. It also has to contribute $6 million annually to a state weatherization fund...
Harrison Godfrey, executive director of Virginia Advanced Energy Economy, a trade association that advocates for clean energy and efficiency, said he is “not convinced utilities will invest in technologies that are real game-changers,” such as digital meters to help mid-sized customers manage energy use.
See the full Energy News Network story here, and the related Bacon's Rebellion Apr. 27 piece, "Emerging Lines of Conflict in Virginia Energy Policy" here; and Energy Central's Apr. 29 story, "Virginia efficiency programs due for windfall, but will it be well spent?" here.