States take more action on energy efficiency

DOE and EPA start up a state-led network with the aim of improving energy efficiency.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

Instead of going it alone, states across the nation will now be able to share energy efficiency ideas more formally through the State Energy Efficiency (SEE) Action Network (aka SEE Action Network).

The idea is to help drive "maximum" improvements in all sorts of places -- from homes to industry -- over the next decade. Pretty much everyone is convinced that the first step to clean energy is cutting usage and addressing efficiency needs upfront. This, in turn, saves money, which can be invested back into alternative and renewable energy options for the future.

SEE Action Network is a joint project of the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It is meant to provide both policy and best practices support, as states move to encourage consumers and businesses to drive higher levels of energy efficiency. Among the first priorities for the network, which is the focus of its initial workgroups, are:

  1. Providing best practices and national "protocols" for residential energy efficiency programs
  2. Developing an idea exchange for the financing part of the equation
  3. Offering alternatives for measurement and verification of reductions or energy-efficiency goals
  4. Disseminating information about the impact of energy efficiency -- in other words, answering the common question, "Why should I care about this?"
  5. New insights on the impact of information on customer decisions

The network, which will have its first meeting in March 2010, will follow the ambitious goals set out in the  National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency, which has a 2025 target deadline in mind for making quantum leaps in energy efficiency across the country. The goals range from public policy wish lists, such as strong state policies that are support of energy efficient practices, to those that encourage industry to get on board, such as an update to utility billing systems that provide consumers and businesses with much more granular information about energy usage.

The new SEE Action Executive Group will meet for the first time in early March. A number of working groups will continue to meet throughout the year to deliver results on specific goals.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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