The 2017 Utility Energy Efficiency Scorecard

Download the document.

This first edition of the Utility Energy Efficiency Scorecard assesses the 51 largest US electric utilities across a range of energy efficiency metrics. The metrics fall into three categories critical to utility-sector efficiency: (1) quantitative savings and spending performance, (2) program diversity and emerging areas, and (3) targets, business models, and evaluation. Eversource MA and National Grid MA both performed best, tying for the top spot. The other top 10 utilities include Pacific Gas & Electric, Baltimore Gas & Electric, Eversource CT, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & and Electric, Commonwealth Edison, Portland General Electric, Xcel Colorado, and Xcel Minnesota. The Scorecard gives utilities, regulators, and other stakeholders a baseline and roadmap they can use to track performance and strengthen utility-sector energy efficiency.

 

Proposed federal budget and its impact on energy and environment: A roundup

Below is a roundup of some of the most recent stories about the effect of President Trump’s proposed budget on energy and environmental agencies. I’ll do additional roundup posts as more information becomes available.

Green Report on Status of Environmental Agency Budgets

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State environmental agencies operate the majority of federally delegated and authorized programs and manage funds to implement related environmental regulations. In July 2016, ECOS sought state environmental agency budget data (EAB) for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. ECOS received 48 responses.

This ECOS Green Report provides information on state EABs for fiscal years (FY) 2013, FY2014 and FY2015, and focuses on changes and trends in these budgets, including analysis of changes to the three main funding sources: state general funds, federal funding, and fees or other sources.

Storm Lake Times Pulitzer winner: ‘They give you 15 grand. That’s worth it.’

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

The Pulitzer Prizes are committed to rewarding works of original and important journalism. Monday they credited this line, from the Storm Lake Times of Iowa: “It scares the bejeebers out of taxpayers, especially in defendant counties,” wrote Art Cullen in one of the pieces that secured the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Cullen is editor of his 3,000-circulation newspaper, and as such, he can write “bejeebers” whenever he pleases: “The style guides is whatever we come up with. We have no style or class,” Cullen told the Erik Wemple Blog.

Whatever term you choose, Cullen and his small newspaper have scared something out of the powers that be in a few counties of northern Iowa. Since the founding of the Storm Lake Times in 1990, says Cullen, he and his brother John have been obsessed with how Iowa has changed its mode of agriculture. Gone are the cattle and grazing pastures, he says — they’ve been herded into feed lots. Meantime, the landscape has been gobbled up by expanses of corn and soybeans. With the changeover has come nitrate pollution. One of the first stories that the newspaper did, he recalls, reported how its coverage area had become “the hottest spot in Iowa for nitrate pollution.”

The ‘Job-Killing’ Fiction Behind Trump’s Retreat on Fuel Economy Standards

Read the full story at Yale Environment 360.

The Trump administration is expected to roll back the fuel economy standards that were a signature achievement of the Obama administration. The move won’t save auto industry jobs, but it will increase air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

From China’s Coal Consumption to a Melting Arctic, Here Are the Biggest Environmental Stories to Watch This Year

Read the full story in Pacific Standard.

This is likely to be a pivotal year in the fight to halt global climate change and all of its effects. Here, in no particular order, are some of the top stories to keep an eye on in the new year.