The Energy Efficiency Resource Management Council (EERMC) voted last month to approve National Grid's Three-Year Energy Efficiency Plan.
Many stakeholders, including the Office of Energy Resources, the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers, the Energy Efficiency Resource Management Council and others, participate in the creation of both annual and three-year energy efficiency plans.
The plan creates a framework for delivering cost effective energy efficiency measures for all Rhode Islanders over the next three years.
Energy efficiency is defined as achieving the same output while using less energy. For example, an LED lightbulb produces the same amount of light as an incandescent, but it uses far less energy to do so.
In Rhode Island, our largest utility, National Grid, is required by law to invest in energy efficiency if implementing energy efficient technologies is less expensive than purchasing more power. Due to New England's perpetually high energy prices, energy efficiency has consistently been less expensive than purchasing more power. Therefore, National Grid offers incentives and rebates for energy efficient technologies such as LED lightbulbs, home insulation, programmable thermostats and more.
National Grid has proposed some exciting new offerings for customers and outlines a new future of energy efficiency within its Three-Year Plan. Highlights include:
- New carbon emission reduction strategies including incentives for electric heat pumps (a more efficient technology for heating and cooling homes) and additional offerings for customers with oil or propane heating systems.
- Increased efforts to provide customers with appropriate financing options for energy efficiency projects.
- Greater emphasis on reaching more income-eligible and moderate income customers.
- Strategies to improve customers' ability to monitor and control their energy use and actively interact with the grid.
- Enhanced technical and financial support for new construction "zero energy" buildings - buildings that produce as much energy as they consume over the course of a year.
National Grid also highlighted the economic and environmental benefits of energy efficiency and touted the transformation of the lighting market, particularly the increased affordability of LEDs, as important program successes. The plan predicts that energy efficiency programs from 2018 to 2020 will:
- Provide more than $1.6 billion in benefits over the life of the installed measures.
- Avoid the emission of 3.7 million tons of carbon over the lifetime of the installed measures, the equivalent of removing 709,000 cars from our roads for one year.
- Add over $328.5 million to Rhode Island's gross state product.
- Create more than 4,822 job-years of employment.