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Commerce hosts first Energy Savings Goal stakeholder meeting

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Jessica Burdette presented to about 100 participants at the first Energy Savings Goal stakeholder meeting on Oct.17 in Saint Paul.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce on Oct. 17 hosted the first public stakeholder meeting to address a series of issues related to Minnesota’s energy savings goal. Current Minnesota energy policy calls for the State to achieve annual energy savings of at least 1.5 percent of annual retail energy sales of electricity and natural gas, based on the Legislature’s finding that “energy savings are a resource, and that cost-effective energy savings are preferred over all other energy resources” (House File 729, 4th Engrossment, Article 12, Section 8).

The first stakeholder meeting was held at the Wilder Foundation in Saint Paul and attracted more than 100 attendees. After a welcome by Commerce Deputy Commissioner Bill Grant, Jessica Burdette, CIP unit supervisor for the Division of Energy Resources (DER), and Marty Kushler, senior fellow at American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, presented background and contextual information.

Energy Center of Wisconsin (ECW), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the wise use of energy resources, moderated a discussion among a panel of eight utility representatives and energy policy experts and a question-and-answer session with attendees. The discussion focused on the following topics that are listed in the authorizing legislation:

  • Topic 1: Current and future strategies to maximize long-term cost-effective energy savings and minimize energy waste 
  • Topic 2: Current and future strategies to maximize carbon reductions and economic benefits through increasing efficiency in all market sectors 
  • Topic 3: Current and future strategies to minimize utility costs and rate impacts for ratepayers in all market sectors 
  • Topic 4: Determination of how achievement of the state’s energy conservation goals and renewable energy goals are considered in the existing integrated resource planning and certificate of need processes 
  • Topic 5: Determination of the appropriate utility financial incentive levels to meet the state’s energy conservation and renewable energy goals

The process continued with small technical workgroup meetings on Oct 21, 23, and 25. The technical workgroups discussed strategies for energy efficiency in the industrial sector and combined heat and power. Attendees discussed straw man proposals offered by DER to initiate discussion as well as comments on those proposals from stakeholders.

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Steve Kihm, research director for ECW, presented at the first Industrial Energy Efficiency Technical Workgroup on Oct. 21 in Saint Paul.

Information about registering for the final stakeholder meeting on Nov. 4 is available. An agenda will be forthcoming. The process will culminate with a report to the Legislature on findings and recommendations on the state’s energy savings goal.  The final report to the Legislature is due Jan. 15, 2014.