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Your source for news and updates related to Department of Commerce agencies and programs.

January 2019 CIP News

1/15/2019 3:06:48 PM

 

CIP News

 

CARD Grant Program Update

The purpose of the Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) Grant Program is to identify new technologies, strategies, and program approaches that utilities can implement to help achieve the annual state energy conservation goal of 1.5% as established by the Next Generation Energy Act of 2007. 


Demand controllers deliver efficiency in commercial hot water use

A CARD-funded field study recently completed by the Center for Energy and Environment characterized domestic hot water (DHW) demand controllers in Minnesota, specifically for hospitality and commercial buildings. This characterization supports incorporating this technology into Minnesota’s Conservation Improvement Program by measuring the energy savings of the demand control system, the reduction in pump run time, the seasonal impacts on energy savings and the occupant, and building owner and installer satisfaction with the controller. Read more.

CARD Webinars  

Next generation of plug control: Tier 2 power strips
Thursday, Feb. 7, 2018, 11:00 a.m. — 12.00 p.m. CT
 
Do you know the extra energy savings potential Tier 2 power strips have over Tier 1? Please join us to learn the results from a CARD-funded field study which investigated the energy savings and user feedback for two different Tier 2 Advanced Power Strips. Greg Marsicek from Seventhwave and Devin Batkiewicz from the Center for Energy and Environment will discuss plug load energy consumption and the impact on overall building energy consumption in order to help attendees identify and overcome implementation difficulties, and to develop a plan for implementing plug load savings strategies.
 
Webinar recording available: Energy Efficiency Potential Study: 2020-2029
On December 17, 2018, Commerce held a webinar to discuss the results and recommendations of the recently completed “Minnesota Energy Efficiency Potential Study: 2020-2029“(pdf). The webinar included an overview of the in-depth data collection and analysis undertaken by the project team, as well as what the results can tell us about the future of utility-driven energy efficiency in Minnesota. 
A recording of the webinar and the presentation slide deck are now available using the following links:
  • Watch the webinar
  • Download the slide deck
The study was led by the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) and funded by a grant from Commerce’s Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) program. Released on Dec. 4, the study’s final report outlines how Minnesota utilities can continue their success with both existing and new energy-saving measures that benefit Minnesota households and businesses.
 
Webinar recording available: The Electrified Frontier: Sharing Results from Stakeholder Interviews
On December 5, 2018, Commerce held a webinar that reported on the results from “The Electrified Frontier” (pdf), a CARD project that interviewed stakeholders, conducted a literature review, and researched technologies on electrification in Minnesota. The research was completed by Michaels Energy and will serve as an introduction to the topic. A recording of the webinar and the presentation slide deck are now available using the following links:
 
News & Reports  

MPCA/Commerce report: More work needed to reduce GHG emissions
Minnesota has made important progress in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but there is more work to be done to achieve the goals of the Next Generation Energy Act, according to “Greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota: 1990-2016,” a biennial report to the Legislature tracking the state’s emissions that contribute to climate change. The report, a joint effort of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Minnesota Department of Commerce, found that Minnesota’s overall GHG pollutants declined 12% relative to 2005 levels, but the state missed the Next Generation Energy Act’s goal of a 15% emissions reduction by 2015.
 
Emissions from electricity used by Minnesotans are down by about 29% since 2005. This means the electricity generation sector has met the Act’s 2015 goal, and has nearly reached the 2025 emissions reduction goal. However, “to achieve our GHG emissions reduction goals, we will need to further reduce emissions from what is now our largest source of in-state emissions, transportation,” the report concludes. “Supporting and promoting the use of EVs, supporting the use of cleaner transportation fuels (such as biofuels), encouraging the use of public and multimodal transportation, and mindful transportation planning are crucial elements in decreasing GHGs from transportation.” Read the full report (pdf).
 
ACEEE lauds role of energy efficiency in MN’s efforts to meet clean energy goals
Minnesota has been receiving well-deserved attention for its ambitious renewable energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals, which aim for 25% of electricity from renewables by 2025 and an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050, according to a recent American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) blog. Minnesota’s largest utility, Xcel Energy, announced plans in December to reduce carbon emissions by 80% from 2005 levels by 2030 and completely eliminate carbon emissions from its power plants by 2050. While renewable energy is the “showhorse” most talked about regarding Minnesota’s efforts, energy efficiency will be a key “workhorse” in achieving those clean energy goals, the blog states. After all, any such goals become easier if energy efficiency reduces the amount of energy required. Minnesota has long been among the national leaders in utility energy efficiency. The Minnesota Energy Efficiency Potential Study (2020-2029) shows that much more opportunity remains for energy efficiency in Minnesota, which should help pave the way for further progress toward renewable energy and climate goals. Read the full blog.
 
Nineteen states, including MN, value clean air, clean lungs in program planning
In a wider push to increase energy efficiency, Minnesota and 18 other states are incorporating health and environmental benefits into the cost-effectiveness testing of utility-run efficiency programs, according to a topic brief by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Quantifying these advantages is a step towards increased funding and broader program offerings. ACEEE’s new topic brief profiles these states and the unique ways they are accounting for the diverse benefits of efficiency. ACEEE looked at four types of benefits: avoided cost of compliance with environmental regulations, improved air quality and other benefits to the environment, public health gains, and improved health of program participants. Most of the 19 states monetize the value of at least one of these benefits based on jurisdiction-specific studies or estimates from other utilities or areas. Other states use substitute methods.
 
ACEEE blog: Energy efficiency remains nation’s least-cost electricity resource
New data by Lazard shows that prices for renewable electricity declined again this year, continuing their downward trend. But the data, released last month, miss another critical clean energy resource, according to a blog report by Maggie Molina, Senior Director for Policy at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Energy efficiency—the kilowatt-hours we avoid by eliminating waste—remains, on average, our nation’s least-cost resource. Efficiency also delivers a host of other benefits. It improves electric grid reliability and resilience, can target savings where and when needed the most, creates jobs, spurs other economic development, reduces customer utility bills, makes homes and buildings more comfortable, and reduces harmful pollution.
 
2019 is final year of 30% Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
This is the final year residents can claim the full 30% federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, so for residents considering a solar energy system (PV or hot water), small wind system, ground source heat pump, or other eligible systems, 2019 is a good time to install it. The current tax credit means a taxpayer may claim a credit of 30% of qualified expenditures for a system that serves a dwelling unit located in the United States that is owned and used as a residence by the taxpayer. The tax credit for all eligible systems will phase down over the next three years from 30% in 2019, 26% in 2020, and 22% in 2021, and it will end in 2022. There is a similar Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC) available for businesses, with a similar phase down schedule. Read more (pdf) about the tax credit and other incentives for renewables.
 

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