April 18, 2014

Report lays out how Missouri could improve energy efficiency

A Washington non-profit group has released a report on Missouri; a report it only offers to states that it says are positioned to greatly improve their energy independence. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy says the states that are chosen for the States Clean Energy Resource Project are those that don’t scrape the bottom of their energy efficiency rankings, and in which leadership has shown some inclination to make improvements.

Policy Director Suzanne Watson says with a ranking of 43, Missouri could do better, and there are signs that policy makers want to. She says specifically that Governor Jay Nixon, the Public Service Commission and Department of Natural Resources Director Sara Parker Pauley are all looking for ways to improve efficiency.

The report says Missouri could utilize both government- and privately-funded efforts and both voluntary and mandated programs to reduce energy consumption. It estimates electricity use could be cut by 17 percent; natural gas use by 13 percent.

The Council recommends:

  • Research into whether laws or regulations prevent customers from participating in demand reduction programs
  • Offering incentives to utilities for outsourcing demand reduction efforts
  • Use of daily time of use pricing and day-ahead hourly pricing to increase market efficiency
  • Integration of demand reduction programs with energy efficiency programs
  • Pilot testing of time differentiated programs as necessary
  • Planning for at-scale programs throughout rollout periods
  • Customer education as part of demand reduction efforts

Key program offerings by energy providers are also recommended, including air conditioning direct load control, automatic demand reduction programs providing direct load reduction for larger customers, manual interruption options for customers for whom other demand reduction approaches are not feasible and aggressive enrollment of back-up generators in demand reduction programs.

Watson notes the Council met with the state’s utility providers, environmental organizations, universities and others in discussing its recommendations. She says the feedback it received indicated that the report was very thorough and inclusive.

The council’s work in other states has already lead to implementation. She says in Arkansas, the Public Utilities Commission put several recommendations into regulatory force. In other cases, legislatures have taken up recommendations and enacted them.

The report can be viewed on the Council’s website, once a free user profile is created.