ComEd Energy Efficiency Program Saves $5 Billion
Top consumer smart energy news hand-selected and brought to you by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative.
As a result of an energy efficiency program first launched in 2008, ComEd recently announced that its customers have saved more than $5 billion on their energy bills. This announcement, timed for National Energy Efficiency Day, also showcased the sheer scope of environmental savings. These efforts, which include more than 35 separate offers, yielded 53 billion pounds of CO2 emissions reductions and helped power 5.2 million homes for a year.
In a bid to slash emissions, Austin Energy was just beginning to utilize a new carbon price adder when COVID-19 hit. The mechanism would limit coal dispatch and eliminate thousands of tons of carbon emissions. Despite a pandemic that has upended traditional ways of doing business and forced the utility to turn its focus from energy to employee and customer health, the clean energy strategy has worked.
As utilities around the country plan for more energy storage on the grid, a battery system in rural Illinois that’s been up and running since 2017 can provide some lessons. Thebes, Illinois is in the far southwest corner of the state, wedged between the Mississippi River and rugged hillsides – geography that makes it difficult for Ameren Illinois to provide reliable electric service for the town’s roughly 330 residents.
Duke Energy announced plans to bring its gas operations to net-zero methane emissions by 2030, increase its renewable energy output and retire some of its coal plants earlier than planned. The utility plans to double its renewable energy portfolio capacity to 16 GW by 2025, at least triple the amount for its regulated subsidiaries by 2030. The company also plans to reach 40 GW for its regulated subsidiaries by 2050, along with 11 GW of storage across its system by that time.
Solar power is the “new king” of global electricity markets, with the International Energy Agency calling it the cheapest form of electricity in history in its annual centerpiece World Energy Outlook report. Solar’s ascent and coal’s decline have been rapid by the standards of the electricity industry. Just a decade ago, in its 2010 Outlook, the IEA called coal “the backbone of the global electricity system.”
EV charging management company EV Connect announced its Partner Program to expand access to EV charging stations and improve their maintenance. BTCPower, EVBox and EVoCharge were named the initial program partners. Through the new EV Connect Manufacturer Portal, the partners can provide manufacturers with insight into charging stations' performance, meaning maintenance can be managed more quickly and proactively, in a bid to ensure that charging station availability is not affected by downtime.
The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources is launching a $1.5 million pilot program to provide energy storage incentives paired with renewable energy systems. State officials explain that both residential and commercial projects are eligible for this program. To qualify, all proposed energy storage systems must be paired with a new renewable installation. They must also meet the technical requirements of National Grid’s demand response program.
Utilities operating fossil-fueled power plants and the low-income and disadvantaged communities that face the brunt of their pollution may have a new model for resolving their differences. On Tuesday, the New York Power Authority signed a landmark agreement with the Peak Coalition, a group of five environmental justice and clean energy groups, to study ways to replace or reduce emissions from NYPA’s six gas-fired peaker plant sites in New York City and Long Island.