Beltway Roundup

The big change in Washington, D.C. in January 2015, has been the start of the new Republican-led 114th Congress.

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Spotlight on California

California’s long-standing commitment to the environment has been consistent and creative: we pave the way for the rest of the nation.

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Building a Credit History with Energy Efficiency Loans

Energy efficiency loans reduce the barrier of high initial investment cost of the appliance or installation, but how can lenders in the energy efficiency industry solve other problems faced by families struggling to get by?

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News & Notes

Dr. James R. Schlesinger, the first head of the Department of Energy, passed away on March 27 in Baltimore. He was 85. When Jimmy Carter became president, he named Schlesinger, a Republican, as his top energy policy advisor. Schlesinger’s first task was to organize dozens of small energy agencies, field offices, and research centers into the new, cabinet-level Department of Energy.

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Reaching Energy Efficiency Goals Through Affordable Housing Retrofits

Meeting our nation’s energy demand through efficiency improvements is more cost-effective than investing in new sources of energy generation. Not surprisingly then, states across the country have increased their commitment to energy efficiency programs in order to achieve the environmental and economic benefits that result from these investments.

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News & Notes

In a decision that could have far-reaching impacts on the solar industry, the Arizona Corporate Commission (ACC) voted in November to allow the state’s largest utility to charge a monthly fee to customers who install photovoltaic panels on their roofs.

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Dwindling LIHEAP Funds

At the 125th annual meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, we attended a panel discussion on the decrease in LIHEAP funding over the past several years. Even though decreased LIHEAP funding puts more of our country’s most vulnerable families at risk, the panelists outlined some strategies that states and utilities are using to fill the gaps and supplement dwindling resources.

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Multifamily Energy Efficiency: Reported Barriers and Emerging Practices, A New Report from the Energy Programs Consortium

“Multifamily housing has long been identified as a particularly chal­lenging area for energy conservation.” This sentence may sound like the beginning of one of the numerous reports published on the subject in the last few years. Instead, it comes from a 1995 American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) report surveying papers from the early 1980s that identi­fied opportunities for and barriers to energy conservation in low-income multifamily housing. Nearly 30 years later, papers continue to report and list many of the same barriers identi­fied in the 1980s.

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Closing the Solar Income Gap

Closing the Solar Income Gap

Energy can be costly for everyone, but for those with limited income, utility bills whittle away at already scarce resources. And while energy efficiency measures and renewable energy use—and incentives to encourage them—have been increasingly popular across the country, these technologies and programs may often miss people who could benefit most. Even with incentives and tax breaks, the up-front costs of solar can prevent low-income homeowners from receiving the benefits of lower utility bills.

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News & Notes

President Obama has nominated Ronald Binz, the former head of Colorado’s Public Utilities Commission to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Shortly after his nomination in June, Binz received the endorsement of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).

“He knows how the decisions made in Washington impact ratepayers across the country,” said NARUC president Philip Jones. “A strong federal-state partnership is essential as our nation confronts the numerous challenges ahead, and we are confident Ron, if confirmed, will maintain such a dialogue.”

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