07/20/10

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s “Best in Show”

May 26, 2010 – In response to the increasing stresses of global climate change and energy supply and security issues, policymakers around the globe are seeking innovative strategies for changing the way energy is used.

It is at the local level – within states, provinces, cities, and municipalities – where much of this innovation is occurring, and where many of these strategies are being successfully implemented. These state and local governments possess tremendous power and potential for leading regions, nations and indeed the world toward lower-carbon lifestyles.

The Report

About two years ago, in partnership with the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and with support from the U.S. Department of State, the Alliance – in its role as North American secretariat of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) – began a process to assist local leaders domestically and worldwide by developing a compendium of best practices, ones that shared successful program and policy models that can be replicated around the United States, as well as adapted for implementation in emerging markets.

The practices had to have proven success in creating favorable market conditions for energy efficiency and renewable energy. They also had to demonstrate replicability, relative ease of implementation, measured energy savings, the ability to offset the need for conventional energy, cost effectiveness, greenhouse gas emissions reduction and job creation.

And so, after ten months of research, the Compendium of Best Practices: Sharing Local and State Successes in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy from the United States was created.

The compendium features overviews, lessons learned and best practices, as well as insights from state and local U.S. government leaders who discuss the key elements of their exemplary programs, their lessons learned, and the factors in their programs' successes.

The Practices

The compendium describes more than 20 best practices selected by a panel of U.S., Indian and Chinese energy experts, and includes examples of their effective implementation in states or cities. The practices – which include appliance standards, public benefit funds, wastewater treatment operations and tax incentives, to name a few – are grouped into five broad categories:

  • Policies, rules, and regulations
  • Financial mechanisms
  • Utility regulation and transmission issues
  • State and local efforts to lead by example
  • Low-carbon cities: San Francisco, Austin and Seattle.

One such practice highlighted in the compendium is the streamlined use of Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) in Kansas. The state of Kansas has reduced the hassle-factor and risks for state agencies wanting to increase the energy efficiency of their facilities by providing local facility managers with ready-made contracts, pre-qualified ESCO companies and assistance throughout the entire process. As a result, about 70% of all public buildings in Kansas have made energy improvements.

The Kansas ESCOs example is just one of many in the compendium that can be replicated throughout the United States and in emerging economies to significantly reduce energy use.

This report is made possible in part by the generous support of the U.S. government through the Asia-Pacific Partnership (APP) on Clean Development and Climate. The contents are the responsibility of REEEP, the Alliance to Save Energy and ACORE and do not necessarily reflect the views of any of the APP partner countries.