New report shows Pennsylvania's energy savings law working

December 30, 2011

The PennFuture Center for Enterprise and the Environment commissioned a study detailing the impacts of Act 129 on businesses and families within the state of Pennsylvania, according to 90.5 Essential Public Radio.

Act 129 was signed into law in the state on October 15, 2008, and required that Pennsylvania utilities deliver energy efficiency programs that reduce their electric load by 1 percent by May 31, 2011, and by 3 percent by May 31, 2013, according to a report from Optimal Energy.

The report outlined how the program had initial positive results, as Act 129 efficiency programs have already lowered the state's electrical load by a level that is 41 percent higher than the goal set by the founders of the initiative.

According to the report, this represents $278 million in annual savings for taxpayers and will create a lifetime emissions reduction of 23 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, equal to taking 4 million cars off the road for a year. It would also create an estimated 4,000 jobs.

"In the Potential Analysis section of the report, we first characterize the total amount of costeffective, or‚ economic potential in the state of Pennsylvania based on a forecast of growth in statewide electricity consumption and a review of results of similar potential studies in various jurisdiction," the report notes.

Renew Grid reported that Act 129 represents a remarkable change and step forward for energy efficiency in Pennsylvania, and PennFuture believes that a few other policy changes could unlock even more potential in the state in the coming years.

PennFuture also suggests exploring decoupling performance incentives. Decoupling would remove utility disincentives for investing in efficiency, while performance incentives may create a positive motivation for successful utility efficiency programs, according to the news source.

Pennsylvania has emerged as a leader in the field of energy efficiency, especially concerning the reduction of energy consumption in commercial buildings. The Greater Philadelphia region was designated as an innovation HUB for the design and development of energy efficient buildings and technology.

The Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings (GPIC) is headquartered at the historic Philadelphia Navy Yard, where a consortium of organizations will work to produce, test and implement discoveries that are made at the site.