- A new report from the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project finds rural electric cooperatives are a mixed bag when it comes to energy efficiency, largely depending on whether state policy directs co-ops to meet efficiency targets.
- The solution may be to have more "effective statewide legislation," regulatory support and deveoping a program design, the report concludes, with minimum savings requirements and integrated resource plan filings.
- In states with an Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS), cooperatives are largely hitting efficiency savings of 1% of retail sales. In states where cooperatives develop their own voluntary goals, the numbers are much lower.
A new report from the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project does not broadly call out rural electrical cooperatives for efficiency failings, but it highlights weaknesses at a handfull of power providers and suggests policy changes could push greater energy savings.
"The data demonstrates that in states where cooperatives are regulated by EERS, with the exception of Arizona, cooperatives achieve maximum savings levels at 1.00% or higher," the report concludes.
Additionally, in states with a strong collective program design and implementation infrastructure, whether sponsored by a state or created by a group of cooperatives working together, "cooperatives have saved more than those states where [rural electric cooperatives] (RECs) develop and operate programs independently."
Energy Central reports on the report's recommendations, including states taking legislative action to bolster efficiency efforts at cooperatives, and using an integrated resource planning process to push energy saving initiatives. Effective programs leadership and an emphasis on least-cost resources are also keys to promoting efficiency, the report found.
Rural cooperatives the Southwest "have invested in some programs to help their customers save energy, but in general REC energy efficiency programs in the Southwest achieve less savings as a percentage of sales compared to the programs offered by the IOUs in the region," the report found.