Quarterly Highlights | April - June 2020

Page 1

QUARTER 2 HIGHLIGHTS: APRIL – JUNE 2020 This quarter, we have added color-coded tags to individual highlights to help you find the news important to you. The tags are: The highlights are organized by energy efficiency policy, which includes COVID-19 updates, energy efficient transportation, and lastly, built environment.

Energy Efficiency Policy National Updates FERC COVID-19 Conference: On July 8 and 9, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) held a virtual technical conference on the impacts of the pandemic on the energy industry. The twoday conference featured four panels and was open to the public. Natural Gas Energy Efficiency Report: A report from Lawrence Berkley National Lab, released on May 13, finds that the cost of natural gas energy efficiency is less than half of the average retail price of natural gas. Climate Crisis Action Plan: On June 30, Congressional Democrats released a climate action roadmap. According to an independent analysis, the Climate Crisis Action Plan would save more than 60,000 American lives every year by 2050 from reduced air pollution, as well as nearly $8 trillion saved through 2050 through health and climate benefits. International Energy Agency (IEA) Report: On June 18, the IEA published its Sustainable Recovery Plan for a clean and resilient energy economy. The report notes that, under the plan, energy efficiency would deliver the largest emissions reductions and create the most jobs. Racial Equity and Diversity: On June 4, Energy Foundation released its racial equity statement; and on June 17, Rose McKinney-James assumed

the role of board chair at the organization and shared her vision for a focus on equity at the foundation. Advocacy Leadership: In June, Green 2.0, a nonprofit focused on environmental issues and racial diversity, named AndrĂŠs Jimenez as executive director. The group also posted an open letter to U.S. environmental foundations about racial justice. Industry Leadership: The Utilities Technology Council board of directors named senior vice president of finance and operations Sheryl Riggs as its president and CEO. Car Rules: See Energy Efficient Transportation Highlights, page 7 Federal Legislation Pertaining to Energy Efficiency HR 2088 would reauthorize the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program HR 4986 would create a Green Climate Fund to authorize funding for climate work HR 5142 would require the federal government to get 100% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050 HR 5221 would set a national goal of achieving 100% clean economy by 2050 S.1706 would encourage the use of energy savings performance contracts

Quaterly Highlights

|

1


S. 2334 would establish a 21st Century Energy Workforce Advisory Board at DOE U.S. Congressional Primary Elections 2020 U.S. House Primary Results – Politico 2020 U.S. Senate Primary Results – Politico

Energy Efficiency Policy Regional Updates Southern Company Diversity: On May 5, Southern Company was recognized as one of the top fifty companies for diversity by DiversityInc, and ranked seventh for supplier diversity. Southern Company Clean Energy Commitment: At the annual stakeholder meeting on May 27, Southern Company announced its goal to reach net-zero emissions across all of its electric and gas operations by 2050. The company also confirmed its intermediate goal to reach 50% emissions reductions from 2007 levels by 2030. Southern Company Subsidiaries Reorganization: On June 16, Southern Company Gas announced three new leadership positions and two new departments with the goal to increase focus on climate action and innovation strategies for the natural gas company. The reorganization also shifted roles of Georgia Power’s customer service and operations groups and consolidated Southern Power, PowerSecure, and Southern holdings under one CEO. Dominion Energy Community Action: On June 4, Dominion announced a $5 million commitment to help community reconciliation and rebuilding efforts across the company’s twenty-state footprint. The funds will support nonprofit organizations advocating for social justice and equality. Grants will also be designated to help minority-owned and small businesses recover from recent disruptions to their businesses.

Duke Climate Plan: On April 28, Duke released its sustainability and climate reports, maintaining that the company is on track to meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions from electricity generation by 50% of 2005 levels by 2030. Decarbonization Recommendations: Former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams leads a new group called the Southern Economic Advancement Project (SEAP). In June, SEAP released a report on state and local decarbonization policies for the South. Plant Vogtle: U.S. District Judge Mark Cohen ruled on June 17 that Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) is legally required to fulfill its contract to purchase nuclear power from Plant Vogtle in Georgia for twenty years. Plant Scherer: On June 26, the JEA board of directors unanimously voted to retire Unit 4 at Plant Scherer, citing projected cost savings of 33% over the lifetime of the new contract. The coal plant, located near Macon, Georgia, will continue to hold the title of the nation’s largest operating coal plant until the fourth unit retires by January 1, 2022. JEA and Florida Power and Light (FPL) have shared ownership of Unit 4; Georgia Power owns the remaining three units. JEA will replace the power load previously served by coal with natural gas through a twenty-year power purchase agreement with FPL. Upon closure of Unit 4, Georgia Power’s Plant Bowen near Euharlee, Georgia will become the nation’s highest-generating coal plant at about 3,400 megawatts of capacity. Southeast Congressional Primary Elections – Ballotpedia Alabama Louisiana Arkansas North Carolina Florida South Carolina Georgia Tennessee Kentucky Virginia Mississippi

Quaterly Highlights

|

2


Southeast Legislative Sessions: Legiscan hosts an updated schedule of state legislature session dates. On the chart, green indicates that the session has started and red indicates that the closing date is subject to change. Regional COVID-19 Summary On May 20, SEEA hosted a webinar on the early impacts of COVID-19 on the Southeast energy sector. Below is a select list of recent resources on topics pertaining to the content addressed in SEEA’s first webinar on COVID-19. Please see SEEA’s COVID-19 Resource Page for more information on disconnection moratoria, commission practices and proceedings, advocate efforts, and more. For impacts on energy code development, see page 11. Workforce Forecast: Research released in April by the American Council on Renewable Energy, Environmental Entrepreneurs, E4TheFuture, and BW Research Partnership found that up to 15% of the clean energy workforce may lose their jobs due to the pandemic. Workforce Impacts and Diversity: A study from the University of Houston discusses workforce impacts based on a survey of over 400 energy employees; the study also notes that almost 63% of the surveyed energy employees are Caucasian. Additionally, a 2019 analysis from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program found that Black employees make up just 10% of the clean energy workforce, compared to 12% of other workforces. According to the same analysis, women account for less than 20% of the clean energy workforce, compared to 47% nationally. Arrearages: A resolution by the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates lists recommendations for utilities, states, and consumer advocates on moratoria, arrearages,

and payment and cost recovery plans. Summer Load Risk Analysis: The North American Reliability Council (NERC) published its 2020 Summer Reliability Assessment on June 2, finding that utilities are prepared to meet summer demand despite uncertainties due to the coronavirus. NERC posted an update on July 7. Market Impacts: On April 14, the Brattle Group published an assessment on the impacts of the pandemic on the electric and natural gas industries. On May 8, ICF released an analysis on initial load declines. An April report from Wood Mackenzie estimates power market disruptions lasting up to eighteen months. Tips for Regulators: On May 20, the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) published an article detailing five tips for utility regulators to help stay on track during the pandemic. Tips for Efficiency Programs: On June 19, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) published a blog post on eight energy efficiency program recommendations to plan for a strong recovery from COVID-19. Electric Cooperatives: The Small Business Administration issued an interim rule on April 2 stating that electric cooperatives are eligible for paycheck protection program loans. According to a study by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association released on April 22, the nation’s electric cooperatives could lose up to $10 billion in revenue due to the pandemic through 2022. Low-Income Weatherization: Utilities and state energy agencies have halted programs that help

Quaterly Highlights

|

3


homeowners and business owners pay for new installations and building retrofits due to health concerns. In a memo, the Department of Energy (DOE) encouraged local nonprofit grantees of the Weatherization Assistance Program to suspend low-income weatherization activities; the vast majority of grantees followed this guidance. Low-Income Legislation: On May 8, the American Public Power Association submitted a letter asking Congress to consider $4.3 billion in supplemental funds for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which it says is critical to providing affordable and reliable power during pandemic conditions. Safe and Healthy Transportation: In June, Green For All released a Safe Transit Report, partner toolkit, and community pledge.

Arkansas Advocacy Leadership: On June 30, after almost four years as the executive director of the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association (AAEA) and the Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation (AAEF), Katie Niebaum, left her roles at the sister organizations. The boards are working together on an executive search. Interested candidates should send inquiries to AAEF board chair and AAEA board member Dr. Douglas Hutchings. Florida Utility Merger: On April 22, FPL announced its merger with Gulf Power will be finalized in 2022. Upon the completion of the merger, FPL will serve forty-three of Florida’s sixty-seven counties. Plants Scherer & Vogtle: See Regional Updates, page 2

Stimulus Strategy: RMI published a paper with recommendations for a zero-carbon recovery. SEEA will continue tracking and regularly communicating COVID-19 updates with members and stakeholders. Please contact policy manager Claudette Ayanaba with comments or questions related to SEEA’s COVID-19 resources.

Georgia Public Service Commissioners: The terms of commissioners Bubba McDonald and Jason Shaw end on December 31. Democrats Daniel Blackman and Robert Bryant will challenge Republicans McDonald and Shaw in the November election.

Energy Efficiency Policy State and Local Updates

Georgia Power COVID-19 Response: Georgia Power is offering a special payment plan to help customers with past-due account balances accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers who enroll will be able to pay late balances over a six-month timeframe between October 2020 and March 2021 with no late fees.

Alabama Public Service Commission: Commission chair Twinkle Cavanaugh’s term expires on November 8. Voters will decide between Cavanaugh and Democrat Laura Casey in general elections on November 3. Commission Meeting: The August meeting of Alabama’s public service commission is scheduled for August 4 at 10am in Montgomery. Physical attendance is discouraged. The meeting will be live streamed.

Nuclear Plant Vogtle: 2,000 of the 9,000 on-site employees were furloughed in mid-April to reduce the spread of the virus among workers. Southern Company reported on April 30 that the pandemic had impacted productivity; however, the company expects to meet the in-service deadlines of 2021 and 2022 for Units 3 and 4, respectively, and has not changed the forecasted

Quaterly Highlights

|

4


capital cost, although external evaluators have expressed concerns. Outside of pandemic impacts, in April, a Fulton County superior court judge dismissed another appeal challenging the project. Docket No. 29849 Demand Side Management (DSM): House Rule 1430, introduced in early March, would create a House Study Committee on Demand Side Management and Energy Use. The House did not move the bill before the end of the legislative session. Resilience and Reliability: On June 15, the National Weather Service recognized Georgia Power as a StormReady supporter, highlighting its attention to disaster preparedness. Kentucky Energy Insecurity: On May 13, Governor Beshear and Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman announced over $600,000 in funding aimed at reducing energy insecurity through the Department of Energy (DOE)’s State Energy Program. Louisiana Utility COVID-19 Response: In April, Entergy New Orleans coordinated with councilmember Cindy Nguyen to distribute residential energy efficiency kits and tips to customers. Mississippi Annual Energy Efficiency Filings: On May 1, Mississippi utilities filed their annual energy efficiency program updates, as required by a January commission order to maintain annual program filings consistent with the old Rule 29 filing deadlines. Docket Nos. 2014-UA-006 (Entergy), 2014-UN-010 (MS Power), 2014-UA-007 (CenterPoint), 2014-UN-017 (Atmos) Resources: The Mississippi public service commission regularly sends newsletters and posts press releases with useful information

for ratepayers and other stakeholders. North Carolina Gubernatorial Race: On November 3, voters will decide between Democratic incumbent Roy Cooper and Republican challenger Dan Forest to serve as the state’s governor. South Carolina Public Service Commission: The terms of commission chair Comer Randall and commissioners Swain Whitfield, Gordon Hamilton, and Butch Howard were originally set to expire on June 30. Due to the pandemic, the legislature has postponed its commissioner election process, likely until sometime this fall or early next year. Dominion Rate Case: Due to the pandemic, deadlines for Dominion’s rate filings and effective date have been postponed. In June, the commission filed a proposed procedural schedule and asked parties to comment accordingly. Dominion is expected to file its rate adjustment proposal by August 15. Docket No. 2020-125-E Santee Cooper: In March, lawmakers drafted a reform bill that would eliminate the positions of Santee Cooper’s current twelve-member board and would create a new, seven-member board appointed by the state government pending new elections. Due to the pandemic, legislators were unable to decide the future of the stateowned utility before the end of the session; the legislature will reconvene in September. However, because of a sine die resolution passed in May, lawmakers will only be able to address matters that are essential to the 2020 budget and the state’s COVID-19 response. Legislators expect to return to the issue in January. In June, Santee Cooper extended the contracts of the CEO and deputy CEO.

Quaterly Highlights

|

5


VC Summer: On May 4, Dominion Energy, which acquired SCANA last year, agreed to pay $25 million to settle a lawsuit saying that the project had misled investors. Tennessee TVA and Local Power Suppliers: On June 9, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced the approval of a merger between two of its local power suppliers, Middle Tennessee Electric and Murfreesboro Electric Department, pending regulatory review. Also on June 9, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy hosted a virtual energy town hall focused on Memphis Light Gas and Water’s IRP and considerations of alternative power supply. On June 22, TVA announced that it will allow its local power suppliers to generate and sell up to 5% of their own power directly to customers. TVA Pandemic Response: Through the deferral of wholesale power payments, TVA will assist local power companies in their efforts to maintain customer power where necessary in the form of $1 billion in credit support.  TVA Leadership: At the end of June, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved nominees Beth Harwell and Brian Noland for the TVA board of directors and Katherine Cryzter for the position of TVA’s inspector general. Virginia Clean Energy Legislation: On March 4, the General Assembly passed the Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparedness Act, which allows the state to become a full participant in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative by establishing a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade program. It also includes a provision to establish an Energy Efficiency Fund. The Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA), passed on March 5, establishes energy efficiency resource standards and a mandatory renewable portfolio

standard for Appalachian Power Company (APCo) and Dominion. Using 2019 sales as a baseline, APCo and Dominion should achieve 2% and 5% savings by 2025, respectively. If the utilities meet these targets, they may receive a financial incentive equal to the general rate of return on common equity. The VCEA also requires the commission to ensure that the development of new energy resources or facilities does not disproportionately impact historically economically disadvantaged communities and to consider the social cost of carbon in new facility construction. Governor Northam signed both acts on April 12. The VCEA fulfills a mandate from last year’s Executive Order 43 and took effect July 1. State Corporation Commission (SCC): On June 9, Governor Northam appointed ex-FERC official Jehmal Hudson to fill the vacancy on the commission. In 2021, legislators will vote to renew Hudson’s service for a full six-year term or to elect a replacement. Hudson is the first Black person to serve on the Virginia SCC. Utility Regulation Legislation: HB 528 restores the commission’s authority to regulate cost recovery of early retirements of power plants, reversing law that was established as part of the Grid Transformation and Securities Act that allowed Dominion to directly recover the remaining balance on an retired power plant instead of refunding excess to ratepayers. The governor’s office approved the measure on April 6 with an effective date of July 1, 2020. Legislation: The passage of HB 1042 this session established the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice with the role of advising the governor and General Assembly on solutions to protect low-income communities of color and integrating environmental justice throughout the state’s policies, programs, and procedures.

Quaterly Highlights

|

6


APCo Energy Efficiency: On May 21, the SCC approved APCo’s three new energy efficiency programs and the associated energy efficiency cost recovery rider. The programs include an incentive program for new housing construction projects to meet ENERGY STAR® standards as well as low-income efficiency programs for both single- and multi-family housing units. APCo estimated that the updated rider will increase the monthly bill for a typical residential customer by approximately 30 cents per month. APCo must file its next rider update filing by September 20. Docket No. PUR-2019-00122 Dominion IRP: On May 1, Dominion Energy filed its 2020 IRP with the SCC. Public witness testimony is scheduled for October 22 and will be held via telephone. Docket No. PUR-2020-0035 Dominion Grid Modernization: After the commission’s March decision to reject the majority of Dominion’s grid modernization proposal, the utility filed a request for reconsideration. The commission denied the petition on April 28. Docket No. PUR-2019-00154 Dominion DSM: On April 30, the SCC held a hearing on Dominion’s 2019 annual DSM filing; reply comments were due by June 30. Commenters included the attorney general’s office of consumer counsel, acting as the ratepayer advocate, and the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council. Docket No. PUR-2019-0021

Energy Efficiency Transportation Regional and National Updates For updates pertaining to COVID-19, see page 3 Car Rules: The Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Year 20212026, proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental

Protection Agency (EPA) in 2018, revokes California’s authority to set emissions standards. On March 30, 2020, the EPA and the DOT published additions to the final car emissions rule, which requires a 1.5% annual increase in the fuel economy of passenger vehicles and light trucks, a reduction from the 5% increase mandated by the Obama administration. The agencies published the final rule on April 30. The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) filed a petition against the rule, contending that the rules are too strict. The Alliance for Automotive Innovation responded on May 22 with a motion opposing CEI’s petition. Subsequently, five major cities and over twenty states filed a legal challenge against the final rule on May 27, saying that it violates the Clean Air Act, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. Ford Motor Co, BMW of North America, American Honda, Rolls-Royce, and Volkswagen Group of America also filed a motion to intervene, citing their collective intent to achieve greater emissions reductions than the rule proposes. Efficient Bus Grants: On June 2, the DOT announced $130 million in grants through the Low-No Emission Grant Program for projects across the country with the aim of increasing access to efficient bus technologies. Alabama: A&M University will receive $2.2 million to purchase zero-emission electric buses, which will replace diesel buses that have reached the end of their useful life. Florida: Gainesville RTS will receive $1.2 million to purchase a new electric bus to replace an existing diesel bus that has reached the end of its useful life, and to modify its existing charging station equipment to support its electric bus fleet. Georgia: Chatham Area Transit will receive about $1.9 million to purchase new electric buses to replace aging diesel buses and associated charging infrastructure.

Quaterly Highlights

|

7


Louisiana: The Capital Area Transit System will receive almost $3.9 million to purchase new electric buses to replace aging vehicles and to support charging infrastructure. Mississippi: The City of Jackson will receive $5.5 million to purchase new diesel electric hybrid buses to replace diesel buses at the end of their useful life expectancy. North Carolina: The Charlotte Area Transit System will receive $3.7 million to purchase electric buses with dedicated charging stations and provide maintenance and first responder training for the new technology. South Carolina: The Greenville Transit Authority (Greenlink) will receive almost $5.3 million to purchase new electric buses and support charging infrastructure. Electric Vehicle Training Funds: On April 6, DOE announced $4.5 million in funding for training programs for distributed energy resource (DER) professionals, including those who deal with electric vehicles (EVs). Ford and Rivian: In April, Ford cancelled plans for an electric SUV that was to be powered by Rivian technology. The companies have maintained their partnership and are evaluating other potential projects; Alexandra Ford English, great-great granddaughter of Henry Ford and the company’s director of corporate strategy, joined Rivian’s board of directors, effective May 1. In addition, Ford announced on June 24 its goal to reach carbon neutrality across global operations by 2050, as well as an investment of $11.5 billion in EVs. Lyft Fleet: On June 17, ridesharing company Lyft announced its goal for all cars on its platform to be electric by 2030. Charging Routes: On June 24, Electrify America announced the completion of its first crosscountry EV charging route from Washington, DC to Los Angeles, CA.

Retail Charging: At a May webinar hosted by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, a panel described the benefits of co-location of EV charging stations with other retail facilities. The panel included representatives from Atlas Public Policy, Georgia Power, and EVgo. Charging Market Report: New research from Guidehouse finds that the EV charging market could reach almost $16 billion in revenues in 2020 and more than $60 billion by 2030. Charging Industry Report: A study released on June 24 predicts that utilities will need to spend between $75 billion and $125 billion over the next decade on infrastructure in order to accommodate the growing EV market. The report by the Brattle Group estimates that utilities will find the need for 95 terawatt-hours of additional demand each year by 2030 and will have to add 10 to 20 gigawatts of peak power demand to the grid. Zero Emission Trucks: On June 17, CALSTART, a national clean transportation nonprofit, released a statement of principles on federal policy initiatives through the National Zero Emission Truck Coalition. Truck Emissions Standards: In a schedule released on June 30, the EPA says that it plans to issue a final rule for the Cleaner Trucks Initiative by July 2021. Misinformation: Several petroleum trade groups recently established the Transportation Fairness Alliance campaign, which challenges the benefits of utility- and state-led EV efforts. Industry partners have created a counter campaign to respond to false messages. INVEST in America Act: On June 18, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved the INVEST in America Act, which would reauthorize the FAST Act and allocate $350 million in annual funding to EV charging and hydrogen fueling stations.

Quaterly Highlights

|

8


Federal Legislation Pertaining to EVs and Infrastructure: HR 5700 would task DOE and DOT with creating a plan to establish a network of highspeed chargers by 2025 HR 5751 aims to increase access to EV chargers in low-income communities HR 5545 would authorize over $6 billion annually in rebates and grants over the next decade to encourage states to construct and deploy charging and other infrastructure S. 2873 would extend clean energy credits and create tax incentives for EVs and storage S. 2302 aims to improve transportation infrastructure resiliency and reduce highway emissions, among other provisions

stations and to establish a corresponding rate structure for the purchase of electricity from those stations. Docket No. 20200170-EI Georgia Battery Manufacturing: In April, SK Innovation announced its plans to build a second EV battery factory in Jackson County and increase its capital investment in the project to $2.5 billion with a 2023 operational target date. North Carolina VMT: On June 25, the General Assembly passed House Bill 1087, authorizing the Department of Environmental Quality to allocate $31 billion of their VMT Phase I funds. The funds will support the DOT’s implementation of the Motor Fleet Plan and its efforts to reach 80,000 EVs in the state. Virginia Time-of-Use Rates: On May 20, the SCC approved Dominion’s plan for a time-of-use rate pilot program. Docket No. PUR-2019-00214

Energy Efficiency Transportation State and Local Updates Florida Highway EV Charging Legislation Signed: On June 9, Governor DeSantis signed SB 7018 into law, mandating more electric vehicle charging infrastructure to be installed along the state’s highways. The legislation directs the state energy office, FL Public Service Commission and the FL Department of Transportation to present the governor and legislature with a roadmap for the charging infrastructure expansion by July 1, 2021.

Virginia SCC Request for Information: On March 24, regulators issued a request for input on the existing and projected growth of EVs in the state. Specifically, regulators sought feedback from utilities, companies, organizations, and residents on the affordability and reliability impacts of increased levels of EVs and related infrastructure and policy needs. The comment period ended on June 23. Docket No. PUR-2020-00051

Florida VMT Funds: In early July, the governor announced that $8.5 million in funding from the state’s Volkswagen Mitigation Trust (VMT) funds will be dedicated to highway charging stations.

Built Environment Regional and National Updates For updates pertaining to COVID-19, see page 3

Florida EV Roadmap: The state energy office launched Florida’s EV Roadmap process and held webinars to gather stakeholder input in May. Florida Charging Pilot: On June 19, FPL filed a proposal for a five-year pilot program that includes plans for FPL to operate EV charging

Federal Legislation Pertaining to the Built Environment: HR 3962 would update national building codes to increase efficiency in residential and commercial buildings, a change that could save $51 billion through energy bills through 2050, according to a report by ACEEE HR 2041 would reauthorize DOE’s

Quaterly Highlights

|

9


Weatherization Assistance Program HR 2119 would reauthorize grants for energy efficiency in public buildings HR 3962 would strengthen national model building codes HR 2741 would provide funds for energy efficiency retrofits, among other provisions HR 4646 would extend the new home energy efficiency tax credit to more builders HR 4506 would reinstate and extend the energy efficiency tax credit for residences HR 3702 would require communities to use stronger building codes when using federal funds to restore damaged structures S. 2335 would support the transition to smart buildings S. 2588 would increase the energy efficiency home upgrade tax credit Building Technology Training Funds: On April 6, DOE announced $4.5 million in funding for training programs for distributed energy resource (DER) professionals, including those who deal with smart building technologies. Resilience and Regulation: Researchers at DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are developing metrics to quantify the value of grid resilience. According to a senior resilience analyst at NREL, regulators evaluate costs and benefits for reliability investments, but not for resilience investments, which limits the understanding of the value of utility system resilience. Climate Impacts: In June, E&E News published an analysis of climate impacts on minority communities using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In the ten counties deemed most vulnerable to natural disasters and pandemics by

the CDC, minorities make up on average 81% of the population, while minorities account for 39% of the U.S. population. In the ten counties that NOAA rates as the most vulnerable to extreme heat, the population is on average 67% minority – and seven of those counties are in the Southeast. CDC and NOAA both define vulnerability as a community’s resilience to extreme events and they measure it using data such as income, education levels, housing, and demographics. Additional data collected by FEMA suggests Black communities have already suffered disproportionately from hurricanes, floods and other major disasters. FEMA has distributed $22 billion in emergency funding since 2004 to people in areas that were hit by a major disaster and declared eligible for federal aid. Nearly 24% of that money was needed in ZIP codes where a majority of the population is Black, while these majority-Black ZIP codes account for just 6% of the overall U.S. population. Building Codes Study: An April FEMA study found that strong building codes, including energy codes, in Florida and California will save the country’s most disaster-prone states $1 billion annually. Better Buildings Initiative: In its annual report, released June 9, DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative reported nearly $11 billion in savings since its inception a decade ago. Building Performance Standards: On June 22, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released a report on the ways that building and energy codes can help jurisdictions to meet long-term energy savings and emissions goals. Space Heating Electrification: On June 25, ACEEE published a report on programs aimed at electrifying space heating in residential and commercial buildings.

Quaterly Highlights

|

10


Built Environment State and Local Updates Florida Resilience: On April 10, Duke Energy Florida, Tampa Electric Company, Gulf Power Company, and Florida Power & Light filed grid hardening plans. Docket Nos. 20200069 (Duke), 20200067 (TECO), 20200070 (Gulf), 20200071 (FPL)

Virginia: Sub-working groups continued meetings through April and paused in May as pandemic conditions in the state escalated. Virtual working group and board meetings resumed in June.

North Carolina Resilience: All twenty counties in the states coastal management zone stated that COVID-19 has factored into their plans for the upcoming hurricane season. In June, the Department of Environmental Quality released its Climate Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan. Energy Codes Alabama: The state has delayed its consideration of the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) because the code books used by the Alabama Energy and Residential Codes Board to inform their decision were delayed in shipping. Matters are further complicated by the requirement of a physical quorum for the Board to convene, which is not possible with current restrictions.  Arkansas: Stakeholder and working groups have been convening remotely. The draft code is expected to be available for public participation in quarter 3. South Carolina: The energy code working group is virtually collaborating with stakeholders to update the state’s commercial energy code to the 2018 IECC. The group is not considering an update to the state’s residential energy code at this time. Tennessee: The City of Nashville has continued to hold their stakeholder and working group meetings remotely to consider the adoption of the 2018 IECC.

Quaterly Highlights

|

11


50 Hurt Plaza, Suite 1250 Atlanta, GA 30303 404-856-0723 info@seealliance.org seealliance.org