Workforce Development Opportunity: Energy Savings Performance Contracting Foundational Training
As part of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) and the National Association of State Energy Officials' (NASEO) Return-to-Work Initiative, NASEO and the Energy Services Coalition are offering a no-cost training course, Foundations of Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC). The training is ideal for state and local governments, and other stakeholders from universities, K-12 schools, and hospitals looking to understand the basics of ESPC. The training covers how state and local governments can facilitate investments, and how facility managers can begin the process of enhancing their facility’s energy performance with ESPC. View the recorded training or contact Sam Cramer at email@example.com for more information about state-specific training opportunities.
DOE Awards $27.5 Million to Decarbonize U.S. Water Infrastructure
DOE recently announced awards totaling $27.5 million for 16 water infrastructure projects. Modern technology has the potential to reduce energy use in aging water infrastructure, particularly in wastewater treatment, which demands up to 2% of domestic electricity use each year. These projects, operating in 13 states, have the potential to reduce carbon emissions and water-treatment costs while improving water quality and equity of distribution nationwide. Each team will work to bring new water and wastewater-treatment technologies from the applied research and development stage to commercial readiness.
Partner with Us for DOE’s Advanced Wastewater Energy Savings Accelerator
Wastewater treatment facilities provide tremendous opportunities for energy recovery. DOE’s Sustainable Wastewater Infrastructure of the Future (SWIFt) Energy Recovery Accelerator is accepting new partners until June 2021 and provides customized technical assistance in four critical areas: energy data management, energy efficiency improvements, advanced technology integration, and project financing. Partners receive expert technical and financial training, one-on-one assistance, energy savings resources, data analysis tools, and peer networking opportunities. If your utility or facility is interested in the SWIFt Accelerator, please contact Shannon Zaret at Shannon.Zaret@ee.doe.gov.
Featured Resource: Algae Technology Education Consortium
DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) partnered with the Algae Foundation to create the Algae Technology Educational Consortium (ATEC). ATEC aims to strengthen industry workforce capabilities by focusing on the skills required to support research and development, along with the commercialization of algal products. ATEC is in its fifth year of utilizing a grant from BETO to produce novel educational courses for grades K-12 as well as certificate and degree programs in algal cultivation and biotechnology at community colleges and universities. To date, ATEC’s portfolio of educational programs have reached 96,000 students in all 50 states and 45 countries. Find more opportunities and information on the ATEC website and at BETO's Bioprose: Bioenergy R&D blog.
Increasing Solar Energy Equity
One of DOE’s top priorities is ensuring that all Americans have access to clean energy. To achieve this, the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) is committed to reducing the costs of solar power—a necessary step toward rapidly increasing solar deployment across the country. DOE recently announced a target to cut the cost of solar energy by 60% within the next decade, in addition to nearly $128 million in funding to lower costs, improve performance, and speed the deployment of solar energy systems. SETO is working to ensure solar equity through innovative financing mechanisms, data collection and analysis, and increased access to community solar. Learn more about these approaches, discover resources, and read more about SETO’s research in this area by visiting the Equitable Access to Solar Energy web page.
New Study Sheds Light on Wind Energy, Taxes, Schools
Wind energy development has grown tremendously in the United States in recent years—today, installed capacity is more than 50 times what it was in 1995. Most states tax the property on which wind turbines sit and some of that money flows to school districts, but how much and what are the impacts? To find out, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), University of Connecticut, and Amherst College examined U.S. wind energy projects installed between 1995 and 2016 in 638 school districts across 35 states. They found that wind projects led to substantial increases in school district revenue and expenditures. School districts used these new funds to boost capital spending, rather than increase operating costs at schools.
The study, "School District Revenue Shocks, Resource Allocations, and Student Achievement: Evidence from the Universe of U.S. Wind Energy Installations," is available on the LBNL website.
NASEO Reports Advance Demand Flexibility and GEB Policies, Programs, Procurement
NASEO has released two new reports intended to help states, localities, and others advance grid-interactive efficient buildings (GEBs) and demand flexibility to save money, reduce emissions, strengthen energy reliability and resilience, and deliver other benefits that support policy objectives:
- "Wringing More Value from Building Energy Operations and Upgrades: Monetizing Demand Flexibility in Public and Institutional Facilities" outlines opportunities to include and encourage the use of time differentiation and demand flexibility in public and institutional building operations, procurement, energy savings performance contracting, and emerging energy-as-a-service arrangements to save money and help meet public policy goals.
- "State and Local Building Policies and Programs for Energy Efficiency and Demand Flexibility" examines ways to include demand flexibility in state and local building policies and programs, such as benchmarking and transparency, ratings and labeling, and building performance standards. It also discusses potential avenues to achieve these through building codes, appliance standards, and zoning and land-use regulation.
In association with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), these reports were developed as part of the NASEO–NARUC GEB Working Group. This group, with the support of DOE’s Building Technologies Office (BTO) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), is helping states with resources, information exchanges, and technical assistance to explore GEB benefits, as well as opportunities to inform their development of energy policies, plans, programs, and regulations.
Register for the 2021 Better Buildings Summit: Virtual Leadership Symposium
May 17–20, 2021
Registration is now open for the Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit, which will be held virtually from May 17–20, 2021, and is free to attend. This annual event features plenaries, sector meetups, interactive workshops, special events, and engaging and informative sessions. Come engage with experts on a variety of topics, including technology validation, workforce development, energy burden, carbon reduction, financing, and resilience within communities and critical facilities. View the full detailed schedule and session descriptions to plan ahead and stay tuned for more information about speakers and special events.
Public-sector focused sessions include:
- Addressing Energy Burden in Low-Income Communities (Wednesday, May 19)
- Pathways to Community-Wide Energy Resilience (Thursday, May 20)
- Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Successful Collaboration for Implementing Carbon Reduction Goals (Tuesday, May 18)
- Commercial PACE Toolkit: New Resources to Propel Your C-PACE Program (Tuesday, May 18)
- Local Government Sector Meet-Up (Monday, May 17)
- K-12 Sector Meet-Up (Monday, May 17)
Other sessions and workshops of interest to the public sector include:
- Leading the Way to a Diverse and Qualified Workforce (Thursday, May 20)
- Pathways to Zero: Designing Impactful Carbon Reduction Targets (Thursday, May 20)
- Renewables and Energy Storage: Why Now Is the Time (Wednesday, May 19)
- When Progress Flows: Water Reduction, Reuse, and Creative Solutions (Wednesday, May 19)
Infrastructure Investments in the News
Virginia General Assembly Finalizes Equity-Focused Energy Assistance Program: The Virginia General Assembly recently passed legislation defining the scope of a new energy assistance program for low-income Virginians. The bill provides Dominion and Appalachian Power consumers with a limit on their electric bills as well as weatherization or energy efficiency programs, and energy conservation education programs to further alleviate energy burden.
Energize Delaware Efficiency Loan Program Reaches $1 Million: The Energize Delaware Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program (REELP) has reached the milestone of granting over $1 million in loans to Delaware homeowners. REELP provides low-interest loans to credit-qualified Delaware homeowners of a single-family or duplex property to encourage the installation of energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, efficient water heating systems, and air sealing and insulation retrofits for existing homes.
Missoula County Adopts Energy Efficient Building Policy, Set to Pursue Green Tariff: Missoula County, Montana, approved its first Energy Efficient Building Policy, establishing requirements for any new construction or major renovations of a county-owned building.