Note: This page is part of the Governor's News Archive, which holds press releases from January 2009 through September 2011. Since October 2011, recent news can be found in the Newsroom and archived news is available at news.delaware.gov.
May 14, 2009
Gov. Markell, Sen. McDowell, and Rep. Longhurst Announce Energy Efficiency Legislation to Save Families and Businesses Money and Spur Economic Opportunity
DOVER -- Governor Jack Markell, accompanied by Senator Harris B. McDowell III and Representative Valerie J. Longhurst, today announced his proposed Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act of 2009 (S.B. 106)– a major component of his CORE Prosperity Agenda for Delaware announced last month in his address to a Joint Session of the 145th General Assembly in Dover. The legislation, which is slated for introduction upon the General Assembly’s return in June, focuses on cost-effective energy efficiency that will bring a broad array of benefits to Delaware residents and businesses.
“Energy Efficiency is one of the best investments that Delawareans can make. Efficiency produces real cost savings, environmental benefits, and economic opportunity. By reducing our energy use, we will have more money to save and spend in our local communities, generating well-paying jobs and greater prosperity for us all,” Markell said.
Research has shown that millions of dollars are wasted on energy in Delaware annually because of inefficiencies. The Governor’s Energy Advisory Council identified that Delaware’s energy consumption per capita is among the highest twenty states in the nation and much higher than our neighboring states. Research by the University of Delaware has shown that some of the most disadvantaged residents (low income families and seniors on fixed incomes) are spending 20% of their total income on energy costs.
Focused attention on energy efficiency and conservation will reduce costs for both Delaware residents and businesses. By using energy more efficiently, Delawareans will have more money to save for the future or spend in their local communities, which will in turn spur the creation of well-paying jobs while simultaneously leading to a cleaner environment by reducing the need for generation. For example, the Delaware Electric Co-op has demonstrated the success of this approach through their “Beat the Peak” program and conversion to smart meters, which saves its members hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The proposed legislation requires the state’s electric and natural gas utilities to achieve a 2 percent electricity consumption savings and 2 percent peak demand reduction by 2011 that will increase to 15 percent by 2015; and natural gas savings of 1 percent by 2011 that will increase to 10 percent by 2015. The legislation is intended to work in tandem with the wide-range of energy efficiency services provided by the Sustainable Energy Utility and the significant resources from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the State Energy Program, Weatherization Assistance Program, and the Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant that Delaware has dedicated to energy efficiency programs. This initiative also complements several pieces of legislation currently working their way through the General Assembly, including energy efficiency building codes, net-metering rules that promote clean renewable generation and renewable rights legislation helping homeowners enjoy the benefits of clean power.
“The cleanest energy is the energy that we don’t use,” said McDowell. “By focusing on energy efficiency first, we will spur economic growth that will bring new businesses and jobs to Delawareans.”
The Governor also took the opportunity to congratulate his Energy Advisory Council (GEAC) on the completion of the new State Energy Plan, which was presented to him in April by Council Chair, David R. Hodas, Professor of Law at Widener University School of Law. The Governor thanked the hundreds of Delawareans that helped craft the plan and noted that many of the ideas adopted in this administration and coming from the General Assembly had their genesis in the discussions and report of the Energy Advisory Council. Highlights of the plan include a strong focus on energy efficiency, increasing renewable energy opportunities, weatherization of Delaware’s housing stock with particular focus on low and moderate income homes, improving how Delaware manages energy policy and capitalizing on Delaware’s strengths in growing a clean energy economy.
“Energy conservation and efficiency are issues that must be an integral part of our economic and environmental strategy going forward, and we must start now,” said Rep. Longhurst, the lead sponsor in the House of Representatives. “Setting goals today will establish a blueprint for current and future leaders of the state to follow as we enact energy, environmental and economic policies.
“This legislation doesn’t just talk about energy conservation and efficiency, it sets specific targets for electric and natural gas companies to reduce energy consumption, which shows that we are serious about accomplishing our goals. By 2015, we will have cut electricity and natural gas consumption by 15 and 10 percent, respectively. That is a huge first step.”