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.
July 29, 2009
NEWARK – Gov. Jack Markell signed two pieces of his administration’s energy agenda into law Wednesday at a business that is helping to put Delaware on the leading edge of the Green Economy.
“Placing environmental sustainability at the forefront of our public policy debate creates jobs and opportunities for Delaware residents and companies,” Markell said during a ceremony at WhiteOptics in Newark, which manufactures material that make light fixtures more energy efficient. “We must boldly move forward because 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.”
Senate Bill 59 updates Delaware’s building codes to increase energy efficiency requirements for new buildings and promotes the construction of “zero net energy” homes and office buildings. A “zero net energy” building does not consume more energy than it generates.
Senate Bill 106, the centerpiece of the administration’s energy agenda, requires Delaware’s utilities to reduce their energy consumption 15 percent by 2015, one of the most aggressive targets in the country. The Energy Conservation and Efficiency Act of 2009 also establishes a “loading order” for new energy supplies that requires energy efficiency to be considered before new supply-side resources are obtained (cost-effective renewable before traditional fossil fuels) and identifies energy efficiency as the least expensive way to meet Delaware’s growing energy demands.
“The Energy Conservation and Efficiency Act represents an important step forward,” said Sen. Harris McDowell, D-Wilmington, the chair of the Senate Energy Committee who has long championed alternative energy and conservation programs. “This will encourage more development of renewable energy and will help improve energy conservation which remains an important, but often overlooked resource. The new standards for energy efficiency in Senate Bill 59 represent an investment in new homes that will more than pay for themselves through lower energy bills. It should prove to make homes more affordable, more comfortable to live in and more valuable if they're sold.”
“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 House Majority Whip Rep. Valerie J. Longhurst, D-Bear, the lead sponsor of SB 106 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 new law sets specific targets for electric and natural gas companies to reduce energy consumption, which shows that we are serious about accomplishing our goals.”
Earlier this month, the Governor signed a package of bills that remove obstacles that prevented homeowners from taking advantage of solar and wind power. The legislative package also rewards homeowners and farmers who make that investment by allowing them to sell excess power they generate but do not use.
“My administration’s energy agenda is moving Delaware toward achieving the promise of a green economy — green jobs and careers, opportunities for companies, and savings for residents and businesses — by seizing the opportunities presented by our nation's commitment to energy independence and the growing concern over climate change,” Markell said. “The steps we have taken this year will result in new jobs, money saved and a cleaner environment.”