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December 19, 2011

News You Can Use is a daily compilation of news clips related to energy efficiency. If you would like to submit an article for consideration, particularly one of interest to the Alliance Associates, please forward it to Alex Straub at the Alliance to Save Energy.

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FROM THE ALLIANCE
1. Congress Votes to Keep America ‘In the ‘Dark Ages’ of Lighting
  Dec 16, 2011 Alliance to Save Energy  
Statement by Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan
ALLIANCE IN THE NEWS
2. Industry: Light bulb war a dim idea
  Dec 18, 2011 Politico  
Big Business usually loves it when the GOP goes to war over federal rules.
ASSOCIATES IN THE NEWS
3. Link Your Utility Bill On Facebook and Compete With Friends On Energy Efficient Behavior
  Dec 18, 2011 www.ecopreneurist.com  
OPower works with your utility company and send you a bill that compares your electricity use with that of your neighbors. It then suggests ways you can become more energy-efficient. But now, it is trying to heat up the competition by allowing you to compete with your friends on Facebook.
4. New Codes Aim to Cut Energy Use
  Dec 17, 2011 The Texas Tribune  
The opportunity for savings — and to draw down some energy-related federal stimulus dollars — has spurred action. In January, Texas will adopt a building code that should cut the energy consumption of new single-family homes by more than 15 percent, according to the Energy Systems Laboratory at the Texas A&M University System.
AROUND THE STATES
5. Updating Rates Key to Energy Efficiency
  Dec 19, 2011 The Arizona Republic  
On the cusp of its 100th birthday, Arizona is facing an aging energy infrastructure that is unprepared for a sustainable future. The situation, however, creates an opportunity for decision making that can transform how energy is produced, supplied and sold.
6. Nebraska's 2 largest cities move ahead with joint program offering energy-efficiency grants
  Dec 18, 2011 www.therepublic.com  
Nebraska's two largest cities are moving ahead on a joint program to promote energy efficiency.
7. NYSERDA Recognizes 8 Engineering Firms and Agencies for Achievements in Energy Efficiency in Multifamily Buildings
  Dec 17, 2011 www.getenergysmart.org  
Awards from NYSERDA’s Multifamily Performance Program Honor Outstanding Results in Energy Savings for New Construction and Existing Buildings
AROUND THE GLOBE
8. 2050 roadmap to re-boot stalled energy efficiency talks
  Dec 19, 2011 www.euractiv.com  
Denmark, which takes over the EU's rotating presidency on 1 January, is likely to use the European Commission's Energy Roadmap 2050 as a tool to push through an agreement on the stalled Energy Efficiency Directive.
9. Small changes yield big energy savings for Canadian companies
  Dec 18, 2011 www.theglobeandmail.com  
In their drive for productivity improvement, managers at the St. Marys Cement Inc. plant in Bowmanville, Ont., have put their operation on a strict energy diet, and in the process shaved $1-million off annual operating costs.
EDITORIAL
10. Beyond Durban
  Dec 16, 2011 New York Times  
Though Durban has kept the collective process alive, the work of actually cutting emissions will fall to individual nations, especially the big emitters, to take the initiative. In America, the Obama administration has proposed huge increases in automobile efficiency, as well as tough clean air regulations that will mothball a lot of coal-fired power plants. Additional progress may occur in states like California with ambitious programs to encourage energy efficiency and alternative fuels.
1. Congress Votes to Keep America ‘In the ‘Dark Ages’ of Lighting
  Dec 16, 2011 Alliance to Save Energy  
Washington, D.C., December 16, 2011 – “Last night, Congress voted to prohibit the Department of Energy from spending money to enforce a law that it ‘put on the books’ in 2007, namely technology-neutral, light bulb efficiency standards that can save Americans money and energy. By attempting to reverse itself, the Congress is putting into jeopardy significant savings for consumers – $12 billion dollars a year – as well as the enormous potential benefits to the country – annual reduction in electricity use equivalent to 30 power plants and reduction in pollution equivalent to that produced by 14 million cars.

 

“The enactment of the light bulb standards in 2007 was supported by members from both sides of the political divide and was signed into law by President George W. Bush. And, importantly, the standards reflected the input and consensus of light bulb manufacturers who continue to support this money and energy-saving law.

 

“To reap the full benefits of the law, we must give the Department of Energy the ability to enforce it. Doing so will help protect manufacturers that have been working since 2007 to ensure that a huge variety of new, efficient, money-saving lighting products – including halogen incandescent bulbs and highly-efficient CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) and LEDs (light-emitting diodes) – are available to consumers as we begin the transition to better lighting.

 

“When consumers try the new bulbs, they are overwhelmingly pleased with them. Two-thirds of Americans support the lighting standard (61% call it a good law), and 84% are satisfied or very satisfied with the alternative bulbs, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll (February 2011). According to a Consumer Reports survey, 77% of consumers selected an efficient product the last time they changed a light bulb.

 

“The Alliance to Save Energy is chagrined that the Congress is seeking to keep America ‘in the dark ages’ of lighting even as the rest of the world -- led by China, Europe, Australia -- marches forward toward better and more efficient lighting products.”

 

The Alliance to Save Energy is a coalition of prominent business, government, environmental and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide to benefit consumers, the environment, the economy and national security.

 

Media Contact:

Ronnie Kweller 202-530-2203; rkweller@ase.org

 

 
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2. Industry: Light bulb war a dim idea
  Dec 18, 2011 Politico  
By: Robin Bravender

 

Big Business usually loves it when the GOP goes to war over federal rules.

 

But not when it comes to light bulbs.

 

This year, House Republicans made it a top priority to roll back regulations they say are too costly for business. Last week, the GOP won a long-fought battle to kill new energy efficiency rules for bulbs when House and Senate negotiators included a rider to block enforcement of the regulations in the $1 trillion-plus, year-end spending bill.

 

The rider may have advanced GOP talking points about light bulb “freedom of choice,” but it didn’t win them many friends in the industry, who are more interested in their bottom line than political rhetoric.

 

Big companies like General Electric, Philips and Osram Sylvania spent big bucks preparing for the standards, and the industry is fuming over the GOP bid to undercut them.

 

After spending four years and millions of dollars prepping for the new rules, businesses say pulling the plug now could cost them. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association has waged a lobbying campaign for more than a year to persuade the GOP to abandon the effort.

 

Manufacturers are worried that the rider will undermine companies’ investments and “allow potential bad actors to sell inefficient light bulbs in the United States without any fear of federal enforcement,” said Kyle Pitsor, the trade group’s vice president of government relations.

 

So, if industry wants these rules, why is the GOP grinding them to a halt? Republicans say they’re pro-choice when it comes to light bulbs.

 

Conservative groups and tea party favorites in the House, including GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, have accused the government of a heavy-handed attempt to ban incandescent bulbs and limit consumer freedom.

 

“This wasn’t a light bulb manufacturer to me; this was an issue of the fundamental freedom of the American people and one more area where the federal government was encroaching in a place where it didn’t belong,” said Texas Rep. Michael Burgess, who has backed multiple efforts to block the standards.

 

The rules — authorized under a 2007 energy law signed by President George W. Bush — call for incandescent light bulbs to be 30 percent more energy efficient. They’re still slated to take effect Jan. 1, but the rider blocks funding for the Energy Department to enforce the rules through Sept. 30.

 

 

Limited-government groups and conservative pundits have waged an aggressive campaign to upend the standards.

 

“The American people don’t like being told what to do,” said Thomas Schatz, president of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, which has lobbied Congress on the issue. “I’m glad I get to keep my light bulbs.”

 

Other conservative groups like FreedomWorks, the National Taxpayers Union and Americans for Prosperity have also embraced the cause.

 

Lighting manufacturers and advocates of the rules say that they’ve been falsely portrayed by conservatives and won’t take incandescent bulbs off the shelves.

 

The controversy over bulbs has spurred an unusual mix of lobbyists to get involved.

 

The Lupus Foundation of America has lobbied both chambers of Congress on a bill aimed at blocking the new standards, warning that lupus patients could suffer if incandescent bulbs become tougher to find.

 

Maggie Maloney, a spokeswoman for the foundation, said there have been indications that fluorescent lights can contribute to lupus flares. “We think it’s important that people with lupus to have options,” she said.

 

A host of other groups are pleading for Congress to keep the rules intact. Lobbying over light bulbs has soared over the past year as environmentalists, energy efficiency advocates and others have flooded Congress.

 

Light bulb lobbying has been reported in more than three dozen filings so far this year, according to federal reports. That’s compared with just three filings between 2007 and 2010 that mentioned light bulbs.

 

Other groups that have lobbied on bulb legislation in the past year include Puget Sound Energy, Sempra Energy, Edison International, MidAmerican Energy, the League of Conservation Voters, the National Association of Electrical Distributors and the Alliance to Save Energy.

 

Congressional energy aides on both sides of the aisle say they haven’t heard from any industry groups seeking a repeal of the lighting standards.

 

“The only people we are aware of who have opposed the bulb standards are some politicians and some conservative commentators,” said Bill Wicker, a spokesman for Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.).

 

 

 

 
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3. Link Your Utility Bill On Facebook and Compete With Friends On Energy Efficient Behavior
  Dec 18, 2011 www.ecopreneurist.com  
OPower works with your utility company and send you a bill that compares your electricity use with that of your neighbors. It then suggests ways you can become more energy-efficient. But now, it is trying to heat up the competition by allowing you to compete with your friends on Facebook.

 

Ogi Kavazovic, Opower’s vice president for marketing and strategy, says,

 

“The way we think of it is as efficient behavior, rather than conservation. The problem we’re going after is the fact that around 20% to 25% of energy in U.S. homes is wasted–not that you could use less if you sacrificed, but blatantly wasted. What we’re after is to engage people with the enormous potential for them to do better. It’s not just about saving energy or carbon, it’s about saving money.”

 

The product is based on the belief that behavioral change is the key to bringing long-term responsible habits. It builds on the human nature to compete and outdo, to encourage energy savings. OPower will use Facebook as a platform to invite your friends to link their utility data. With 800 million active users on Facebook, the potential is enormous. The NRDC states that improvements to energy efficiency has the ability to generate $700 billion in cost savings in the U.S. alone, but consumer participation is key to making that change happen.

 

Opower plans to launch its free social platform in early 2012, but is inviting early sign ups, on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/heyitsopower) and the web (http://social.opower.com/). Are you game?

 

Source: Ecopreneurist (http://s.tt/14VeG)

 

 
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4. New Codes Aim to Cut Energy Use
  Dec 17, 2011 The Texas Tribune  
By KATE GALBRAITH

 

The international symbol for Texas’ energy-guzzling habit is a monster pickup truck — pulling another pickup truck. But homes and other buildings are also big offenders, accounting for roughly 40 percent of the state’s overall energy use.

 

The opportunity for savings — and to draw down some energy-related federal stimulus dollars — has spurred action. In January, Texas will adopt a building code that should cut the energy consumption of new single-family homes by more than 15 percent, according to the Energy Systems Laboratory at the Texas A&M University System. The state tightened codes for commercial and industrial buildings and other residential buildings in April.

 

Big Texas cities tend to jump out ahead of the statewide building codes, which have often lagged nationally. This month, the Houston City Council passed a measure requiring new homes to be about 5 percent more efficient than the forthcoming statewide code, an effort to cut down on homes’ energy use and burnish Houston’s green credentials. Over the next few years, Houston will consider more requirements that could put the city some 15 percent above the state code in terms of energy savings.

 

Environmentalists welcome the stronger codes, but builders have concerns. Scott Norman, executive director of the Texas Association of Builders, said his group supports Houston’s recent action. But he said further efficiency increases the need to balance energy savings with economic considerations.

 

Energy-saving requirements can add a few thousand dollars to the upfront cost of a new home, Mr. Norman said, and that can price people out of the market, especially in a down economy.

 

Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, said the code changes are crucial to saving energy in both new and existing structures. “Homes we build today are going to last another 70 years,” he said.

 

But crafting codes is easier than making them effective. A report this year by the nonprofit Building Codes Assistance Project with input from Texas’ State Energy Conservation Office noted that “many local governments will see the mandatory statewide code as an unfunded mandate set by the state.” Enforcement capabilities are often lacking, the report said.

 

Even big cities struggle. In Austin, where codes have already gone beyond the forthcoming statewide requirements, the number of annual building inspections fell from 226,000 three years ago to about 165,000 today — a casualty of budget tightening, according to Dan McNabb, the city’s building inspections division manager. Austin’s inspectors do not just address energy issues; they also spend time looking at safety matters like stairs and glass.

 

“Every project is different,” Mr. McNabb said.

 

 

 
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5. Updating Rates Key to Energy Efficiency
  Dec 19, 2011 The Arizona Republic  
On the cusp of its 100th birthday, Arizona is facing an aging energy infrastructure that is unprepared for a sustainable future. The situation, however, creates an opportunity for decision making that can transform how energy is produced, supplied and sold.

 

In fact, the Arizona Corporation Commission took just such a dramatic step in 2010 when it adopted Electric Energy Efficiency Standards that require all regulated electricity providers to put in place programs that will produce a cumulative annual electricity savings of at least 22 percent by 2020.

 

It followed up the efficiency standards with a policy statement that wisely supports the idea of modernizing rate structures to allow the state to meet its new, ambitious energy-efficiency targets.

 

Energy efficiency is a low-cost resource that further diversifies Arizona's energy mix and will improve the ability to maintain reliable, secure and affordable energy today and well into the future. According to one scenario prepared for the Corporation Commission by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, implementation of energy-efficiency measures will allow Arizona utilities to defer the construction of any new base-load power plants until 2030, which will save ratepayers $9 billion.

 

Under the efficiency standards, instead of building new power plants, the utilities will dramatically expand their energy-efficiency programs, which include replacing inefficient heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems; insulating older homes; and updating lighting in homes and businesses. These efficiency measures save money for the people who get them and for all ratepayers by deferring the need for those more expensive power plants.

 

Yet, the underlying pricing mechanisms for utilities, which are built on energy-consumption models, are working against energy efficiency. Outdated rate-setting mechanisms provide revenue to utilities based on how much energy is sold, rather than reward, or at least not harm, utilities for promoting energy efficiency.

 

One solution to this conundrum, which is up for consideration before the Corporation Commission, is the utility-financing mechanism known as "decoupling." This rate-modernization method automatically adjusts electricity prices periodically to ensure that a utility receives an authorized amount of revenue independent of its volume of sales.

 

It is important to realize that a significant amount of the costs of provision are also independent of sales. They are fixed costs. Under current pricing mechanisms, utilities have to actively encourage sales to ensure these fixed costs are recouped. Contrary to some beliefs, even with a decoupling mechanism in place, if ratepayers actively engage in energy efficiency or conservation, they will see savings in their monthly bills. To unlock the gains from energy efficiency, we need to switch off the utilities' incentive to encourage customers to buy more.

 

Arizona is at an energy crossroads and much work needs to be done. You cannot run an economy, especially one poised for growth, without energy. Arizona must strongly consider transformational policies that enable our economy to prosper while using less energy.

 

Reducing the energy intensity of our economy will increase security, improve our international competitiveness and benefit energy-conscious ratepayers while preparing to meet the energy demands of the future. Incremental steps, like decoupling, should be implemented to address antiquated pricing mechanisms, which were built on energy-consumption models, rather than alignment to sustainability goals.

 

Gary Dirks is director of LightWorks, an Arizona State University initiative that capitalizes on the university's strengths in solar energy and other light-inspired research. Matthew Croucher, an economist, is an associate research professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business and a senior sustainability scientist with ASU's Global Institute of Sustainability.

 

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/2011/12/18/20111218energy-efficiency-dirks-croucher.html#ixzz1gzR864W4

 

 
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6. Nebraska's 2 largest cities move ahead with joint program offering energy-efficiency grants
  Dec 18, 2011 www.therepublic.com  
LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska's two largest cities are moving ahead on a joint program to promote energy efficiency.

 

Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler and his Omaha counterpart, Jim Suttle, signed an agreement Friday to start the next phase of the reEnergize Program, which provides money for some property owners to make energy-efficient upgrades.

 

The cities announced last year that their collaborative effort was among 25 pilot projects to be awarded a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The funding is being used in Omaha and Lincoln to help homeowners and businesses obtain incentives topping $1,000 to cover the costs of insulation, more efficient heating and cooling, improved lighting and other energy-efficient upgrades.

 

Omaha first started offering energy-efficiency grants in January, and about 500 residents have signed up so far. The signing of Friday's agreement opens the program to Lincoln property owners.

 

"We want to remind homeowners, businesses and residents in our two cities that now is the time to sign up to take advantage of what the reEnergize program offers for saving energy, putting money in people's pockets, creating local jobs and reducing our long-term energy needs," Beutler said in a statement. "A particularly exciting part of this program is how Lincoln and Omaha are working together to help build the local market for energy efficiency upgrades."

 

The program aims to provide grants to about 2,100 households and 180 businesses and nonprofits. It's available first to property owners in so-called "Start Zones," which the cities say were selected because of their range of income levels, mix of ownership and rentals, concentration of older buildings and level of community engagement.

 

Information about the program is available online at http://www.reEnergizeProgram.org or by calling 877-402-5111.

 

 
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7. NYSERDA Recognizes 8 Engineering Firms and Agencies for Achievements in Energy Efficiency in Multifamily Buildings
  Dec 17, 2011 www.getenergysmart.org  
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) recognized eight engineering firms and community-service agencies for their outstanding energy-saving projects through the Authority’s Multifamily Performance Program (MPP).

 

Partners in the program—energy professionals focused on improving multifamily building performance—earned the awards for projects that exceeded the MPP minimum energy savings target of 15 percent. The projects demonstrate efforts to support New York’s electricity and fuel reduction goals.

 

The objective of each project is to maximize energy efficiency in multifamily buildings to lower energy costs while improving the health and comfort of residents. With a portfolio of programs and incentives available to owners, condo/co-op boards and developers, the Multifamily Performance Program provides opportunities to gain access to NYSERDA, technical assistance, funding and low-cost financing to implement energy efficiency measures.

 

“Multifamily buildings are large users of energy, and therefore there are many opportunities to implement energy savings measures,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “Congratulations to these winners for developing exceptional projects that go above and beyond the program requirements. The improvements applied to multifamily buildings have an important impact on energy use and the environment in the state.”

 

The winning partners and the awards presented include:

 

PEACE Inc. (Syracuse):

 

Gold Partner Excellence Award (Existing Building) for highest actual energy savings for three completed projects.

Bronze Outstanding Savings Award (Existing Building) for exceptional energy savings in a single project.

 

L&S Energy Services (Albany):

 

Silver Outstanding Savings Award (Existing Building) for exceptional energy savings in a single project.

 

Malcarne Contracting Inc. (Rhinebeck):

 

Silver Outstanding Savings Award (New Construction) for exceptional energy savings in a single project.

Bronze Outstanding Savings Award (New Construction) for exceptional energy savings in a single project.

 

CJ Brown Energy P.C. (Buffalo):

 

Gold Outstanding Savings Award (Existing Building) for exceptional energy savings in a single project.

Silver Partner Excellence Award (Existing Building) for highest actual energy savings for three completed projects.

Silver Partner Excellence Award (New Construction) for highest projected energy savings for three completed projects.

 

Buffalo Energy Inc. (Buffalo):

 

Technical Merit Award for consistently high quality work in the Multifamily Performance Program.

Bronze Partner Excellence Award (Existing Building) for the highest actual energy savings for three completed projects.

 

Steven Winter Associates Inc. (NYC):

 

Gold Outstanding Savings Award (New Construction) for exceptional energy savings in a single project.

 

Gold Partner Excellence Award (New Construction) for highest projected energy savings for 3 completed projects.

 

Community Environmental Center (NYC):

 

Service Merit Award for dedication and commitment providing energy services to the multifamily market.

 

Association for Energy Affordability (NYC):

 

Comprehensive Approach Award for developing the most varied work scope on a per unit basis in a single project.

 

For more information about the Multifamily Performance Program, please visit: nyserda.ny.gov/en/Program-Areas/Energy-Efficiency-and-Renewable-Programs/Multifamily-Performance-Program

 

NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975.

 

Last Updated: 12/15/2011

Contact(s)

 

Dayle Zatlin, Assistant Director of Communications

Phone : 518-862-1090, Ext. 3359

Email : tmb@nyserda.org

 

 

 
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8. 2050 roadmap to re-boot stalled energy efficiency talks
  Dec 19, 2011 www.euractiv.com  
Denmark, which takes over the EU's rotating presidency on 1 January, is likely to use the European Commission's Energy Roadmap 2050 as a tool to push through an agreement on the stalled Energy Efficiency Directive.

 

Danish minister Ida Auken, who will chair environmental and energy talks among the 27 EU ministers for the upcoming six months, is to present his “green priorities” today (19 December) in the Council.

 

Against the backdrop of stalled negotiations on binding energy efficiency measures, he said his message will be: “No more business as usual”.

 

The Danish still have the Energy Efficiency Directive as a top priority but they are less bullish on the timetable, an industry source told EurActiv.

 

Directive stalled by funding stalemate

 

Energy efficiency should be the main focus of all governments, because it has a positive impact on fuel-fired industries.

 

“Energy efficiency has to follow its economic potential,” the European Commission says in its 2050 roadmap, but this potential is locked because of the lack of political will, an EU official told EurActiv.

 

“It is too expensive” and member states cannot just impose much higher energy bills on their consumers, the source said. “That would be such an unpopular move, every politician in power is thinking short-term – three, maybe four years”.

 

There is one way to top up consumers’ bills, however, and that is by offering services. “If energy companies focused more on services, things could improve,” according to an EU source. “But then, what if there is no demand for the service? Consumers have other, more immediate priorities.”

 

Talks on the efficiency directive are stalled because there is a lack of agreement on how it will be funded. The MEP working on the proposal in the European Parliament, Claude Turmes, said that unless there is a way to fund it, "this directive is wishful thinking”.

 

Energy roadmap raises pressure

 

The Danish presidency might be too impatient to clinch a deal to wait for member states to find a compromise on the efficiency directive.

 

The directive would be binding, so it is a “hard piece of legislation that makes it more attractive to investors,” said Ulrich Bang, head of international affairs for the Danish Energy Association.

 

Even if for now there is little chance the Council will take a common position on the efficiency directive, the Energy Roadmap 2050, published on 15 December by the Commission, “will create the needed investment framework for investors,” Bang said.

 

That is not to say that they are taking their eyes off the proposed law, but that they will try to push talks through other means.

 

The Danish presidency will coordinate its efforts so that it works on the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Energy Roadmap 2050 in parallel, EurActiv understands from several officials.

 

The roadmap is a political deal and easier to agree on, since it is not binding for member states.

 

“But the roadmap is not seen as important as the Energy Efficiency Directive, as it doesn’t make member states commit,” according to an EU official.

 

The Danes will try to reach ambitious conclusions, said Jørgen Knud Henningsen, senior advisor on energy and environment at the European Policy Centre.

 

“I hope they will keep the focus on achieving results. There is a tendency these days to do roadmaps, but these are not really policies,” Henningsen said. “The Commission was not established to make think-tank analyses, its role is to make proposals.”

 

It could be used, however, to push the piece of legislation that does matter, in other words create a momentum for the implementation of the efficiency directive, according to EU experts. “There is a chance that the Danish presidency will reach conclusions on this roadmap,” Ulrich Bang said.

 

“If you asked me a week ago, maybe I would have said that is impossible, but this changed when EU leaders called at the last summit for urgent agreement on these energy policies, ” Bang added.

 

“They will probably say they will have both as a priority and I think they will start a proper discussion on the roadmap,” Henningsen said. But that discussion does not exclude the Energy Efficiency Directive.

 

“The challenge is now for the Danish government to also think long-term, not to focus on the current mandate. The opposition has to agree to the long-term measures, too and I hope they will support them,” he said.

 

The Danes could follow the model set by the Polish presidency, which did not intend to reach a binding deal on energy, but instead achieved a political agreement on the Energy Infrastructure Package, which had a side-effect on the energy efficiency proposal.

 

Hidden in the details

 

Efficiency plays an important role in all seven scenarios of the Energy Roadmap 2050 and the Energy Efficiency Directive is included in the text of the roadmap, an EU source told EurActiv.

 

Primary energy demand is expected to drop in a range of 16% to 20% by 2030 and 32% to 41% by 2050 as compared to peaks in 2005-2006. “This can only be achieved through energy savings and that puts the stakes high on the Energy Efficiency Directive debate,” said Samuel Flückiger, of the European Climate Foundation.

 

Flückiger described the Energy Roadmap 2050 as a continuation of the the EU's 2020 energy and climate change targets extended out further into the future. It will serve as a platform for discussion for the Energy Efficiency Directive. The latter will push for the implementation of the first, he says. “If the directive can deliver action on the ground, this increases the case for reaching the target set in the Energy Roadmap 2050”.

 

But the roadmap can only be achieved if 10 conditions are met, the first of which is “the swift adoption of the current proposal on energy efficiency”.

 

 
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9. Small changes yield big energy savings for Canadian companies
  Dec 18, 2011 www.theglobeandmail.com  
Shawn McCarthy — GLOBAL ENERGY REPORTER

 

In their drive for productivity improvement, managers at the St. Marys Cement Inc. plant in Bowmanville, Ont., have put their operation on a strict energy diet, and in the process shaved $1-million off annual operating costs.

 

The Toronto-based company, one of North America’s leading cement makers, has seen its sales fall sharply since the recession, and cost control has become ever more urgent.

 

“If you reduce your energy costs, you become more competitive in terms of your industry and, these days, that’s tough,” Fabio Garcia, manager of plant operations, said in an interview.

 

The company did not make major capital investments to achieve its improvements, but focused on operational changes – adding fans to redistribute heat, changing schedules to perform electricity-intensive operations during off-peak hours, and instilling in its workers a conservation ethic that produced a series of small savings.

 

For a cement company, the drive for energy efficiency may seem like a no-brainer: Energy represents 35 per cent of St. Marys operating costs at its Bowmanville plant. But in an age of high oil prices and rising power costs, corporate executives across the business spectrum are being urged to get a better handle on their energy usage.

 

The Canadian Council of Chief Executives – which represents the 150 largest firms in the country – has issued a call for governments, industry and consumers to redouble their efforts to conserve energy in order to reduce overall costs and cut the emissions that result from fossil-fuel consumption.

 

The council, led by former deputy prime minister John Manley, reiterated its call for a carbon tax, which would make fuels more expensive and encourage conservation.

 

“We must use existing and future energy supplies as efficiently as possible, embracing the maxim that the cheapest form of energy is the unit that is not used,” the council says in a report to be released Monday.

 

“Better conservation practices will help to insulate Canadians from volatile energy prices, reduce costs for public institutions such as schools and hospitals, and improve the international competitiveness of Canadian companies.”

 

But it adds that businesses, in particular the industrial sector, can benefit from greater energy efficiency.

 

“For many of these companies, energy costs are one of their largest line items and energy savings translate immediately to the bottom line,” the council says, adding the productivity-enhancing investments in efficiency are part of a “relentless race to stay competitive in increasingly globalized markets.”

 

Linamar Corp. (LNR-T13.99----%) chief executive Linda Hasenfratz has focused on continued improvements in energy efficiency as one critical way to stay ahead in the hypercompetitive North American car parts market.

 

“We’ve been trying to reduce our energy use for a number of years – both from an environmental perspective and to save money,” Ms. Hasenfratz said in an interview.

 

At one of its main plants, Linamar undertook a full audit of energy usage and implemented changes that cut energy bills as a percentage of sales by 18 per cent over one year, through automated shutoffs of machines, retrofitted lighting and other low-cost operational changes.

 

The focus on energy efficiency in an integral part of the company’s efforts to improve productivity, Ms. Hasenfratz said. “Productivity means the elimination of waste or reduction of waste and that goes right across your organization.”

 

 
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10. Beyond Durban
  Dec 16, 2011 New York Times  
Startling new evidence that global carbon dioxide emissions are rising faster than ever did little to increase the urgency of the climate talks in Durban, South Africa, which concluded earlier this week. Once again, the world’s negotiators kicked the can down the road.

 

Even as delegates from nearly 200 countries were meeting, the Global Carbon Project, an international collaboration of scientists, reported that emissions from carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, the main greenhouse gas, had jumped 5.9 percent in 2010, the sharpest one-year rise on record. The report also said that carbon emissions cumulatively had risen by an astonishing 49 percent since 1990, higher than any previous estimate.

 

Nobody had expected great progress from Durban, the 17th in a series of habitually quarrelsome and mostly unproductive gatherings since the same countries met in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro under the auspices of the United Nations and agreed to address the gradual warming of the earth.

 

Yet the underwhelming response to the genuinely bad news in the new report shows again how far world leaders are from making the hard decisions necessary to control the rise in greenhouse gas emissions. And it left them further than ever from achieving their stated goal of keeping average global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels — a commonly accepted threshold beyond which the planet’s climate patterns could be seriously destabilized.

 

There were a few modest successes. One was an agreement to set up a “green fund” to help poor nations deal with climate change and reduce deforestation, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. More important, with the United States applying much of the pressure, China and India consented to participate in any future agreement limiting emissions and play by the same rules as everyone else. Those two nations are huge producers of greenhouse gases and, until now, have disclaimed responsibility for reducing them. The latest figures show that China and India each had emission increases of about 10 percent since 2009. Since 1990, China’s emissions have tripled; India’s nearly so.

 

Along with all other developing countries, China and India refused to sign on to the legally binding reduction targets agreed to by industrialized nations at the Kyoto conference in 1997. This time they agreed in principle to work toward a new international agreement “applicable to all parties.” The negotiators said they hoped to have such a pact in place by 2015, but, even if that miracle occurred, ratification by member nations would not occur until 2020 at the earliest.

 

The question now is what to do about rising emissions in the next decade. Though Durban has kept the collective process alive, the work of actually cutting emissions will fall to individual nations, especially the big emitters, to take the initiative. In America, the Obama administration has proposed huge increases in automobile efficiency, as well as tough clean air regulations that will mothball a lot of coal-fired power plants. Additional progress may occur in states like California with ambitious programs to encourage energy efficiency and alternative fuels.

 

As for China, one can only hope that its dreadful pollution problems will drive it to new technologies and cleaner fuels, and that other nations will find it in their interest to do the same. What the latest data tell us is that the atmosphere cannot keep waiting for a grand bargain.

 

 
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