Increasing energy efficiency reduces carbon emissions by reducing the need to generate electricity without compromising the level or quality of the services (e.g., lighting, cooling, industrial processing) that electricity provides. Indeed, besides climate and other environmental benefits, energy efficiency improvements have several important co-benefits, including:
- Enhanced energy security and reliability
- Lower consumer energy bills
- Economic development opportunities and job growth
- Increased productivity and healthier work environments
The New York Energy $martSM Program is intended to increase consumer awareness of and preference for energy-efficient products. It was established by the NYS Public Service Commission and is administered by NYSERDA. It operates by creating partnerships with retailers, manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and trade allies. By mid-2011, the Program will have provided more than $1.87 billion to support a comprehensive range of initiatives, all aimed at helping New Yorkers increase their energy efficiency. As of the end of 2007, its renewable energy programs have reduced peak demand on the electric grid by 9.8 MW. Wind and photovoltaic (PV) technologies now provide 106 GWh of clean electricity generation annually. The number of PV and small wind installers participating in the Program jumped from 14 in 2003 to 143 in 2007. New York residents also benefit from the Program directly. For example, over 58,000 low-income customers received direct assistance through the Program, resulting in average energy bill savings of $220 per year.
For more information, please read the New York Energy $martSM Program Evaluation and Status Report.
Additionally, New York State's "15 by 15" program will reduce the state's electricity use by 15% below projected levels by 2015. Achieving these efficiency goals will reduce CO2 emissions in New York State by an estimated 12.8 million tons annually, and will solidify New York's commitment as part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to reducing power sector CO2 emissions by 10% by 2018 from current levels.
The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) is facilitating the design of a New York State energy efficiency portfolio standard (EEPS). On June 23, 2008, the PSC issued an order intended to help the state's regulated electric utilities achieve the "15 by 15" target (i.e., a 15% reduction in electric usage from projected levels by the year 2015). In addition to establishing specific efficiency targets, to be achieved by each regulated utility by 2011, the PSC order increased the System Benefit Charge (SBC) by $172 million annually to fund energy efficiency programs administered by the utilities and NYSERDA. The PSC also established five working groups to work on the "critical path" issues integral to the immediate implementation of the EEPS order. The working groups recently filed their reports including draft recommendations.