- Buildings Guide
- Policy Guide
- Appliances Guide
The USA and their individual States implemented many energy efficiency measures for energy-efficient appliances and especially for refrigerators. As a result, the maximum allowed energy consumption of a typical fridge-freezer has dropped from 1,546 to 476 kWh/year between 1977 and 2001, and is soon expected to be further reduced to about 390 kWh/yr. All of these energy savings were cost-effective to consumers; in fact, purchase prices of refrigerators meeting the minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) have decreased in real terms over the years.
This has been achieved by a combination of mandatory minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) with instruments enabling dynamic market transformation and preparing the consecutive steps of MEPS strengthening: mandatory and voluntary energy labelling at the federal (national) level and mostly state level information, motivation and advice campaigns, financial incentives, training and qualification for retailers, and recycling programmes for refrigerators. California has long been a frontrunner in these efforts.
In California, this complimentary structure is further facilitated through good co-operation between different state actors. The state also gives clear guidance to all other stakeholders, promotes research and is the decisive actor for electricity market regulation. Through the package and other measures, California aims to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
California’s comprehensive policy package for energy efficiency in general and especially for refrigerators consists of several interacting federal and state measures in order to reduce electricity consumption. In 2006, Assembly Bill 32 regulated mid-term and long-term GHG reduction levels. While a roadmap (Scoping Plan) specifies the overall strategy, the Strategic Plan emphasises measures on energy efficiency in particular. For example, the Plan stipulates that appliance standards are strengthened and expanded frequently. In comparison to standards established countrywide by the U.S. Department of Energy, California already has a broader set of equipment standards. Phasing out least efficient appliances due to MEPS is as important as financially incentivising the purchase of highly efficient products. Rebates for energy-efficient appliances are given to consumers by utility companies that are required by state law to provide energy efficiency services and, thus, must develop energy reports that need approval by the California Public Utilities Commission. The rebate programmes and other energy efficiency programmes are funded by the Public Goods Charge on electricity mandated by law.
The fact that California introduced a cap-and-trade programme on greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 (with enforcement measures effective only in 2013), in which utility companies must participate, makes customer rebate programmes even more attractive because by reducing the energy consumption of their customers, utility companies reduce the need to buy allowances. In order to promote the rebate scheme and increase the number of very efficient product sales the California Energy Commission, the key department for all strategic policy planning in the state, developed a product database in which customers can find products eligible for funding. Apart from that, the U.S. federal level with the Environmental Protection Agency in the driver seat introduced two labels (the Energy Star and the EnergyGuide) making it easy for customers to identify energy efficient products, although these labels are not necessarily criteria for California’s appliance rebates.
Summarising: Energy efficiency policy in the USA is a complex topic especially because “policies reflect the interplay of federal, state, and local jurisdictional levels” (Doris 2009, p.1). The state of California is often referred to as the frontrunner in the field of energy efficiency and clean energy policies and established a comprehensive governance framework to support energy-efficient appliances. The following table presents the annual savings by end-use (2011) and underpins the success of the energy efficiency policies in California.
|GWh||% of total savings||MW||% of total savings|
Source: Southern California Edison Company 2012, p.154
Background on California’s overall energy efficiency policy and achievements
California is the biggest state in terms of population size (~37 mio.) and, if regarded in isolation from the rest of the USA, it would belong to the top-10 economies in the world (GDP: ~ USD1,900 bn.; The Economist 2011), while being only number 12 in terms of GHG emissions (Next10 2012, 2). California’s prosperity and size create an attractive market for appliance manufacturers. Unlike any other state it has experienced and literally “seen” air pollution: As early as the 1950’s “[s]mog gave Californians the specific incentive, which other Americans lacked, to start down the road of curbing energy use, as a means of controlling air pollution.” This incentive in combination with Californians’ unique capability to invent and trust in innovation, which is most prominently embodied by Silicon Valley, has created an environment facilitating energy-efficient solutions (Buchanan 2010, p.4).
The next big motivation for energy efficiency were the oil price crises of 1973 and 1979/80. Ever since then, California has mandated its energy companies to save energy and has introduced and strengthened MEPS.
The results are impressive. While electricity consumption per capita in the USA has been rising constantly (1978: ~9,000 kWh/capita, 2008: 12,000 kWh/capita), California does not follow this trend but has achieved stabilisation at around 7,000 kWh/capita for the last thirty years (see figure below). While the increased size of households may be one reason, another reason was the rise of energy prices by 37% between 1970 and 2005 (compared to a 4% in the USA) (Mitchell et al. 2009, p.51). Regarding the individual states, there seems to be a correlation between increasing electricity prices and decreasing electricity consumption (see figure below).
However, California’s overall electricity consumption still increased in the past. “From 2000 to 2010, California’s population grew by 10%, which was low for the state but still higher than the rest of the nation (9.7%)” (Johnson 2011). This and a growing economy were the reasons, why California did not achieve overall electricity consumption reductions as have happened in Denmark for example. On the contrary, between 1990 and 2009 total consumption rose by 22% (Buchan 2010, p.2). However, as “each additional person in a household adds to household consumption, [but] […] by a declining amount” (Mitchell 2009, p.52), it is noteworthy that California households including 2.93 persons have become slightly larger than the US average (2.61 persons; as in 2006; ibid.) and are likely to having resulted in fewer appliances per capita.
Policy roadmap and targets for very efficient appliances
In 2006, California passed “a landmark climate change law”: Assembly Bill 32 - The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) determines that greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020 (Yuffee 2009, p.43). For the long-term, the government even set the ambitious goal to reduce energy consumption by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. In order to implement AB 32, the Californian Air Resources Board (CARB) introduced the Climate Change Scoping Plan (CCSP), a roadmap describing how to achieve GHG-emission savings in accordance with the law. It recommends for example:
• Expanding and strengthening existing energy efficiency programs funded by the public goods charge on electricity and gas as well as building and appliance standards;
• Creating targeted fees, including a public goods charge on water use, fees on high global warming potential gases, and a fee to fund the administrative costs of the State’s long term commitment to AB 32 implementation (CARB 2008, ES-3f.).
More concretely, California’s energy efficiency strategy is stipulated in the California Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan (EESP) introduced by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in 2008 giving clear policy direction for all stakeholders affected by energy efficiency measures. For example, the EESP already plans to tighten appliance standards in the near future. The EESP reiterates the ambitious goal already stated in the CCSP to save “at least 32,000 GWh and 800 million therms by 2020” (CPUC 2008, p.3; see also: CARB 2008, p.13). Considering appliances only, California attempts to facilitate the development of “consumer electronics and appliances that use less energy and provide tools to enable customers to understand and manage their energy demand.” Moreover, new lighting technologies will be promoted (CPUC 2008, p.11). Both, lighting and appliances are responsible for two thirds of electricity consumption in Californian households and, thus, have large potential to reduce electricity consumption (see figure below).
California is part of the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) which includes six other U.S. American states, comprising 19% of the total U.S. population and 20% of U.S. GDP, and four Canadian provinces, including 79% of the total Canadian population and 76% of Canada’s GDP (WCI 2010, p.3). Members of the WCI are committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 15% of 2005 levels by 2020. Although this goal is less ambitious than California’s own target (GHG reduction to 1990 levels by 2020), its membership reinforces the states commitment to engage in climate action.
The same is true for California’s co-operation with the Province of Jiangsu in China. Both regions have concluded an “Agreement of Co-operation” fostering “exchange of information, experience and best practices; training of personnel and capacity building; and technical support” in areas such as “ Energy efficient technologies and products” and “DSM program design, administration, implementation, measurement, results assessment and evaluation” (California Public Utilities Commission 2005).
Two actors are worth mentioning in order to give a comprehensive picture of the energy efficiency policy infrastructure in California: the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the California Utility Commission (CPUC).
The CEC is the key player, because it is in charge of all energy policies. “Promoting energy efficiency through appliance and building standards” is one of five core responsibilities of the agency (CEC). There are several sub-units or departments with central tasks to achieve what is stipulated in the Scoping Plan: the division on Energy Efficiency Programmes is responsible for developing standards, for facilitating knowledge about the issue to the public and to give assistance to public institutions by identifying and implementing energy efficiency measures (CEC a).
Basically, “[t]he CPUC is responsible for assuring California utility customers have safe, reliable utility service at reasonable rates, protecting utility customers from fraud, and promoting the health of California's economy” (CEC). California’s electricity market is mainly divided between three large utility providers. Each of them has its own territory, meaning that there is no competition between these investor-owned utility companies (IOUs). However, the market is supervised by the CPUC, which must also safeguard that each company fulfils its energy efficiency service as stipulated in Californian law. Each year utility providers must publish plans for efficiency programmes, which need approval by the CPUC (DSIRE USA 2011). There are also a number of municipal energy companies, particularly Sacramento Municipal Utility District in the state’s capital, which implement energy efficiency programmes on their own.
Apart from these state actors, the federal government plays an important role in some energy efficiency areas. For example, today, appliance standards are also developed by the Department of Energy (DOE) and legislated by the U.S. Congress. In comparison to the states, which introduce tailor-made policies fitting their particular needs, the federal government is able to offer large-scale incentives and uniform regulation which are, in general, more attractive to appliance manufacturers (Doris 2009, p. 1).
Energy saving obligations for energy companies and energy efficiency funds
Since the 1980’s, the CPUC has obliged to implement energy efficiency programmes with priority before granting allowances to expand energy supply infrastructures. Later, an energy efficiency obligation was introduced. The California Legislature emphasised the importance of energy efficiency and established broad goals with the enactment of Assembly Bill 2021 of 2006. The bill requires the California Energy Commission (CEC), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and other interested parties to develop efficiency savings and demand reduction targets for the next 10 years. The CPUC developed new electric and natural gas goals in 2008 for the years 2012 through 2020, which call for 16,300 GWh of gross electric savings over the 9-year period. California’s current targets are embedded in the approved 2010-2012 programme portfolios and budgets for the state’s IOUs, which calls for gross electricity savings of almost 7,000 GWh and natural gas savings of approximately 150 million Therms (MMTh) (or approximately 4,400 GWh) (aceee 2012). Most of this is from the buildings and industry sectors, but it also includes energy-efficient appliances.
Investor-owned utility companies administer energy efficiency programmes under supervision from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which establishes key policies and guidelines, sets programme goals, and approves spending levels. California's publicly owned utility providers (POUs) also administer customer programmes.
California's utility companies fund some of their programmes and initiatives through resource procurement budgets and recover their costs through rate cases brought before the CPUC. California's utility suppliers also collect a Public Goods Charge (PGC) on customer utility bills to fund utility energy efficiency programmes. Public Goods Charge is California’s name for a public benefits fund established in Assembly Bill 1890 in 1996. The PGC on electricity consumption is about 0.48 cents/kWh and covers energy efficiency, renewable energy and R&D. About 0.3 cents of this charge support energy efficiency programmes. A natural gas PGC was created by AB 1002 in 1999 which funds cost-effective energy efficiency and other public purpose programmes (aceee 2012).
For the 2006-2008 efficiency programme cycle, California’s investor-owned utility companies (IOUs) invested $2.1 billion in efficiency programmes, saving 4,097 GWh in net electricity savings and 44 million Therms (MMTh) (or approximately 1,300 GWh) of natural gas. (aceee 2012). As said above, their targets for the 2010 to 2012 period are significantly higher.
Regulation of energy companies
In California each electricity provider has its own market. In such local monopolies there is no competition. There are three major private utility companies, which together have a (electricity) market share of 80%. These are Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E).
All private, investor-owned utility companies (IOUs) in California are under public regulation. Each company must provide energy efficiency programmes and services to their respective constituent (Buchan 2010, p.9 et seq.). In return for this obligation, the regulator, CPUC, grants cost recovery through the regulated energy prices or from the Public Goods Charge mentioned above. In addition to cost recovery, there is also a positive incentive, a bonus rewarding cost-effective energy savings. Finally, the revenues of energy companies are regulated in a way that they have no disincentive to assist their customers save energy, and no incentive to increase energy sales unless this were beneficial to society (‘decoupling’ of utility earnings from energy sales).
In addition, the electricity bills of these three and some other smaller utility companies need further consideration as the electricity rate, which is set by the CPUC, increases depending on customer consumption. “The rate structure is divided into tiers with a baseline as the basic allocation.” The baseline, or tier 1, is calculated according to the average amount of energy used by private households in respective climate zones. Since the baseline is set based on the average use in a specific area, they can vary by geographic location (for example the baseline in San Francisco for tier 1 is a consumption range of 0 to 273 kWh per month, for more information see: www.bigee.net/s/epfim2). The tiers adapt to varying seasons; e.g. in summer, when more energy is needed due to ventilation, the baseline increases meaning that customers may consume more at a lower rate. As an illustration, the tiered structure of PG&E can be taken. The baseline covers the “basic needs and is billed at the lowest rate.” In 2010, PG&E’s customers paid 0.12USD/kWh up to the baseline amount, while every kWh beyond the baseline was charged with extra increasing fees.
This charge on excessive electricity consumption incentivises households to save energy and, more indirectly, makes the purchase of new, energy efficient refrigerators and freezers as well as other products more likely. This becomes even more true, if rebates are offered for such purchases (see “Incentives and financing for energy efficiency investments”).
The Scoping Plan which aims at reaching emission reduction targets stipulated in Assembly Bill 32 of 2006 includes the introduction of a cap-and-trade programme on greenhouse gas emissions, which was launched on January 1, 2012. However, compliance is only enforced in 2013. California’s IOUs are obliged to participate in the programme. With the help of energy efficiency programmes for their customers such as refrigerator rebates, utility companies can reduce their GHG emissions (Next10 2012, p.2 et seq.).
Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS)
Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for refrigerators were established in California in 1977. The federal government first introduced them on a nationwide basis in 1990. Today, California’s “2010 Appliance Efficiency Regulation” comprises federal and state-specific MEPS on twenty-one categories of appliances (CEC 2010; CEC 2009, v-viii) while “DOE has [only] set or updated more than twelve standards” for the federal level (Neubauer 2011, p.60). Thus, California can still be regarded as the pacesetter or pioneer in establishing MEPS. The function of MEPS was, first of all, the cut off point for the least efficient appliances. Later they were used to secure the achieved savings and avoid snap-back effects by tightening requirements to higher energy efficiency levels. The maximum allowed electricity consumption of refrigerators decreased from 1977 until 2001 by around 75% (from 1,546 to 476 kWh/year).
Due to the success in energy conservation in California and other states, the Congress of the USA included MEPS into the National Appliance Conservation Act of 1987 (NAECA). The Department of Energy (DOE) was instructed to set these standards (Asia-Pacific Partnership 2009, p.127). “However MEPS can only be set after a prescribed process of research and consultation, and the MEPS levels must be demonstrated to be technically feasible and cost-effective” (Geller & Howard 2006, p.4). A standard test procedure is a precondition for setting MEPS. Details on how the DOE “develops test procedures for residential appliances and commercial equipment” can be found on the DOE homepage (U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) N°1). According to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), the DOE is required “to review and amend energy conservation standards” for single products (U.S. Department of Energy (DOE): N°2). The MEPS were recently updated and the standards shall be effective for all refrigerators and freezers manufactured in the autumn of 2014 (cf. Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), p.73). DOE analysis showed that tighter standards could result in “cost effective energy savings in the range of 20-30% depending on the product class. DOE estimates that updated national standards would save about 4.8 quads of primary energy cumulatively by 2043 (or 1,406 TWh) and generate up to $36 billion in net present value savings for consumers” (ASAP; see also: DOE 2011, p.9 et seq.). This means, a new 20 cubic-foot refrigerator shall use approximately 390 kWh/year (Pasolini 2010).
In order to document that their appliances meet the standards, manufacturers have to pass certain tests measuring energy efficiency and energy use as well as assessing the approximate operating costs of the appliances developed by the DOE. Manufacturers have to certify themselves, because there is no government run appliance test facility. “Labelling and standards are enforced through a mixture of industry-sponsored third party certification schemes and challenge testing, depending on the product, and sources indicate that the program‘ appears to have operated reasonably honestly’” (Asia-Pacific Partnership 2009, p.133; Wiel & McMahon 2005).
Mandatory comparative labelling scheme
Energy Labelling became mandatory with the U.S. Energy Guide programme around 1980. It obliged manufacturers to label appliances, including refrigerators, to display energy consumption. An amendment for a new label became effective in February 2008 (Federal Register, 16 CFR Part 305 2007, p.49948).
The new label shows the energy consumption of the product in kwh/year and the estimated operational cost/year. Furthermore it shows the Energy Star label (if the appliance is eligible to use the label) and has improved in design. “This estimated cost information, which will appear on the labels in dollars per year, will provide consumers with a clear context to compare the energy efficiency of different appliance models. It will also help consumers assess trade-offs between the energy costs of their appliances and other expenditures. The new EnergyGuide label design continues to display energy consumption information (e.g., annual electricity use) as a secondary disclosure for most labelled products” (Asia Pacific Partnership 2009, p.204).
Voluntary endorsement labelling scheme
A voluntary energy labelling programme is the voluntary ENERGY STAR label. It was established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1992 and since 1996, the DOE is co-operating. The function of ENERGY STAR in the policy package is to enable the identification of the most energy-efficient appliances. In the USA, such an energy-efficiency endorsement label is useful in addition to the described EnergyGuide, because the ENERGY STAR label allows consumers to easily identify the most energy-efficient appliances of a particular type. Furthermore, “Certifying and labelling efficient products is the core of the programme, but it is much more than just the label. The ENERGY STAR programme contains many elements of a market transformation programme, including consumer education, national campaigns, information dissemination, etc. [...]. The ENERGY STAR programme also works closely with other organisations and programmes that provide additional market transformation components such as incentives, rebates, procurement and information campaigns at all levels” (Asia Pacific Partnership 2009, p.205). Refrigerators are in the scope of the label. To receive the ENERGY STAR, a product has to be in the top 25% in its product class or has to perform better than MEPS demand. In the case of refrigerators, this implies an energy consumption of 20% below current MEPS requirements (ENERGY STAR - Refrigerators).
Provision of targeted information
Information and education projects are provided inter alia by the ENERGY STAR programme. It is not only the well-known label. It also includes information campaigns. ENERGY STAR operates a search engine that helps interested consumers to find energy-efficient products (ENERGY STAR – Search Engine). Furthermore the programme has a big variety of education and outreach measures. It developed a facebook game called eMISSION where the players have to complete offline “energy efficient and environmentally friendly actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions” (ENERGY STAR - eMission). ENERGY STAR encourages people to take the ENERGY STAR Pledge where small, individual steps in order to reduce GHG emissions and fight climate change can be taken. The message is that collectively, high energy savings can be achieved, for example by purchasing ENERGY STAR rated appliances. This is only one of many other measures. (ENERGY STAR – ENERGY STAR Pledge). ENERGY STAR also offers programmes for retailers, which include information on how to join or how to use ENERGY STAR training resources to improve sales staff skills for the promotion of energy efficient appliances (ENERGY STAR – Retailer Resources).
Furthermore, in 2001 - California started an energy efficiency marketing and outreach campaign called Flex Your Power. It is a consortium of California’s utility companies, residents, businesses, institutions, government agencies and non-profit organisations that aims to save energy (Flex Your Power - General). There is a page designed for refrigerators only, explaining how much energy refrigerators use and therefore contribute to global warming and how energy efficient the refrigerator has become in recent years. It explains how the purchase price for a new efficient refrigerator can be offset through electricity bill changes and tells that a new ENERGY STAR model uses 30-40% less electricity than a 10 year old one. The page also gives maintenance tips for optimised energy performance (Flex Your Power - Refrigerators).
Moreover, the CEC has introduced another information campaign - an internet search engine for consumers to find refrigerators and other electricity consuming products that are eligible for funding. Funding is offered by Californian IOU’s (see next chapter: Incentives and financing for energy efficiency investments).
Feedback and other measures targeting user behaviour
The Opower Home Energy Report (HER) was implemented in 2007 in the USA and aims to promote higher energy efficiency in residential homes by raising people’s awareness of their energy use. Opower’s major tool is a Home Energy Report, which is similar to an advanced energy bill with additional information on a customer’s energy efficiency performance and pattern. The report does not only inform households about their own energy consumption but also compares it with the energy use of similar neighbouring households.
Financial incentives for very energy-efficient appliances
Financial incentives to buy energy efficient appliances are offered by investor-owned utility companies (IOUs), under supervision by the regulator CPUC, and by municipal energy companies alike. Funds are mainly generated through the Public Goods Charge, a surcharge on electricity bills (cf. the section Governance Framework). Although this charge first increases the electricity price by 0.48 US Cents per kWh, the programmes are designed in such a way that the consumers’ total electricity bills and costs for purchasing and operating energy-efficient appliances will be reduced. Southern California Edison (SCE) will be used here as an example for Californian utility providers because it offers a wide range of programmes, often also in co-operation with other utility companies. For a more comprehensive overview, other utility programmes should be considered.
SCE will offer a rebate (Home Energy Efficiency Rebate, HEER) for refrigerators of US$ 35, if a customer purchases an ENERGY STAR rated model. For the most efficient ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerator, a rebate of US$ 75 is provided. Applicants can inform themselves on the SCE homepage (SCE: ENERGY STAR Qualified Refrigerator Rebate) about conditions of the rebate programme, find a list of qualifying models, and find the rebate application and how to apply online or by mail. The HEER programme is under the supervision of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and funded by California utility customers via the Public Goods Charge on energy prices mandated by the state. SCE is the implementing entity. As the “Process Evaluation of Southern California Edison’s 2006-2008 Home Energy Efficiency Rebate (HEER) Program” showed, a total of 96,121 refrigerators have been replaced, resulting in net kWh savings of 5,036,740 for all replaced refrigerators (cf. Process Evaluation of Southern California Edison’s 2006-2008; Home Energy Efficiency Rebate (HEER) Program 2009, pp.6-26 – 6-31 including tables 6-6, 6-7 and 6-19).
SCE also offers different programmes for low-income households, which assists low income SCE customers by paying “all the costs of purchasing and installing energy-efficient appliances and equipment”, which also includes refrigerators. The programmes aim to save energy and taper electricity costs for qualifying customers (SCE – Energy Management Assistance Program).
In addition to the rebate and assistance programmes, SCE runs a refrigerator and freezer recycling programme (Appliance Recycling Program ARP), which offers US$ 35 for the recycling of an inefficient, working refrigerator or freezer. The programme advertises with savings of up to US$ 180 on the electricity bill and the free pick up of the old refrigerator or freezer. SCE homepage (SCE – Refrigerator Freezer Recycling Program) informs interested clients about conditions and also about disadvantages of older refrigerators and freezers as well as how the old refrigerators are going to be recycled. A phone number is provided in order to appoint a pick up date. The utility company co-operates with Appliance Recycling Centers of America, Inc. (ARCA Inc.) and JACO (JACO Environmental) and the recycling programme is, like the HEER rebate programme for Energy Star appliances, under the supervision of the California Public Utilities Commission and funded by California utility customers. SCE is the implementing entity (cf.www.sce.com). According to the “Process and Market Evaluation of Southern California Edison’s Appliance Recycling Program 2006 – 2008” prepared for SCE: “The primary goal of the program is to use monetary incentives and free pick-up to induce customers to have the appliances removed from their premises. Additional goals are to educate customers about the energy efficiency and energy savings benefits of recycling older refrigerators and freezers and the non-energy benefits from recycling in an environmentally friendly manner.” (Reed, John H. et al. 2010, p.1). In 2011, ARP achieved “significant energy savings […] and recycled over 76,000 working refrigerators and freezers […] and brought the total number of refrigerators and freezers recycled since the program’s inception to over 980,000” (SCE 2012). The recycling programme embraces the US EPA’s Responsible Appliance Disposal Program (RAD) so all appliances could be decommissioned in the most environmentally friendly manner (SCE 2012).
Another example for a local programme offered to low-income households by the San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E) was the Limited Income Refrigerator Replacement and Lighting Program (LIRRL). This programme “targeted households with incomes slightly above the levels that qualify for the Direct Assistance Program or for alternative rates as established in the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) programme. The total gross savings achieved for refrigerators were 2,523,724 kWh for 1,642 replaced refrigerators.” (Seiden 2006, p.5).
Education and training
The ENERGY STAR programme offers programmes for retailers, which include ENERGY STAR training resources to improve sales staff skills for the promotion of energy efficient appliances (ENERGY STAR – Retailer Resources).
Furthermore China and California have concluded an “Agreement of Co-operation” fostering exchange of information and experience and the training of personnel. In addition the stimulate capacity building and technical support to improve energy efficient technologies and products.
Funding for research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects
The Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) programme is a research, development and demonstration programme that is integrated into the CEC. The California Energy Commission gives awards to stimulate more than 330 demonstration projects. “Awards are provided of up to $95,000 for research to small businesses, non-profits, individuals and academic institutions that show the viability of new innovative energy concepts”. In 2011 PIER had already invested about $28 million resulting in more than $1 billion in following-on funding (CEC 2011, p.18).
PIER’s research has also been used for California’s efficiency standards. PIER projects were the catalyst for five new standards for buildings and appliances. When fully implemented in 2020, these MEPS can save ratepayers up to USD 1 billion (CEC 2011, p.13).
In 2004, PIER established the Demand Response Research Centre (DRRC) to “conduct research that advances the near-term adoption of demand response (DR) technologies, policies, programs, strategies and practices” (DRRC).
Energy efficient public procurement
California’s public sector has the vision to become the leaders in using energy efficiency to reduce energy use and global warming emissions. The goal is to ‘lead by example’ by improving energy efficiency and by cutting the electricity bill. “Many local governments have voiced very public commitments to leadership on climate change and clean energy issues (CPUC 2011)”. An ‘innovation incubator’ helps the public purchasers to select the best energy efficiency technologies and a partnership between different organisations provides assistance to build local capacity (CPUC 2011).
At federal level, an energy-efficiency product procurement programme (EEPP) was introduced in 1992. Within the Federal Management Programme FEMP, the EEPP procurement programme provides guidance for public purchasers. For public purchasers it is mandatory to purchase energy-efficient products. Products have to be labelled with the ENERGY STAR label or have to meet the standards of the FEMP designated product categories. For more information explore the bigEE Policy Guide and select “Recommended Package” and then “RD&D and BAT promotion” to find the FEMP policy example.
Competitions & awards
California was also among the first states or countries in the world that created award competitions for energy-efficient technologies. It implemented the ‘Golden Carrot’ programmes in 1991, including the Super-efficient Refrigerator Program (SERP). The programme sponsored a competition among manufacturers to develop a super-efficient refrigerator and to bring these energy-efficient refrigerators to consumers years before they would be able to buy them under normal market conditions. The manufacturer who offered the most energy savings at the lowest costs per kilowatt-hour saved was to win up to $30 million of incentive money. Fourteen manufacturers participated in the SERP. Whirlpool was the winner of the competition and produced refrigerators, which were approximately 30% more efficient than the average energy consumption of the 1993 federal standard for energy-efficiency (CLASP 2005, p.262). “The first SERP models were shipped to dealers in February 1994” (Hollomon et al. 2002).
|Policy roadmap and targets for very efficient appliances||Implemented||
Assembly Bill 32, Climate Change Scoping Plan, Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan
California is part of the Western Climate Initiative, Co-operation with the Province of Jiangsu in China
State level: California Energy Commission and California Public Utilities Commission; Federal level: Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy
|Energy saving obligations for energy companies||Implemented||
Each utility company must provide energy efficiency programmes and services: Energy Efficiency Portfolios and Budgets approved by the California Public Utilities Commission
|Energy efficiency funds||Implemented||
Each utility company must provide energy efficiency programmes and services: Energy Efficiency Portfolios and Budgets approved by the California Public Utilities Commission; Public Goods Charge
|Removal/reform of subsidies to end-user energy prices and on energy supply||Implemented||
The electricity rate is divided into tiers.
|Regulation of energy companies||Implemented||
Cost recovery of energy efficiency programme costs plus performance-based incentives; Decoupling of energy company profits from sales
|Minimum energy performance standards||Implemented||
MEPS were implemented in 1977; currently “2010 Appliance Efficiency Regulation”
|Mandatory comparative labelling scheme||Implemented||
|Voluntary endorsement labelling scheme||Implemented||
|Provision of targeted information||Implemented||
Product database for customers ENERGY STAR programmes, Flex your power
|Feedback and other measures targeting user behaviour||Implemented||
Financial incentives are given by both private and public energy companies. For example, SCE offers a rebate on refrigerators if an ENERGY STAR product is purchased, Energy Management Assistance Program
|Education and training for supply chain actors||Implemented||
Training of retail sales staff (ENERGY STAR – Retailer Resources)
|Energy efficient public procurement||Implemented||
|Research and development funding||Implemented||
Public Interest Energy Research programme
|Competitions and awards||Implemented||
SERP, Super-efficient Refrigerator Program