Energy Efficiency

11 Apr 2024

Delaware's First Natural Gas Energy Efficiency Program Makes Headway

11 Apr 2024  by hartenergy   
The Delaware Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC), aiming to help Delawareans reduce energy loss and cost through energy efficiency programs, convened on Wednesday to discuss energy efficiency program and research updates.

Chesapeake Utilities Energy Conservation Manager Derrick Craig presented on new developments with Delaware's first natural gas energy efficiency program after facing legal challenges.

He said the energy efficiency program is aimed at reducing carbon emissions and fostering more sustainability throughout Delaware.

The program was filed with the Delaware Public Service Commission in September 2023 but has been facing legal setbacks ever since.

The Division of the Public Advocate filed a petition to intervene toward the end of 2023, but Craig said he could not provide too many details on the nature of the lawsuit.

“There was some concern about the Standard Offer Program, whether it really was going to be able to provide what was needed for the commercial and industrial customers, as well as whether there was a need for it. In addition, there were some discussions as far as the calculations that the rate recovery was based on," he said.

The Standard Offer Program would provide flexibility to corporations seeking funding for cost-effective energy efficient projects that may not be financially viable otherwise.

Craig said while the evidentiary hearing is set to take place next week, a settlement in principle was reached among the parties a week ago, so he is hopeful a new program will be submitted in the near future.

EEAC also heard a report from energy consultancy ILLUME, which looked into the capability of adopting new energy codes in Delaware.

Consultant Arianna Zrzavy said the goal of the study was to understand the challenges and opportunities for achieving Delaware’s net zero capable construction targets.

The group interviewed 16 stakeholders, including state code officials, builders and engineers, third party raters and Delaware realtors.

Zrzavy says builders and engineers largely reported not considering energy code changes to be disruptive, but would appreciate more explanations on why changes need to be made.

“We heard that struggling to understand why code changes were being made and what benefits code changes would bring to the end user was something that is very helpful for builders and sometimes vendors to understand, and that would ease the transition potentially during the next energy code update," she said.

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Principal Planner for Energy Policy Thomas Noyes said the state is currently putting a lot of work into energy codes, and they will use this study to better inform how they communicate new building standards in the future.

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