Gas Furnaces vs. DOE’s EERE (Trump trumps Obama, but Biden is Next)By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 11, 2021 1 Comment
“Bad economics required the DOE furnace mandate in the first place: replacing gas furnaces are much cheaper than a new electric heating refit even with a longer-term, back-end savings. Why? Because consumers, given the choice, chose gas.”
The mandatory energy efficiency movement (conservationism vs. market conservation) arose alongside oil and natural gas shortages in the 1970s. It began prior to the Arab Embargo as President Nixon’s price control order of August 1971 was having its predictable, undesirable effect.
In March 1973, wholesale oil shortages and dire resource predictions led Congress to hold a full-fledged energy conservation hearing. The first fuel conservation hearing in decades, a new movement was begun not seen since World War II’s fuel rationing program.Continue Reading
Energy Efficiency Policy Under Trump (Part III: Litigation)By Mark Krebs -- December 10, 2020 1 Comment
“The end-result [from ignoring one properly identified modelling “error”], unwittingly or otherwise, massively skewed EERE’s economic ‘determinations’ in favor of stricter standards for commercial packaged boilers. This ‘error’ also exists in other proposed rulemakings. In other words, EERE likely ignored this correction request to avoid embarrassment by exposing deep analytical biases within EERE, its Labs and contractors.”
This post concludes a three-part series on the highs and lows of the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technology during the Trump window of opportunity. Part I was an overview, and Part II examined EERE’s process rule and overhaul efforts to date.
Historically, Final Rules become that when published in the Federal Register. Prior, such rules have been subject to change pursuant to the “error correction” procedure codified at 10 C.F.R. § 430.5 (etc.).…Continue Reading
Energy Efficiency Policy Under Trump (Part II: EERE’s Process Rule & Overhaul)By Mark Krebs -- December 9, 2020 3 Comments
“In the past, economic justification could be attained by simply providing, on average, cumulative energy savings that barely exceeded the additional costs of energy improvements over the life of the appliance. The “career professionals” within EERE–its National Labs and subcontractors–have become very adept at gaming (skewing) the determinations in favor of more regulations. Unfortunately for consumers, this trend continues virtually unabated.”
In 1996, EERE published a Process Rule for developing and issuing new or revised appliance efficiency standards and test procedures. The generally useful initiative is embodied in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) under 10 CFR Appendix A to Subpart C of Part 430.
The Process Rule has been treated by EERE as a guide (think Barbossa and the Pirate code). Among its original and retained objectives was (ostensible) regulatory transparency.…Continue Reading
Energy Efficiency Policy Under Trump (Part I: A Mixed Bag in the Swamp)By Mark Krebs -- December 8, 2020 3 Comments
“DOE acknowledged that if non-condensing gas appliances were eliminated, there would likely be extensive problems (e.g., economics and safety); especially in the case of existing buildings whose venting systems are not designed for lower vent temperatures associated with condensing furnaces and water heaters.”
“… an undersurface administrative state has steadily entrenched its ‘virtuous cycle’ for energy efficiency that limits consumer choice and costs them dearly.”
While hopes were high for the Trump Administration to provide common-sense, market-based regulatory reform at all levels of the Federal government, the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) fell short. There have been some relatively bright spots, and maybe more to come in the next weeks. But the performance of Trump’s appointees to EERE was meh.
The underwhelming performance can be attributed in part to a very late start getting new appointments.…Continue Reading