WK1LIVE3: Emerging Issues in States and Utilities: COVID-19 Response, Interim Mitigation Measures and Longer Term Trends
"The pace of change in the energy and utility sectors was already accelerating before the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2020, energy efficiency program implementation and related construction activities have been shut down across the country and nearly all of BPA’s members are implementing drastic measures to ensure that their businesses can survive during this time, including re-prioritizing workloads and furloughing their staff. An April 14, 2020 Report by BW Research found that more than 106,000 clean energy workers (including 69,800 energy efficiency workers) lost their jobs in the month of March 2020 alone, wiping out all the job gains in renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean vehicles and other clean energy sectors in 2019. This session will review big-picture topics and trends at the state and utility level and explore how they may affect our industry. We will discuss interim COVID-19 response measures that states are considering to maintain energy efficiency jobs - including funding for online training programs, reimbursements for ongoing administrative program services, remote energy assessments for completed and/or future energy efficiency retrofits as well as health and safety protocols and training for post-COVID entry into homes and buildings. This session will also discuss how COVID-19 will potentially impact longer term state initiatives on greenhouse gas reduction, 100% renewable energy goals and electrification and grid-interactive residential buildings (and the many other policy topics that will be highlighted throughout BPA’s virtual conference). Finally, this session will describe how many national, state and local organizations are planning to emphasize energy efficiency’s role as an economic development tool in federal and state stimulus efforts and the continued need for states to support local energy efficiency jobs as state budget issues emerge in the coming weeks and months. "