OKLAHOMA: 2023 SPEER Legislative Priorities
Oklahoma has a reputation of being a pioneer in the energy sector with decades of innovative energy solutions around not just oil and gas but also renewable resources and storage capacity. Oklahoma is a national leader in wind generation, and oil and gas production while continuing to have the most affordable electricity prices in the country. In 2021, the Oklahoma State Energy and Environment Plan was published that highlighted an ambitious plan to ensure the state remained a top energy producer across resources while leveraging opportunities for increased savings and energy efficiency. As the 59th Oklahoma Legislature convenes, SPEER believes that is imperative to emphasize the importance of demand-side resource policies and their positive impacts to the state. Policies like adopting newer building code standards, considering forward looking electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and increased deployment of energy efficiency would significantly improve the state’s resiliency and reliability. SPEER’s legislative priorities are broken down below.
What are our top priorities?
- Federal and State Funding Opportunities
- Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy
- Workforce Development
- Updated Building Codes
→ Federal and State Funding Opportunities: Recent federal legislation would help provide Oklahoma with additional funding necessary to increase the amount of good paying jobs in the state, help state and local governments adopt latest building energy codes, and can boost resiliency in the face of increased extreme weather events. SPEER supports efforts to receive new federal funding for Oklahoma.
→ Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy: C-PACE can be an important tool in the toolbox for Oklahoma counties and property owners as they seek to upgrade their energy infrastructure to higher efficiency capabilities that reduce energy costs over time. The program allows property owners to finance upfront costs of eligible improvements and pay back the costs overtime through voluntary assessment. The program is new, beginning in 2019, but represents an exciting opportunity to expand energy efficiency upgrades across the state in a cost-effective way. SPEER supports additional legislative actions to enhance the efficacy of C-PACE programing in Oklahoma.
→ Workforce Development: Oklahoma added 5.3% more jobs in energy efficiency in the past year. These positions are in everything from construction to manufacturing to trade and professional services. In order to continue growing this job sector growth, SPEER supports continued workforce development with specific focus on veterans, historically underutilized and disadvantaged businesses.
→ Updated Building Codes: Updated building codes and enforcement increases the efficiency of existing and new building stock which decreases energy bills to ratepayers. Specifically low- and moderate-income Oklahomans that live in homes that are not efficient shoulder a disproportionate energy burden to those able to live in homes with new energy efficient appliances, heating and cooling, and other technologies. SPEER supports efforts to adopt updated energy building codes.