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Mar 30 -- Comment period extended to April 17, 2023. https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-06486

1) Feb 1 -- The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (“EPCA”) prescribes energy conservation standards for various consumer products and certain commercial and industrial equipment, including consumer conventional cooking products. EPCA requires the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) to periodically determine whether more-stringent standards would be technologically feasible and economically justified, and would result in significant energy savings. In this supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (“SNOPR”), DOE proposes new and amended energy conservation standards for consumer conventional cooking products. DOE will accept comments by April 3, 2023.

EPCA requires the Attorney General to provide DOE a written determination of whether the proposed standard is likely to lessen competition. The DOJ Antitrust Division invites input on the likely competitive impact of the proposed standard. Comments regarding the likely competitive impact of the proposed standard should be sent to the DOJ by March 3, 2023.
 
DOE proposes to remove the existing prescriptive standard for gas cooking tops prohibiting a constant burning pilot light. Instead, for conventional cooking tops, DOE proposes performance standards only, shown in Table I.1 which are the maximum allowable integrated annual energy consumption (“IAEC”) and expressed in kilowatt-hours per year (“kWh/year”) for electric cooking tops and thousand British thermal units per year (“kBtu/year”) for gas cooking tops. The IAEC includes active mode, standby mode, and off mode energy use. These proposed standards for conventional cooking tops, if adopted, would apply to all product classes listed in Table I.1 and manufactured in, or imported into, the United States starting on the date three years after the publication of any final rule for this rulemaking. DOE notes that constant burning pilot lights, which are currently prohibited under the existing prescriptive standard for gas cooking tops consume approximately 2,000 kBtu/year. While DOE's proposal would remove this prescriptive requirement from its regulations, DOE notes that, based on its review of the existing prescriptive standard prohibiting constant burning pilots for gas cooking tops, the proposed performance standards of 1,204 kBtu per year for gas cooking tops would not be achievable by products if they were to incorporate a constant burning pilot.
 
For conventional ovens, the proposed standard is a prescriptive design requirement for the control system of the oven. Conventional ovens shall not be equipped with a control system that uses a linear power supply. These proposed standards, if adopted, would apply to all conventional ovens manufactured in, or imported into, the United States starting on the date three years after the publication of the final rule for this rulemaking. DOE notes that the current prescriptive standards for conventional gas ovens prohibiting constant burning pilot lights would continue to be applicable.

The industry net present value (“INPV”) is the sum of the discounted cash flows to the industry from the base year through the end of the analysis period (2022-2056). Using a real discount rate of 9.1%, DOE estimates that the INPV for manufacturers of consumer conventional cooking products in the case without new and amended standards is $1,607M in 2021 dollars. Under the proposed standards, the change in INPV is estimated to range from -9.6% to -9.4%, which is approximately −$154.8M to −$150.4M. In order to bring products into compliance with new and amended standards, it is estimated that the industry would incur total conversion costs of $183.4M.

The industry net present value (“INPV”) is the sum of the discounted cash flows to the industry from the base year through the end of the analysis period (2022-2056). Using a real discount rate of 9.1%, DOE estimates that the INPV for manufacturers of consumer conventional cooking products in the case without new and amended standards is $1,607M in 2021 dollars. Under the proposed standards, the change in INPV is estimated to range from -9.6% to -9.4%, which is approximately −$154.8M to −$150.4M. In order to bring products into compliance with new and amended standards, it is estimated that the industry would incur total conversion costs of $183.4M.

DOE's analyses indicate that the proposed energy conservation standards for consumer conventional cooking products would save a significant amount of energy. Relative to the case without new and amended standards, the lifetime energy savings for consumer conventional cooking products purchased in the 30-year period that begins in the anticipated year of compliance with the new and amended standards (2027-2056) amount to 0.46 quadrillion British thermal units (“Btu”), or quads. This represents a savings of 3.4 percent relative to the energy use of these products in the case without amended standards (referred to as the “no-new-standards case”).

The cumulative net present value (“NPV”) of total consumer benefits of the proposed standards for consumer conventional cooking products ranges from $0.65B (at a 7% discount rate) to $1.71B (at a 3% discount rate). This NPV expresses the estimated total value of future operating-cost savings minus the estimated increased product and installation costs for consumer conventional cooking products purchased in 2027-2056.

The proposed standards for consumer conventional cooking products are projected to yield significant environmental benefits. DOE estimates that the proposed standards would result in cumulative emission reductions (over the same period as for energy savings) of 21.9 million metric tons (“Mt”) of carbon dioxide (“CO2”), 2.2 thousand tons of sulfur dioxide (“SO2”), 51.8 thousand tons of nitrogen oxides (“NOX”), 244.9 thousand tons of methane (“CH4”), 0.1 thousand tons of nitrous oxide (“N2O”), and 0.01 tons of mercury (“Hg”).

DOE estimates the value of climate benefits from a reduction in greenhouse gases (“GHG”) using four different estimates of the social cost of CO2 (“SC-CO2”), the social cost of methane (“SC-CH4”), and the social cost of nitrous oxide (“SC-N2O”). Together these represent the social cost of GHG (“SC-GHG”). DOE used interim SC-GHG values developed by an Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases (“IWG”). The derivation of these values is discussed in section IV.L of this document. For presentational purposes, the climate benefits associated with the average SC-GHG at a 3% discount rate are estimated to be $1.17B. DOE does not have a single central SC-GHG point estimate and it emphasizes the importance and value of considering the benefits calculated using all four SC-GHG estimates.

DOE estimated the monetary health benefits from SO2 and NOX emissions reductions using benefit per ton estimates from the scientific literature, as discussed in section IV.L of this document. DOE estimated the present value of the health benefits would be $0.61B using a 7% discount rate, and $1.63B using a 3% discount rate. DOE is currently only monetizing (for SO2 and NOX) PM2.5 precursor health benefits and (for NOX) ozone precursor health benefits, but will continue to assess the ability to monetize other effects such as health benefits from reductions in direct PM2.5 emissions.

DOE has tentatively concluded that the proposed standards represent the maximum improvement in energy efficiency that is technologically feasible and economically justified, and would result in the significant conservation of energy. Specifically, with regards to technological feasibility, products achieving these standard levels are already commercially available for all product classes covered by this proposal. As for economic justification, DOE's analysis shows that the benefits of the proposed standard exceed, to a great extent, the burdens of the proposed standards. That conclusion remains true under any reasonable analytical assumption—i.e., the proposed standards are net beneficial under any discount rate (both for climate and non-climate benefits and costs), any cost scenario, and any other scenario DOE analyzed. Moreover, because consumer operating cost savings and health benefits alone greatly exceed costs under all such assumptions and scenarios, DOE noted that this conclusion does not depend on climate benefits (though DOE's estimates of climate benefits remain important and robust).

Using a 7% discount rate for consumer benefits and costs and NOX and SO2 reduction benefits, and a 3% discount rate case for GHG social costs, the estimated cost of the proposed standards for consumer conventional cooking products is $32.5 million per year in increased product costs, while the estimated annual benefits are $100.8M in reduced product operating costs, $67.0M in climate benefits and $64.9M in health benefits. The net monetized benefit amounts to $200.3M per year.

The significance of energy savings offered by a new or amended energy conservation standard cannot be determined without knowledge of the specific circumstances surrounding a given rulemaking. For example, some covered products and equipment have substantial energy consumption occur during periods of peak energy demand. The impacts of these products on the energy infrastructure can be more pronounced than products with relatively constant demand. Accordingly, DOE evaluates the significance of energy savings on a case-by-case basis.

The standards are projected to result in estimated national energy savings of 0.46 quads FFC, the equivalent of the electricity use of 19 million residential homes in one year. The NPV of consumer benefit for these projected energy savings is $0.65 billion using a discount rate of 7 percent, and $1.71B using a discount rate of 3%. The cumulative emissions reductions associated with these energy savings are 21.9 Mt of CO2, 2.2 thousand tons of SO2, 51.8 thousand tons of NOX, 0.01 tons of Hg, 244.9 thousand tons of CH4, and 0.1 thousand tons of N2O. The estimated monetary value of the climate benefits from reduced GHG emissions (associated with the average SC-GHG at a 3-percent discount rate) is $1.17 billion. The estimated monetary value of the health benefits from reduced SO2 and NOX emissions is $0.61B using a 7% discount rate and $1.63B using a 3% discount rate. As such, DOE has initially determined the energy savings from the proposed standard levels are “significant” within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(3)(B). More detailed discussion is contained in the remainder of this document and the accompanying technical support document (“TSD”).

DOE also considered more-stringent energy efficiency levels as potential standards, and is still considering them in this rulemaking. However, DOE has tentatively concluded that the potential burdens of the more-stringent energy efficiency levels would outweigh the projected benefits.

Based on consideration of the public comments DOE receives in response to this document and related information collected and analyzed during the course of this rulemaking effort, DOE may adopt energy efficiency levels presented in this document that are either higher or lower than the proposed standards, or some combination of level(s) that incorporate the proposed standards in part.
 
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-00610 [87 pages]  
Feb 28 correction https://www.federalregister.gov/d/C1-2023-00610

2) Feb 28 -- Notification of data availability (NODA)
 
On February 1, 2023, DOE published a SNOPR . . . . In this NODA, DOE is publishing additional data and information to clarify the analysis for conventional cooking tops. DOE requests comments, data, and information regarding the data. DOE will accept comments, data, and information regarding the SNOPR and this NODA on or before April 3, 2023.
 
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-03864

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