Alexandria McBride photo
Energy Efficiency Policy for a Digital World

Last December, following robust negotiations between regulators, NGOs and the private sector, including the tech industry, California became the first state in the U.S. to pass legislation that regulates the energy consumption of computers and displays. The result was an energy efficiency regulation that struck a strong balance between reducing energy consumption and preserving the tech industry’s ability to deliver high-performing products to nearly 25 million tech users in California. ITI and other stakeholders welcomed the rule making and publicly supported the ambitious objectives to protect our environment by saving energy.

Following this historic step, the tech sector worked with regulators to develop guidance in preparation for the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) computers and displays regulation, which has some requirements as early as January 1, 2018.

But it’s important that regulations evolve alongside our technologies. To that end, ITI worked with California regulators to identify a few areas within the existing CEC regulation that potentially limited emerging technologies. After months of technical, data-driven discussions between industry and CEC staff, the Commission unanimously adopted new language last Wednesday to revise definitions for three regulated product categories: mobile workstations, mobile gaming systems and discrete Graphics Processing Units (GPUs). The expanded product definitions make way for new high-computing devices, like one announced by Intel and AMD last week, that may not have been available to California customers without these amendments.

This public-private collaboration serves as model for smart policy design. By actively engaging industry, energy NGOs and other stakeholders throughout the regulatory process, the Commission was able to develop solutions that adapt to a fast-paced market, benefiting consumers and our environment. As mentioned by CEC Commissioner Andrew McAllister at the November 8th CEC Business Meeting, this type of balanced and transparent process only improves the Commission’s efforts to produce energy savings for constituents. We echo the Commissioner’s sentiment regarding this great partnership with government and other stakeholders, and we look forward to building on this model to address global energy and climate challenges.

Public Policy Tags: Environment & Sustainability