Energy Efficiency Key In New Power Plant Rule

power plantPosted by Heidi Schwartz

In response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new proposal to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants, Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), made the following statement: “Energy efficiency is the cheapest, cleanest, and most readily available energy resource to help states cut carbon pollution. “By including energy efficiency in its proposal, the Environmental Protection Agency has created a path for states to lower consumer energy bills through modest investments. States that take advantage of this flexibility will benefit both the economy and the environment. “The real story here is about economic opportunity. Based on our recent study, we project that if states choose the efficiency path in the proposal, they would create hundreds of thousands of jobs and lower energy bills across the country by tens of billions of dollars a year. “Across America, states are beginning to mine the energy efficiency resource, and this proposal allows them to craft plans that fit their unique circumstances. The states that increase their commitment to cutting energy waste will create jobs and economic opportunities, making them better, stronger communities.”

Quick Facts about Energy Efficiency:

  • In the five-year period from 2008-2012, new efficiency improvements from utility programs and appliance standards have avoided the need for more than 275 power plants. An ACEEE analysis shows that energy efficiency could help states offset the need for nearly 500 power plants, reducing carbon pollution by 26%.
  • Since the 1970s, energy efficiency has been a major contributor to the U.S. energy landscape. Previous research by ACEEE found that economy-wide improvements in energy efficiency contributed to more than a 50% reduction in U.S. energy use relative to what it would have been if pre-1973 trends had continued. Economy-wide improvements in energy efficiency, along with structural changes in our economy, supplied more energy than domestic coal, natural gas, and oil combined.
  • Energy efficiency is the lowest-cost electricity resource for utilities. This proposal cites a recent ACEEE report finding that the energy saved from programs that help customers save energy only costs utilities about two to three cents per kilowatt hour, while generating the same amount of electricity from burning coal or natural gas can cost two to three times more.
  • Twenty-four states currently have an annual energy savings target. Forty-one states have adopted national model building codes. Combined heat and power provides more than 30% of the U.S. industrial sector’s electricity needs.
  • Energy efficiency is the use of technologies and processes to produce the same or better services (e.g., light, space conditioning, motor drive power) using less energy.
  • Additional information on the state-by-state impacts of energy efficiency programs and policies on jobs and gross state product is available in an April 2014 report (which can be downloaded here).