Industry News




 

01/18/2013

Energy efficiency programs expanding across U.S.

 
Energy efficiency programs are expanding at a rapid rate.

Spending on energy efficiency programs funded by electric and natural gas utility customers will double by 2025 to about $9.5 billion per year, according to projections published today by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

These funds, which come from a charge on utility bills, historically constitute the nation's largest source of spending on programs to foster the adoption of more efficient products and buildings. According to the Berkeley Lab report, energy efficiency programs funded by utility customers are projected to continue expanding beyond the traditional bastions of energy efficiency in the Northeast and West.

By 2025, states in the Midwest and South could account for 49% of total U.S. spending on customer-funded energy efficiency programs, up from 27% in 2010. By 2025, only a handful of states would not have significant customer-funded efficiency programs.

The projected growth in program spending is driven by policies in a number of states requiring that utilities obtain all cost-effective energy efficiency savings. Another driver is energy efficiency resource standards, which require electric utilities to meet minimum energy savings goals each year.

"In addition, we see some utilities turning to energy efficiency as part of their strategy for reliable delivery of electricity as older coal-fired generators are retired," says staff scientist Charles A. Goldman, a co-author of the study and head of the laboratory's energy analysis and environmental impacts department.

For the analysis, the Berkeley Lab team developed low, medium, and high scenarios for program spending and savings, intended to reflect a range of potential outcomes under the current policy environment – that is, without considering possible major new policy developments. The analysis was based on a detailed review of all relevant state policies and legislation, regulatory filings and decisions, and utility integrated resource and demand-side management plans. The researchers refined the scenarios through extensive interviews with regional and national energy efficiency experts, efficiency program administrators, regulatory staff, and other industry actors.

Galen Barbose, the lead author of the report, explains that "this study is intended to provide a detailed, bottom-up analysis of state policies and to capture the market context in which programs operate."

Total U.S. spending on electric and gas efficiency programs (excluding load management programs) is projected to grow in all scenarios examined, ranging from $6.5 billion to $15.6 billion in 2025, with a mid-range projection of $9.5 billion under a scenario in which states are fairly successful in ramping up their programs to meet state energy-savings policies now on the books. This compares to total spending of $4.8 billion in 2010. As discussed within the report, the range in potential spending trajectories reflects a number of key challenges and significant uncertainties in market and policy drivers, including concerns about utility rate impacts from energy efficiency programs, the timing and pace of the economic recovery, the long-term trend in natural gas prices, and the impact of recent and possible future changes to federal and state minimum efficiency standards for appliances and building codes.

If states remain on their current policy paths, annual incremental savings from electric energy efficiency programs could be expected to reach about 0.8% of retail electricity sales in 2025, compared to about 0.5% of retail electricity sales in 2010.

Significantly, electricity savings at that level in 2025 could offset the majority of load growth forecasted through that year in the Energy Information Administration (EIA)'s most recent reference case forecast for electricity usage. This assumes that the EIA forecast correctly estimates savings from future customer-funded energy efficiency programs.

"So far, only a few very aggressive states have come close to offsetting growth in electricity needs through efficiency," Goldman says. "Our finding that, in aggregate, U.S. energy efficiency programs could offset a significant portion of projected load growth in the electricity sector over the next decade is subject to some uncertainties but striking nonetheless."

In the current policy and market environment, spending on gas energy efficiency programs is projected to continue its rise in the near term but flatten from 2015 onward, reflecting the influence of low natural gas prices and new state and federal equipment efficiency standards.

 


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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

Bluebeam® Revu® simplifies digital facilities document management from design review to leveraging as-builts, maintenance manuals and O&Ms submittals.

 


 
09/19/2014

New regulations from the DOE would improve commercial air conditioner efficiency by as much as 30%. 

09/18/2014

A new study suggests that the installed cost of photovoltaic solar power continues to drop in the U.S.

09/17/2014

A new technology developed at Rice University effectively deices glass surfaces while remaining transparent for radio frequency transmission.

09/16/2014

The USGBC and American Chemistry Council have put aside their differences to work together on new improvements to the LEED certification system. 

09/15/2014

Researchers have developed a new process to help cloud computing systems use less energy while continuing to provide high levels of data services.

09/12/2014

Researchers have found the main factors that influence the amount and type of building damage caused by various types of salts. 

09/11/2014

A new study has demonstrated that proactive ergonomic training can decrease worker discomfort and increase productivity. 

09/10/2014

The University of Utah has upgraded its historic Dumke Health Professions Education building to save an impressive 40% on energy costs.

09/09/2014

Hoping to build on LEED's success, PEER evaulates the performance and modernization of electric grids. 

09/08/2014

The USGBC has developed a new tool to help streamline the LEED certification process. 

09/05/2014

Researchers have developed a fluorescent lamp that emits Wi-Fi signals to allow connectivity throughout buildings.

09/04/2014

Tests show effective measures for reducing earthquake damage to computer servers. 

09/03/2014

Health costs drop by half as a result of environmental regulations.

09/02/2014

A new study challenges the idea that sparse workplaces produce happier, more productive employees.

08/29/2014

New tool from FEMA helps facility managers prepare for and mitigate the effects of nonstructural earthquake damage. 

08/28/2014

Is your building's exterior prepared for consistent snowstorms?

08/27/2014

Researchers have developed wearable, customizable technology to handle access control at busy hotels. 

08/26/2014

A new study shows that hotels which are LEED certified bring in more revenue than their non-certified competitors. 

08/25/2014

Policies designed to reduce carbon emissions have the added benefit of increasing air quality, which could pay for the reduction policies themselves. 

08/22/2014

Researchers at Michigan State University have developed a luminescent solar concentrator that is as transparent as glass. 

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