Energy efficiency programs in the U.S. could realistically reduce the rate of growth for electricity consumption by 22 percent over the next two decades if key barriers can be addressed, according to an analysis by the Electric Power Research Institute. The potential energy savings in 2030 would be 236 billion kilowatt hours, equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 14 New York Cities.
The report (available at epri.com) includes a forecast of likely customer behavior, taking into account existing market, societal and attitudinal barriers as well as regulatory and program funding barriers. The barriers could include customers’ resistance to doing more than the minimum required, or not making the most of efficient technologies.
The EPRI analysis entitled “Assessment of Achievable Savings Potential From Energy Efficiency and Demand Response in the U.S.” found that under an ideal set of conditions consumption growth rate could be further reduced by nearly 40%, to as low as 0.68 percent annually by 2030. Achieving the ideal would require costly investments as well as political and regulatory support.
Many states have established, or are considering, legislation to mandate energy efficiency savings levels. Studies of California’s AB32 law have demonstrated that such laws can bring significant economic benefits and new jobs if properly implemented.