Energy efficiency is inadvertently a central tenant of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new Clean Power Plan. The scheme will mandate substantial reductions in carbon emissions from US power plants. The net effect of this plan is that many power plants will be forced to close and efficiency efforts will go a long way to help address this energy shortfall.
The US is ripe for significant increases in energy efficiency as it is currently a laggard compared to the rest of the world. As reviewed by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) the US ranks 13 out of 16 countries in terms of energy efficiency policies and programs. The ranking is based on four categories, building, industry, transportation and national effort. The US received a failing grade with 42 out of a possible 100 on the ACEEE scorecard.
Saving energy is far more cost effective than building new power generation capacity. As reviewed by Lux Research blog, “Negawatts will prove to be the cheapest compliance.” Lux also suggests that we will see more commercial and utility scale solar demand.
According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), saving electricity is considerably cheaper for a utility than producing it – as little as $0.028 per kWh, twice as cheap as coal.
Energy efficiency is also a short term solution while building new supply would take years.
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