Energy efficiency programs across the United States can reduce demand for just 4.4¢ per kilowatt hour, less than half the cost of new coal-fired generation, according to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).
“This means that smarter uses of energy can replace dirty coal at a fraction of the cost of building coal plants to generate electricity (and without polluting our air or exacerbating climate disruption),” Borgeson writes. The average U.S. household pays 13¢/kWh for electricity, while utilities now pay 9.5¢ for conventional coal.
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The LBNL report is important news for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, since “the EPA very conservatively estimates that increasing efficiency will cost about double the estimate from LBNL’s new analysis,” she notes. “This means that securing more energy efficiency will likely cost far less than what the EPA is projecting when it sets the state-by-state emission reduction targets” under the plan.