Energy efficiency “is the most cost-effective way to reduce emissions” and cut electricity consumption under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions concluded this month in a review of six economic modelling studies.
“All studies project that energy efficiency will be the most used and least-cost option to implement the plan,” C2ES reports. “Most of the studies project costs to the average U.S. household of less than 25 cents a day.” And “none of the models account for the economic benefits of avoided climate change impacts.”
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By relying on energy efficiency, the models show, the U.S. grid can accommodate “moderately more reliance on natural gas over coal” without driving up gas prices.
The CPP “is unlikely to boost zero-carbon renewable and nuclear power generation beyond the growth already forecast under business-as-usual scenarios,” Hopkins writes. However, “there may be some modeling limitations behind this finding, as the utility-scale models used in these studies treat contributions from distributed renewable generation such as rooftop solar only minimally.” Further incentives under the CPP could drive distributed generation up beyond the forecasts, he says.