Next-generation energy efficiency programs could cut the United States’ electricity use 22% by 2030, according to a study released this week by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
“The well of energy savings from energy efficiency is not running dry,” writes ACEEE Fellow Dan York. “Instead, it is being replenished through advances in technologies and practices, system optimization, and behavioural approaches.”
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Out of a series of 18 measures that could each wipe out at least 1% of annual energy use by 2030, the study identifies five priority steps: large reductions in key plug loads, conservation voltage reduction, new construction programs, comprehensive commercial building retrofits, and smart manufacturing.
ACEEE projects a range of potential savings from 15 to 31%, with 22% as the mid-range.
York points to a shift in focus from the days when a single demand reduction tool like compact fluorescent light bulbs could deliver big savings through a simple, easy-to-define program. “Without a single, dominant energy-efficient technology like the CFL, utilities and other program administrators will have to rely on a wider set of measures and attract greater numbers of participants,” he writes. But this “diversification is just one of the signs that energy efficiency has entered a new era.”