ACEEE: How states can harness energy efficiency to strengthen economy and reduce pollution

Date: 03/06/2014

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has published “Change Is in the Air: How States Can Harness Energy Efficiency to Strengthen the Economy and Reduce Pollution (Research Report E1401). In this new study, authors Sara Hayes, Garrett Herndon, James P. Barrett, Joanna Mauer, Maggie Molina, Max Neubauer, Daniel Trombley, and Lowell Ungar evaluate the implications of using end-use energy efficiency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.

In this new study, the authors quantified the energy, economic, and pollution-reduction impacts of selected energy-saving policies on a state-by-state basis, using four of the most common and effective energy efficiency policy options available to a state:

■ Implement an energy efficiency savings target

■ Enact national model building codes

■ Construct combined heat and power systems

■ Adopt efficiency standards for products/equipment

Projected results
The report concludes that if every state adopted and implemented the four policies, in 2030 carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector would be reduced by 26% relative to 2012 emissions, and power demand would be reduced by 25% relative to 2012. The nation would avoid 600 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, save over 925 million MWh of electricity, and obviate the need for 494 power plants in 2030.

A key finding is that an emissions standard for existing power plants set at 26% below 2012 levels can be achieved at no net cost to the economy. They say that this standard will create 611,000 new jobs, and will have a positive economic impact on the country.

The analysis also finds that all states would enjoy considerable economic and environmental benefits under this scenario, since each of them has a great deal of untapped efficiency potential. Table E1 (shown below) lists the percentage reduction in electricity consumption that each state would achieve in 2030 relative to 2012.

“If enacted, the energy efficiency policies in our study can significantly reduce greenhouse gases while states maintain the flexibility to make use of all of their energy resources. The policies and technologies included in our analysis have already been tested and are deployable now. The benefits can be quantified. There is no need to delay.”

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Source: IDEA