The Energy Future Coalition recently submitted a response to a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee white paper asking for comments on a potential Clean Energy Standard – a mechanism that would require utilities to generate a certain percentage of clean energy in their generation mix by a set date (President Obama has suggested that Congress pass a CES of 80 percent clean energy by 2050). The Energy Future Coalition believes that as part of a potential CES, energy efficiency should be fully included without any arbitrary maximum or cap.
Improving energy productivity is by far the lowest-cost, largest, quickest, and cleanest way to meet clean energy goals. By reducing waste, efficiency gains increase energy supply, directly addressing the energy security and resource adequacy concerns that compound the overall energy policy dilemma.
Efficiency improvements are available everywhere, can be implemented immediately using on-the-shelf technologies, and provide a number of economic benefits. Achieving efficiency gains is labor-intensive and creates new jobs at the skill levels many unemployed Americans possess. By reducing end-use energy costs, these gains will strengthen the productivity of the U.S. economy, and reduced demand will lower energy prices across the board.
As the only clean energy resource that offers a cost per kilowatt well below the current average cost of electricity generation, including energy efficiency in a CES as a clean energy resource on an unlimited basis will not only reduce the cost of a CES, it could indeed lead to a net savings for American ratepayers.
However, the Clean Energy Standard will not be met by energy efficiency alone. Indeed, far from crowding out renewable energy alternatives, inclusion of energy efficiency can enable the inclusion of alternatives with higher-than-average costs of generation because the savings from efficiency will help bring down the overall cost. Many renewable energy technologies are available now and will be part of any utility’s compliance strategy.
To read the Energy Future Coalition’s comments in their entirety, please click here.
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