Recently Released Analyses Confirm Three Pillars Approach to Climate and Energy Policy
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Submitted by EFC Team on May 27th, 2009

Studies recently released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Consumer Federation of America confirm that energy efficiency is critical to meeting our climate and energy goals at the lowest possible price to consumers and bolster the conclusions of the Coalition’s report: Three Pillars: A Comprehensive Approach to Setting Clean Energy Standards for the Electricity Sector.

Briefly, the Three Pillars paper found that creating three separate but coordinated national standards for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and greenhouse gas emissions delivers the most energy savings, the largest reductions in greenhouse gases, and the lowest costs to consumers.

The NREL study evaluated the impact of the renewable energy standards included in climate and energy bills under consideration from Senator Jeff Bingaman, Representative Edward Markey, and Representative Harry Waxman.   The study did not evaluate the free-standing energy efficiency standard proposed by Rep. Markey.  NREL found that, in cases where efficiency is most aggressively pursued in the RES, greenhouse gas reductions are the greatest and consumer costs are the lowest.    Though combining efficiency in an RES does not deliver as many savings as a standalone efficiency standard as called for by the Three Pillars Approach, the findings bear out the conclusion that efficiency is a keystone to building a solid climate and energy policy.  Click here to read more about the NREL study.

The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) study was an emphatic endorsement of efficiency as the first and best option for climate and energy policy.  According to CFA, the original Waxman Markey discussion draft, which closely resembles the Three Pillars Approach, would save consumers $200 billion by 2030.  CFA Research Director Mark Cooper noted that specific standards for efficiency and renewable are needed to fix the many market imperfections that keep consumers and utilities from acting in their economic and environmental best interests by investing in efficiency.  You can learn more about the CFA report here in our previous post.

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