Why utilities are investing in this technology as a way to boost resiliency and reduce consumer costs
What if there was a technology your utility could deploy today that was cheaper and cleaner than most existing power generation, that boosted system resiliency and reliability, and was twice as efficient? Would you want them to use it?
The Department of Energy’s 2017 budget request was released back in February, and is now awaiting congressional approval. The request included $261 million for the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), the part of DOE that focuses on energy use in the manufacturing sector.
The industrial sector represents a big opportunity for low-cost energy savings from utility energy efficiency programs. In general, investments in energy efficiency lower operating costs for manufacturers, which increases their productivity and improves competitiveness. When these investments are made through utility programs, businesses get the added value of access to technical expertise, project implementation support, and financial incentives that reduce initial costs.
The past year included many successes, including quite a few that we can build on in the new year. Among the notable developments in 2015:
The Department of Energy (DOE) issued new efficiency standards today for commercial and industrial pumps that are based on efficiency levels negotiated by manufacturers, efficiency advocates, and other stakeholders. In addition to establishing the first-ever national efficiency standards for pumps, the final rule also provides a mechanism for energy efficiency programs to incentivize high-efficiency pump packages.
The industrial sector, which includes dozens of individual industries spanning agriculture, forestry, fisheries, construction, mining, and manufacturing, accounts for about one-fifth of the US gross domestic product. Industry is unique among the end-use sectors in that its energy intensity has declined consistently over the past 35 years, as can be seen in the figure below.
Independent Reports Reach Same Conclusions on the Future of Energy Efficiency Evaluation, Measurement, and Verification
Washington, DC—ACEEE and Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP) released new reports today that analyze the current and future impacts of information and communications technologies (ICT) on evaluation, measurement, and verification (EM&V) practices. EM&V demonstrates the value of energy efficiency programs by providing accurate, transparent, and consistent assessments of their performance.
Energy efficiency improvements provide value over and above utility bill savings. ACEEE’s new report Recognizing the Value of Energy Efficiency’s Multiple Benefits describes the gains outside of energy savings created by energy efficiency improvements. Many of these benefits accrue to residential and business energy consumers. Additional benefits accrue in the form of cost reductions to the utility system, resulting in lower costs for all customers.
Intelligent efficiency, a suite of new technologies and approaches, is taking us to a place we have long sought: a future where energy use is optimized automatically. It’s already changing how buildings are managed, organizations are evaluated, and policies are implemented. The disruption is comprehensive across all sectors, but so are the opportunities.
Recently, the Department of Energy (DOE) and the White House Office of Science and Technology released the second Quadrennial Technology Review, or QTR. The 489 page tome bears resemblance to many other government reports that are too often relegated to the TL;DR file—too long; didn’t read. That would be unfortunate for those of us who care about the future of energy efficiency technologies.