This year’s 4/20, the high holiday of marijuana culture, comes at a time of robust growth for the cannabis industry. All puns aside, this growth underscores the industry’s need for energy efficiency. As the market develops in states like California, where recreational sales began in January, and Massachusetts, which follows suit in July, and as additional medical and recreational markets emerge around the country, energy efficiency can help reduce the energy use and pollution associated with cannabis cultivation, processing, and distribution facilities.
The increased prevalence of distributed energy resources is driving changes to utility planning. Our new report, The Role of Energy Efficiency in a Distributed Energy Future, found that most utilities are not currently using energy efficiency in distribution system planning, but several states are pursuing new approaches to using efficiency to displace traditional distribution infrastructure upgrades and integrate more renewables into the grid.
A recent federal proposal puts a spotlight on an uncommonly popular topic: wholesale energy markets. Our new research shows that energy efficiency has provided steadily increasing value to grid operators and customers in two such markets. Our report, Energy Efficiency in Capacity Auctions: A Historical Review of Value, finds that since they have been included, efficiency resources have almost tripled in the Mid-Atlantic auction and almost quadrupled in a similar auction in New England.
Our first-ever scorecard of US utilities, released today, reveals striking regional differences and identifies the best — and worst — performers on energy efficiency. The 2017 Utility Energy Efficiency Scorecard looks at the performance of the 51 largest electric utilities in the United States and highlights cutting-edge efforts. Topping the list are Eversource Massachusetts and National Grid Massachusetts, which both earned the same score.
What is your utility doing to promote energy efficiency? Could it be doing more? Find out in ACEEE’s first Utility Energy Efficiency Scorecard, to be released on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Get excited about this first-of-its-kind, comprehensive look at utility-sector energy efficiency performance by joining our countdown to its release. Here are 10 things to look for:
The 21st century has ushered in a new era of measuring personal progress. With wearable technologies, we can now collect more personal data than we ever thought possible, from heart rate and step count to standing time and sleep quality. The ability to measure what we want to manage in real time has brought new meaning to the phrase “big data.” Improved tools for data collection and analysis have not been limited to health metrics. Technologies for collecting energy data in our homes and buildings have improved, producing more and better data than ever before.
Given the importance of small businesses to our national economy, ACEEE has examined successful utility program practices in the small commercial segment. We find there are still significant energy efficiency opportunities. Our new paper describes effective program strategies.
There are many tried-and-true tools in the energy efficiency toolbox. Programs in the utility sector that offer customers a variety of rebates, incentives, and technical services totaled more than $7 billion in 2014. In the private market, energy service performance contracts totaled more than $4 billion. And state energy offices loaned more than $74 million in revolving loans.
Commercial-sector energy use in the US increased by 63% from 1979 to 2012, rising from total source energy use of 10.6 quads in 1979 to a peak of 18.4 quads in 2008 before declining to 17.4 quads in 2012. This growth can largely be attributed to a corresponding increase in commercial building floor area, which grew by 70% over the same period. But that is only part of the story. As the graph below illustrates, as floor area has trended upward over time, energy use per square foot has gone up and down, peaking in the 1999-2003 period but declining since then.