COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio could save over $19 billion by using energy efficiency strategies that are available right now, says a study released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), an independent, Washington, D.C. nonprofit research group. Ohio could also create more than 32,000 net new jobs by 2025, including well-paying trade and professional jobs needed to design, install, and operate energy efficiency measures. In total, the direct and indirect jobs created would be equivalent to nearly 250 new manufacturing plants relocating to Ohio, but without the demand for infrastructure and other energy needs, the study says. Investments in energy efficiency policies and programs have the added benefit of creating new, high-quality "green-collar" jobs in Ohio and increasing both wages and Gross State Product (GSP).
The study, Shaping Ohio's Energy Future: Energy Efficiency Works,was conducted by ACEEE researchers with support from a team of national experts in energy use. The 183-page report outlines policies to reduce electricity demand through improved energy efficiency, combined heat and power, and demand-response recommendations that reduce peak demand. The energy efficiency policies would reduce peak demand by 18% by 2025, while the demand response savings policies would reduce conventionally generated electricity by an additional 11%, for a total reduction of 29%.
ACEEE suggests a suite of ten innovative programs and policies in addition to approaches that are already beginning to be implemented by the state's utilities. Together these policies and programs will allow Ohio’s investor-owner utilities to meet the State's Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS) savings targets (as required by SB 221), which require at least 22% of electricity consumption savings by 2025.
“Energy efficiency is the most affordable energy resource in Ohio,” said Dr. R. Neal Elliott, Associate Director at ACEEE and lead author of the report. “While 22% efficiency savings may seem challenging, other states are already reducing electricity growth at higher rates than that, at a cost of less than 4 cents per kilowatt-hour. Energy efficiency resources are available in this cost range in every state, including Ohio.” He cited using strategies such as installing energy-efficient windows, using compact fluorescent light bulbs, purchasing ENERGY STAR® appliances, and expanding installation of combined heat and power at factories and institutions across the state that could almost offset the future growth in electric demand.
According to Max Neubauer, Research Assistant at ACEEE and lead researcher for the report, “Energy efficiency is the first fuel in the race for affordable and clean energy, because it is the cheapest and fastest to deploy.” He continued, “When combined with demand response programs, efficiency offers Ohio a sustainable energy future that provides greater energy security, costs less, pollutes less, and supports economic growth better than its current course.”
The study recommends ten key policies as building blocks for this new energy future:
Energy Efficiency Resource Standard
Advance residential buildings initiatives by expanding current Ohio programs like Ohio’s Electric Partnership Program and Home Weatherization Assistance Program, and provide incentives to improve efficiency for homes that are unable to participate in current programs.
Advance commercial buildings initiatives by going beyond simple equipment upgrades to identify opportunities in system design, equipment interaction, and building operations.
Establish Manufacturing Centers of Excellence by partnering with universities to overcome three key barriers: the need for assessments to identify energy efficiency opportunities, access to expertise, and expansion of trained workforce.
Establish rural and agricultural initiatives such as developing educational programs on energy efficiency, offering a rural audit program, and creating a pool of matching funds for USDA grants
Expand Combined Heat and Power (CHP) through continued regulatory reform, and by finding solutions that make CHP more attractive to customers.
Continue the ongoing workforce development efforts by developing an inter-agency stakeholder group to coordinate workforce development activities.
Employ energy efficiency measures in Ohio’s state and local government facilities, which make up 31% of Ohio’s commercial electricity consumption.
Develop state-level appliance and equipment efficiency standards that expand upon the federal appliance standards.
Implement building energy codes that align with federal recommendations and help to build higher quality energy-efficient homes.
Expand utility demand response programs to help shift energy use from peak periods to off-peak periods through customer education, financial incentives, and increased coordination with federal and Ohio agencies.
The report includes a summary of past experience with energy efficiency programs in Ohio’s electricity sector, a discussion of the key issues that must be addressed in shaping a new set of electricity policies on energy efficiency, and detailed recommendations. The report is based on ACEEE’s nearly 30 years of experience working with many other states across the U.S. on similar issues, and reflects the organization's experience with evaluating program "best practices" from around the country.
Shaping Ohio's Energy Future: Energy Efficiency Works is available for free download at www.aceee.org/pubs/e092.htm or a hard copy can be purchased for $60 plus $5 postage and handling from ACEEE Publications, 529 14th St, N.W., Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20045, phone: 202-507-4000, fax: 202-429-2248, e-mail: email@example.com.