The industrial sector offers tremendous opportunity for energy savings, and a significant opportunity to instill the tenets of energy efficiency within facilities that, in turn, employ and influence millions of people. It has thus been an attractive target sector for states looking to reach new levels of energy savings through efficiency. The sector itself, working constantly to increase shareholder value and reduce expenses, has found energy efficiency investments to be an attractive avenue to achieve those ends. Additionally, as climate change awareness and mitigation strategies increase, energy efficiency will likely be increasingly prioritized as a critical solution to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
Industrial energy efficiency programs are predominately financed by systems benefit funds. The funding is then used to pay incentives or provide technical assistance for specific energy efficiency projects administered by local utilities or other entities. Other utilities fund energy efficiency programs by rolling the expense of running the program into their overall expenses, and cover the expenses by including them in their rate calculations during rate cases.
Industrial energy efficiency programs have been successful in achieving savings in the industrial sector, bringing industrial companies into a more energy-efficient paradigm. These programs have been around for years, operating with varying degrees of efficacy, support, and market penetration. Though the industrial sector is not the easiest sector to reach, it is a sector that provides significant returns on program investments.