Energy Efficiency as a Resource
Virginia has recently made a major leap forward on energy efficiency and can serve as a successful model for utility efforts under consideration in Southeast states, including Louisiana, North Carolina, and Florida.
Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rosselló is expected to soon sign legislation that sets ambitious energy-saving targets, joining a number of states that are pushing energy efficiency alongside renewables in response to climate change and resilience challenges.
An increasing number of states are finding new ways to track and value energy savings over time, according to research published today. Energy efficiency savings can accrue over many years, but most policies focus only on the first year. Our report, Energy Efficiency Over Time: Measuring and Valuing Lifetime Energy Savings in Policy and Planning, explores recent state efforts to take a longer view and the challenges they face when policies track only short-term savings.
Puerto Rico experienced another island-wide blackout last week. Distributed energy resources such as combined heat and power (CHP) could help communities avoid or minimize some impacts of large-scale natural disasters including blackouts.
Extreme weather events and natural disasters such as bomb cyclones, forest fires, the polar vortex, and hurricanes are wreaking havoc on buildings, the electric grid, and other critical US infrastructure. Some communities are still struggling to rebuild from last year’s disasters, even as another hurricane season approaches.
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.