Blockchain is generating a lot of buzz as a promising system to verify and track peer-to-peer transactions in the energy sector. It could have multiple applications although there is still debate about which, if any, will work well. What’s clear, however, is that companies are already exploring uses of blockchain to save energy. Let me tell you about three applications that show promise.
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.
During the holiday season, we are inundated with marketing messages as well as goods and services — hallmarks of our market economy. Popular products include holiday lights, once made only with incandescent bulbs but now mostly with LEDs. This shift to efficient LEDs is an offshoot of a much larger market transformation in lighting, which has saved vast amounts of energy.
At the end of February, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) released its final decision in Phase One of its Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) docket. We applaud the commission’s efforts to address 21st-century energy service needs and the improvements in this decision compared to the initial straw proposal.
Washington, D.C.—Well-targeted energy efficiency tax incentives will result in significant energy savings and will get more energy-efficient products into the market faster, according to Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, who testified before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee today. The Senate hearing focused on appropriate uses of the federal tax code for promoting investments in energy efficiency, particularly in the context of emerging discussions on tax reform.
The impact of investments in energy efficiency extends well beyond reducing energy costs or addressing the environmental impacts of energy extraction and use. These investments provide jobs for American workers and help them to support their families and communities.
The economic benefits of energy efficiency extend far beyond lowering energy bills for consumers. Efficiency also contributes to economic development and job creation. But who benefits most from these economic opportunities? At every step of the economic value chain produced by efficiency investments (see figure below), there are opportunities to target the economic and social benefits to those households, businesses, geographies, or sectors for whom they will make the biggest difference.
As the energy efficiency of products, homes, and businesses improves, it becomes less expensive to operate them. The rebound effect postulates that people increase their use of products and facilities as a result of this reduction in operating costs, thereby reducing the energy savings achieved. Periodically, some analysts raise questions about the rebound effect, arguing that it is a major factor that needs to be accounted for when analyzing energy efficiency programs.