Making the Business of Energy Efficiency Both Scalable and Sustainable

Introduction

In today’s environment, as we face climate change, rising fuel costs, rising power plant construction costs, increasing demand, and shrinking reserve margins, regulators, legislators, electric utilities and energy users are now recognizing the value of energy efficiency as a fundamental component of a utility’s business strategy for managing costs while meeting demand and environmental challenges. In some states, such as California, energy efficiency is considered the “first fuel,” meaning that all cost-effective energy efficiency must be deployed prior to building new supply-side power sources. In other states, such as Missouri, future emissions from a recently sited coal power plant had to be offset with energy efficiency and renewable energy prior to gaining state commission approval to build the plant.1

As utilities rely more and more on energy efficiency in their portfolios of energy resources, it is important to recognize that making energy efficiency (EE) a sustainable and scalable business requires a partnership among utilities, regulators, legislators, and customers. Recent projections by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) show that the electric power industry can offset significant growth in both usage and summer peak demand over the next 20 years by increased energy efficiency programs and demand response measures alone.2 

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