Growth in Energy Use Could Drop
by Greener Buildings Staff
PALO ALTO, Calif. -- With the help from efficiency programs, energy users in the U.S. could reduce the growth rate of consumption by 22 percent in the next 20 years -- a reduction equivalent to 14 times the electricity used annually in New York City, according to a new report.
The report released yesterday by the Electric Power Research Institute said the estimated reduction is a realistic expection provided that "key barriers" are addressed.
EPRI said the research and analysis conducted for its report took into consideration "a forecast of likely customer behavior, taking into account existing market, societal and attitudinal barriers as well as regulatory and program funding barriers," in arriving at the assessment of achievable reduction in electricity consumption. Such barriers "could reflect customers' resistance to doing more than the minimum required or a rejection of the attributes of the efficient technology," EPRI said.
The estimated savings reflects a slowing of the annual growth rate of consumption -- projected at 1.07 percent by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its 2008 Annual Energy Outlook -- to 0.83 percent, EPRI said.
EPRI's analysis, entitled "Assessment of Achievable Savings Potential From Energy Efficiency and Demand Response in the U.S.," said even greater savings could be had under ideal conditions. The organization said the annual growth rate of consumption could fall to as low as .68 percent by 2030. But making that drop possible would require costly investments as well as political and regulatory muscle, the nonprofit institute noted.
"A maximum achievable figure assumes a scenario of perfect customer awareness of utility or agency administered programs and effective, fully funded program execution," EPRI said in its announcement of the study. However, the estimate also factors in "the effect of customer rejection of efficiency technologies," the organization said.
The report and its executive summary may be downloaded from EPRI at no charge
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