Many electric cooperative, municipal utility and government clients offer a range of energy efficiency (EE) and demand response (DR) programs to their customers (called “members” in the electric cooperative world). These entities cite many reasons for offering such programs to customers but the most touted benefits of EE & DR programs are:
- Many EE&DR programs are much less expensive than the capital and operating costs of new generation facilities
- Offer a way to save energy and money
- Reducing energy use can help address climate change issues
- Can help postpone the need for new power plants and transmission and distribution facilities
- Can reduce emissions of CO2, SO2, NOX and particulates from power plants
- Can help diversify a utility’s resource mix and reduce reliance on fossil fuels
- Can help comply with applicable government laws and regulations (e.g., energy efficiency portfolio standards, integrated resource planning requirements, US EPA rules, etc.)
- Can help address high bill complaints of utility customers
FUNDING OF EE & DR PROGRAMS IS INCREASING
Due to increasing concerns about climate change, national energy security and volatility in fossil fuel prices, electric and natural gas utilities and government agencies in the US and Canada are increasing commitments to energy efficiency and demand response programs to meet the energy needs of residential, commercial and industrial consumers. The Consortium for Energy Efficiency reports that US and Canadian combined gas and electric Demand-Side Management (DSM) program budgets reached $9.6 billion in 2013, representing a 2% increase over 2012 DSM budgets. U.S. and Canadian combined gas and electric DSM program expenditures reached $8.0 billion in 2012, representing a 9% increase over 2011 expenditures.
Many electric utilities seek guidance relating to best practices for the design, implementation and evaluation of EE & DR programs. If you are a decision-maker in a utility or government agency that is interested in expanding the EE & DR offerings of your organization, I will be outlining some EE & DR best practices and methods in coming weeks to provide guidance on where to find the data, analytical techniques and case studies to jump-start your energy efficiency and demand response initiatives, including providing citations to best practices studies developed by the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency.
Richard Spellman, President | Board of Directors | CONTACT
GDS Associates, Inc. – Marietta, GA