Energy efficiency can reduce U.S. electricity consumption by 8 to 11 percent by 2030


Arshad Mansoor,
Vice President of
Power Delivery &
Utilization, EPRI
Palo Alto, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — January 16, 2009 – Energy efficiency programs in the United States could reduce electricity consumption in 2030 by between 8 and 11 percent, or from 398 to 544 billion kWh, according to a new study from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

Or put another way energy efficiency could reduce the forecast 1.07 percent annual growth rate in electricity consumption between 2008 and 2030 by 22 percent to 36 percent, to an annual growth rate of 0.83 percent to 0.68 percent.

Utilities and policy makers are looking to energy efficiency to help meet the challenges of maintaining reliable and affordable electric service, wisely managing energy resources, and reducing carbon emissions. As a consequence, many states have established, or are considering, legislation to mandate energy efficiency savings levels and regulatory mechanisms to allow utilities to make energy efficiency a sustainable business. However, fundamental to such policies are estimates of the potential for energy efficiency and it was to help address this need that the study was commissioned.

The study notes that the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) 2008 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO 2008) estimates the annual electricity consumption for the U.S. in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors at 3,717 TWh in 2008. The AEO 2008 also projects consumption to increase by 26 percent to 4,696 TWh in 2030, an annualized growth rate of 1.07 percent.

Turning to summer peak demand the report says summer peak demand in the U.S., aggregated from non-coincident regional peaks, is projected to be 801 GW in 2008, and is expected to increase to 1,117 GW by 2030 – an increase of 39 percent, and larger than the increase in consumption due primarily to the expected growth in the share of air conditioned homes and buildings.

The study finds the combination of demand response and energy efficiency programs has the potential to reduce non-coincident summer peak demand by 157 GW to 218 GW. This corresponds to a reduction in peak demand of 14 percent to 20 percent, and a reduction in the forecast growth rate in peak demand of 46 percent to 65 percent through 2030. Half the peak demand savings result from energy efficiency actions and the other half from activities specifically designed to reduce peak demand, i.e. demand response.

In both cases the lower limit is the realistic achievable figure, which includes a forecast of likely customer behavior, taking into account existing market, societal and attitudinal barriers as well as regulatory and program funding barriers. The upper limit assumes a scenario of perfect customer awareness of utility or agency administered programs and effective, fully funded program execution, and includes the effect of customer rejection of efficiency technologies.

“This study is well suited to inform utilities, policymakers, regulators, and other stakeholder groups,” said Arshad Mansoor, vice president of Power Delivery and Utilization for EPRI. “Estimates of energy efficiency potential affect forecasts of electricity demand, and electric utilities must make prudent investments in generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure to reliably and cost-effectively address this demand.”

The study was prepared by Global Energy Partners, LLC and the Brattle Group.