New technologies are opening the utility domain to innovation and competition. Traditional utilities will shrink as outsourcing providers and competitors grow. Survival in this new market requires...
Beyond Green Hype
Getting realistic about energy efficiency.
objectives. Cities can be critical to this process, building the coalition and continually communicating to each stakeholder in terms of their individual goals.
Lesson #7: Force explicit program decisions through program portfolio analysis that includes all stakeholder groups. Energy savings aren’t always the only objective of every energy efficiency program. Many will have other purposes, such as job creation or decreasing energy costs for low-income communities. Full benefits comparisons force these trade-offs. For example, program spending should be assessed on factors ranging from effectiveness in eliminating or deferring new supply spending, to reducing emissions ( e.g., dollars per MTCO2e reduced), to extending the life of existing plant, etc.
Energy efficiency will play a critical role in addressing today’s energy challenges. It has become abundantly clear that the way we produce, and use, energy in the 20th century will have to change in the 21st. However, we need to be reasonable about our expectations. It’s important to look beyond much-hyped theoretical potential, and to focus the discussion on the specific paths that will enable businesses, utilities, and municipalities to realize energy efficiency savings in a cost-effective manner.