Setting the stage for conservation.
Lisa V. Wood is the executive director of the Institute for Electric Efficiency, an Edison Foundation program that works with the electric utility industry to advance energy efficiency and demand response.
The stage is set for energy efficiency to take the starring role in addressing the nation’s energy, economic, and environmental goals.
Electric utility budgets for energy efficiency programs have jumped 60 percent over the past two years, reaching $4 billion in 2009––up from $2.5 billion in 2007. Last year’s stimulus package created the largest federal investment in energy efficiency in our nation’s history, with over $16 billion in funding and incentives for energy efficiency and smart-grid programs. And the president’s call this year for another $6 billion in incentives to create the HOMESTAR program continues the emphasis on energy efficiency to save money, stimulate the economy, and protect the environment.
The electric power industry welcomes this spotlight on energy efficiency. The industry has been encouraging home and business owners to get more value for their electricity dollar since the 1970s. These efforts have helped customers save money. And they have helped the industry to defer the need to build generating and transmission capacity.