Double Down on Efficiency
Ralph Cavanagh is a senior attorney and co-director of Natural Resources Defense Council's energy program. Cavanagh has been with the NRDC since 1979 and was on the Secretary of Energy Advisory board from 1993-2003.
Ahmad Faruqui is a principal with The Brattle Group. He is an energy economist whose career has been devoted to pricing innovations. He has designed and evaluated a variety of pricing experiments in the U.S. and abroad and maintains a global database of more than three hundred tests of time-varying rates. Faruqui has testified on rate-related issues in several jurisdictions and presents frequently on tariff reforms.
In our industry, most see Messrs. Cavanagh and Faruqui as two intellectual giants of our age in utility regulation and policy. And so do we at Public Utilities Fortnightly. Imagine our delight then when they volunteered to sit together and consider energy efficiency's track record looking back and its prospects looking forward. Naturally the PUF team said, you bet!
Energy efficiency. The first fuel. Embraced by us all as the policy lever that addresses several challenges at the same time. But, how far has our industry traveled on the road to an energy efficiency society, and how much further can we travel before we rest (if we ever do)? Ralph and Ahmad have the answers if anyone does.
Ahmad Faruqui: As you look back at the past four decades, what did we get right and what should we have done differently to further accelerate the nation's adoption of energy efficiency?
Ralph Cavanagh: I'll start with the bottom line, from a frequently cited Bipartisan Policy Center study that I coauthored: "Over the last four decades, energy savings achieved through improvements in energy productivity have exceeded the contribution from all new supply resources in meeting America's growing energy needs." America's Energy Resurgence, 2013, p. VIII.