The fourth building block in the proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) is the decrease in electricity use and demand resulting from improved energy efficiency and demand-side management. As with all the building blocks, the EPA estimated the energy efficiency potential in each of the states. The efficiency potential was factored into the final state carbon reduction goal by reducing the denominator of the state emission rate targets (lbs/MWh).
EPA is quick to point out that this does not prohibit a state from using demand reductions to comply with the CPP. In the Goal Computation Technical Support Document the EPA notes that the avoided generation from energy efficiency programs can be added to the states generation as zero emission power thereby lowering the states emission rate and helping to achieve compliance with CPP. This means that energy efficiency programs have the potential to be powerful mechanisms for states to comply with the CPP, so long as they can acceptably measure avoided capacity and electricity generation.
States can maximize their potential for energy efficiency savings and verify its impact by investing in a Smart Grid. Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) allows utilities to build a more energy efficient grid through implementing programs such as voltage optimization or reducing “phantom” energy use at vacant buildings. AMI also allows utilities to offer new demand response programs, time of use pricing tariffs, or ePortals to improve energy efficiency and reduce peak load. Customers can also take advantage of smart meters to reduce their energy bills by using smart home devices such as programmable thermostats or smart appliances that use less energy.
With the right incentives for utilities to implement these practices states can meet the requirements of the CPP while engaging their customers with opportunities to save money by using less energy. To learn more, contact Alex Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org.