energy efficiency

Energy efficiency has significant pollution reduction potential, but barriers to investment and uncertainty on how to implement may restrict US states from adoption. To help states across the US embark on adopting clean energy grids through energy efficiency programs as well as comply with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) in February released a white paper with recommendations states need to implement.

The CPP is a regulation stipulating states to reduce their carbon pollution from existing fuel power plants.

The ACEEE paper identifies critical decisions and their implications for energy efficiency, and describes opportunities for identifying and engaging important stakeholders.

The 'Energy Efficiency and the Clean Power Plan' also provides guidance for states’ evaluation of energy efficiency compliance options, including strategies and tools for comparing options, measuring and verifying energy and emission savings, and incentivizing energy efficiency.

Compliance measures' planning

The white paper recommends that as states embark in adoption of energy efficiency for compliance with the CPP, there is need for them to lay several decisions about timing of their plans submission, format of their emissions reduction goals, degree of intestate coordination as well as their interest in Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Energy Incentive Program.

The paper states that decisions states will take will have an impact on their timing, reporting requirements and revenue streams related to emissions reduction measures.

For instance a states’ decision to submit its final plan by 2018 will allow enough convening of stakeholders as well as adequate valuation of compliance options.

On the other hand, delaying plan submission will result in uncertainty about what investments and activities count toward compliance resulting in investors seeking opportunities in states with clear regulatory plans and environments.

A states’ decision whether to or not participate in interstate trading will also determine the cost in total required in complying with the CPA.

However, participating in intestate trading can help keep compliance costs low as the market provides access to a wider range of opportunities to reduce emissions.

Stakeholders' engagement

As states plan their compliance plans, the report recommends that they also identify and engage the rightful parties as well as allocate their roles in the compliance process and inclusion of a wider range of stakeholders would also mean an increased pool of measures to implement.

On energy efficiency in particular, ACEEE recommends that states need not to start implementing for compliance from scratch but rather first evaluate its current energy efficiency programs, the amount of carbon emissions they are achieving and accelerate such programs.