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By Rebecca Kern
Sept. 16 — The Energy Department released a report outlining strategies on how businesses, state and local governments, utilities and consumers can reach President Barack Obama's goal of doubling energy efficiency in the U.S. by 2030.
The report was released Sept. 16 as the product of a yearlong partnership among the Energy Department, the Alliance to Save Energy and the Council on Competitiveness at the Accelerate Energy Productivity 2030 summit in Washington.
Energy Department Secretary Ernest Moniz said at the summit that the report was the agency's “most ambitious innovation strategy to improve energy efficiency” and that it required an “all hands on deck” approach from state and local governments, businesses and research organizations to reach the goal by 2030.
“The federal government will support this, but it's going to need distributed decision makers around the country to drive success in the coming years,” Moniz said.
Strategies include states setting and updating vehicle and product codes and standards and providing energy performance information to consumers; utilities and regulators designing rates and related policies that align energy efficiency with utility business models; and businesses reinvesting avoided energy costs, according to the report.
The road map identified six areas of the U.S. economy where there are opportunities to greatly improve energy efficiency: transportation, technologies for more energy-efficient buildings, smart energy systems, financing mechanisms for building energy productivity, smart manufacturing and water infrastructures.
Moniz outlined the main findings from the report, including that there are “demonstrated, proven opportunities in every part of the economy to improve energy productivity.”
He said that these proven opportunities also will lead to economic growth.
He also said the report draws on recommendations made in the Energy Department's second Quadrennial Technology Review, released Sept. 10, which focused on the status of clean energy technology development and outlining research opportunities to modernize the power sector.
Moniz said that reaching a goal of doubling energy efficiency by 2030 is “quite doable.”
In fact, the department estimates that energy productivity will increase from the 2010 baseline of $134 per million British thermal unit of energy use to about $287 per million Btu by 2030.
“So that’s more than double the baseline,” Moniz said.
He noted that this change in productivity would lead to the gross domestic product increasing to $22.5 trillion and total energy use lowering to 78 quads by 2030, compared to the Energy Information Administration’s 2015 annual energy outlook projections of $21.7 trillion total GDP and 103 quads of total energy use by 2030.
Thus, the recommended energy efficiency strategies increase GDP by 3.6 percent and lower primary energy use by 24 percent compared to the EIA's projections, the report said.
Moniz also gave a preview on the focus of the next installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review, which he said will look at the electricity system from end-to-end: from generation, though transmission and distribution, to demand-side response.
“That's going to be a big effort over this next year for us, and once again energy efficiency is clearly going to come into that discussion,” he said.
He also said the next QER “will have a deeper analysis of electricity markets across the country, variations across the country, in-state policies, the electricity-water nexus, innovative utility services, and federal policy implications for the growing dependency between information and communication technologies and the electrical sector.”
Issues such as demand-side programs, including energy efficiency and demand response programs, and distributed generation will “certainly be a central piece” of the next installment of the QER, he added.
The first installment of the QER was released in April and focused on energy infrastructure.
The department also announced Sept. 16 that it awarded $70 million in funding for the next Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute, which focuses on smart manufacturing. It will focus on reducing the costs of deployment of advanced sensors, controls, platforms and modeling for manufacturing by as much as 50 percent.
The department also announced Sept. 16 that it awarded $22 million in funding to support five projects focused on advancing large-scale motors to increase energy efficiency in high-energy consuming industries.
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