Energy Efficiency Remains Untapped in the Industrial Sector

by | Oct 9, 2009

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NAenergyuseThe industrial sector’s energy savings have remained untapped by many existing publicly-funded energy efficiency programs, according to a new report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Energy efficiency in the industrial sector represents a low-cost resource compared with other sectors, but operating successful programs requires different approaches than are traditionally used in other sectors, according to the study.

Consuming nearly 32 percent of the nation’s energy in 2007, the U.S. industrial sector offers significant opportunities for energy savings and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, according to the report. Although industrial energy efficiency programs have existed for decades across the U.S. and Canada, these programs have not historically maximized savings opportunities, said ACEEE. In addition, the study finds that many publicly-funded programs have not invested time and resources to develop programs to effectively serve this sector.

The report, Industrial Energy Efficiency Programs: Identifying Today’s Leaders and Tomorrow’s Needs, identifies leading industrial programs and successful program strategies, and suggests recommendations for programs looking to start or expand offerings to achieve energy efficiency savings in this sector.

One trend cited in the report is the emergence of “self-direct” industrial programs, in which large industrial companies have the opportunity to use public benefits funds to make energy-efficiency investments in their facilities. In these cases, the facilities are responsible for meeting savings targets stipulated by program administrators.

The report also finds that some self-direct programs behave similarly to mature customized incentive programs. Both well-designed “self-direct” programs and mature customized incentive programs deliver significant and low-cost energy efficiency savings, according to the report.

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