US, Canada ‘Lead World’ in Industrial Energy Efficiency Programs

by | Dec 11, 2012

BC Hydro, Detroit Edison and Enbridge are among the utilities whose energy-efficiency acquisition programs are providing savings for industrial customers, according to a report by the Institute for Industrial Productivity (IIP) and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

The report, Energy Efficiency Resource Acquisition Program Models in North America, looks at eight programs across the United States and Canada that have successfully secured energy efficiency as a resource to meet current and future regional energy needs. The other five entities whose programs are highlighted include: Bonneville Power Administration, Wisconsin Focus on Energy, Energy Trust of Oregon, Efficiency Vermont and NYSERDA.

While each program has a different model for acquiring energy savings, all influence industrial customers to implement best practices and invest in efficient technologies, according to IIP and ACEEE.

Energy efficiency resource acquisition for the public interest is a big business in the US and Canada, according to the report. Expenditures in 2011 were $7 billion in the US and $1 billion in Canada (see chart).

Energy efficiency acquisition programs are responsible for postponing or eliminating the need for investments in new generation and transmission systems, and have become the model for international programs, says lead author Robert Taylor, principal at Energy Pathways.

However, programs must be tailored to the needs of different regions or industries, cautions the report.

One of the case studies details a coordinated system for acquiring electricity efficiency among four northwestern states — Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho — that has been in place since 1980. The Bonneville Power Administration, a government-owned wholesale electric utility is an example of collaborative, multi-jurisdictional, energy efficiency acquisition efforts, according to the report. Its primary method of efficiency acquisition is through program delivered by the 135 consumer-owned utilities that BPA sells bulk power to.

BPA provides tools, technical support and financial support to its customer utilities to help them acquire energy-efficiency resources from their end-use customers, according to the study. BPA acquired a total of about 310 aMW (about 2.7 TWh) of energy efficiency from 2005 to 2009. A new power plan sets a goal for BPA and the consumer-owned utilities to acquire 504 aMW of efficiency between 2010 and 2014.



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