Energy & Technology

Smarter homes: comfortable, convenient and climate-friendly

States could go a long way toward meeting targets for reduced power plant emissions under the Clean Power Plan just by encouraging energy efficiency. One way to do that is to deploy more “intelligent efficiency” solutions at home. Interconnected systems and smart devices could not only help reduce energy use and climate-altering emissions, but also empower consumers to make money-saving choices.

More than 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gases comes from the residential sector – where we use about 1.4 trillion kWh of electricity annually to power our heating and cooling systems, appliances and electronics. Although we pay for it all, a lot of that electricity is wasted. Tried-and-true solutions like weatherization and more efficient light bulbs will continue to be common sense solutions. But increasingly, homeowners, innovators, and policy makers are looking to leverage the average home’s 25 devices to reduce that waste.

Image courtesy U.S. Department of Energy

A homeowner installs a smart thermostat. Devices like this could be controlled though web platforms, along with water heaters, washing machines and LED bulbs with advanced controls.

Energy efficiency will play a key role in the Clean Power Plan

A new C2ES study outlines the significant role energy efficiency is expected to play in reducing carbon emissions from power plants under the proposed Clean Power Plan.

Energy efficiency can be an attractive way for states to meet the plan’s targets because, in addition to being relatively inexpensive to deploy on its own, energy efficiency reduces the need to build new, costly power plants in the future.

C2ES examined six economic modeling studies that project the likely impacts of the Clean Power Plan on the U.S. power mix and electricity prices. Despite starting with different assumptions, all of the studies project that energy efficiency will be the most used and least-cost option for states to implement the plan, and that overall electricity consumption will decline as a result.

The majority of the studies project either cost savings to power users under the Clean Power Plan or increases of less than $10 billion a year. That translates to less than $87 a year per household, or about 25 cents a day.

C2ES President Bob Perciasepe moderates a Solutions Forum panel with (l to r): Steve Harper, Global Director, Environment and Energy Policy, Intel Corporation; Alyssa Caddle, Principle Program Manager, Office of Sustainability, EMC; and Lars Kvale, Head of Business Development, APX Environmental Markets.

Our second Solutions Forum focused on how to spur more energy efficiency, especially through “intelligent efficiency” — a systems-based approach to energy management enabled through networked devices and sensors.

Carbon Pricing and Clean Power: A Solutions Forum

Promoted in Energy Efficiency section: 
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9 a..m-NoonCapitol View Conference Center101 Constitution Ave. NWNinth FloorWashington, DC 20001Watch video of the event 

States have an array of policy options to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. In the first of a three-part clean power series, C2ES brings together state leaders and industry experts to explore market-based approaches to efficiently and effectively implementing EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan.

April 15, 2015
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Capitol View Conference Center
101 Constitution Ave. NW
Ninth Floor
Washington, DC 20001
(Doors open at 8:30 a.m.)

Watch Video

Janet Coit
Director, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management

David Paylor
Director, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

Martha Rudolph
Director of Environmental Programs, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment

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Skiles Boyd
Vice President, Environmental Management and Resources, DTE Energy

Erika Guerra
Government Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility, Holcim (US) Inc.

Kevin Leahy
Director of Energy and Environmental Policy, Duke Energy

Katie Ott
Senior Manager, Federal Government Affairs, Exelon

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Adele Morris
Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

Michael Wara
  Professor, Stanford Law School

Bob Perciasepe
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

Bob Perciasepe's Remarks at the Energy Efficiency and IT Solutions Forum

PREPARED REMARKS BY BOB PERCIASEPE

PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR CLIMATE AND ENERGY SOLUTIONS

DRIVING ENERGY EFFICICIENTY WITH IT, A SOLUTIONS FORUM

WASHINGTON, D.C.

MAY 18, 2015

I want to welcome everybody to today’s session. My name is Bob Perciasepe, and I’m president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, or C2ES. We are an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing together diverse interests to find solutions to our climate and energy challenges.

Today is a good example of what we try to do. We’re pleased we’re able to bring together a forward-thinking utility executive like Ralph Izzo from PSEG; leaders from innovative companies like Intel, EMC, NEST, and APX, and state and city pioneers in efficiency and sustainability from Illinois, Minnesota, and Philadelphia.

And we’re excited that the Energy Foundation and the Digital Energy and Sustainability Solutions Campaign, or DESSC, are helping sponsor some of this work.

We’re here to talk about energy efficiency and the key role it will play as cities and states look to reduce power plant emissions under the Clean Power Plan.

Energy efficiency is a pretty simple thing to contemplate. Every one of us has probably done something in our lives to be more efficient. And yet when it comes to electricity, we still have significant gaps in our efficiency. We continue to waste more energy than we need to in this country and in the world.

We waste energy when we produce it, when we transmit it, and when we use it. It would be like going grocery shopping and leaving a bag of food at the store, throwing a couple of bags out the window as you’re driving home, and dropping a couple of bags on your front lawn. Then you get in the house and you’ve got one bag left. Now of course, that is an exaggeration, but it shows all along the way there’s loss.

When we waste energy, we waste money. If we save energy, we can save money and reduce our emissions. All of these impacts affect both our environment and our economy.

So, there are three things that I think we need to address. One is, energy efficiency should be a key strategy for reducing power plant emissions under the Clean Power Plan both for economic purposes as well as environmental purposes. Second, information and communications technology can help us achieve energy efficiency and that’s going to be a key part of what we’re talking about today. And finally it’s going to take cities, states, and businesses working together to make this happen. That’s why we have the group of people we have today with us to talk about that.

The proposed EPA Clean Power Plan is something that’s on the front burner for a lot of states, cities and companies in the energy business. The plan sets targets for states to reduce power sector emissions, but gives them incredible flexibility in how to meet those targets. It’s clear that energy efficiency will be a key tool in the toolbox.

C2ES has a new report examining six economic modeling studies that project the likely impacts of the proposed plan. All of the models project that energy efficiency will be the most-used option to implement the Clean Power Plan -- because it’s the least-cost option. We could see an overall decline in the demand for electricity over time while maintaining our quality of life and all of the goals we have for the use of electricity.

Also, the majority of the studies we examined project either savings to power consumers or costs of less than $10 billion a year. To put that in context: That means implementing the Clean Power Plan would cost each household about 25 cents a day.

So, how do we get to this more energy-efficient future?

We have the technology – right now – that can help us be significantly more energy-efficient. We’re going to hear more today about intelligent efficiency. This is a systems-based approach looking at that drive back from the grocery store. How can you keep from leaving bags at the store or losing them while you’re driving home or forgetting them on the front lawn? How can technology and intelligent efficiency help, whether it’s networked devices, sensors, or smart grids? And how can we measure and verify that the energy savings efforts are credible?

Some estimate intelligent efficiency could help America cut energy use by nearly a quarter in just a few years. We’d be reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And we’d be throwing a lot fewer dollars out the window.

We looked at what the federal government can do by deploying more information and communication technologies across federal agencies, and we estimated the government could save more than $5 billion in energy costs.

Finally, if we have all of this great technology, why aren’t we using more of it?

We need the right policies, regulations, and incentives to integrate this technology and accelerate its deployment.

Cities, states and companies are going to be important in this whole arena. How do we bring together the businesses that are innovating in energy and efficiency with the cities and states that are implementing programs in those areas? It’s not self-implementing. It doesn’t just happen. There has to be way to get a larger penetration of these technologies.

Innovative partnerships and programs are going to be important going forward. Cities, states, and businesses can work together -- to promote energy efficiency, and help deploy the information technology that can make it cheaper, easier, and maybe even more fun to save energy.

How can we use intelligent efficiency to reduce power sector emissions?

Nobody likes waste. And yet when we produce, distribute and use electricity, we’re wasting up to two-thirds of the energy.

Although we can’t eliminate all of these losses, we could reduce waste and increase reliability through “intelligent efficiency”— technology like networked devices and sensors, smart grids and thermostats, and energy management systems.

If we used energy more efficiently, we’d also reduce the harmful carbon dioxide emissions coming from our power plants — and reduce our electric bills.

That’s why energy efficiency is expected to be a critical, low-cost path for states looking to reduce power plant emissions under the proposed Clean Power Plan.

C2ES is pulling together top experts in sustainability, efficiency, and technology from cities, states and business to explore how we can deploy intelligent efficiency to help reach Clean Power Plan emissions targets. (RSVP for our event Monday, May 18, in Washington, D.C.)

Just as technology can instantly connect us with people across the globe or monitor our calories and whether we’re burning enough of them, we have technology that will allow us to network and monitor how we produce, deliver and consume electricity.

 

Canadian hydropower could help states achieve carbon-cutting goals

Press release

April 28, 2015

Contact: Laura Rehrmann, rehrmannl@c2es.org, 703-516-0621

C2ES: Canadian hydropower could help states achieve carbon-cutting goals

WASHINGTON – Canadian hydropower could help some U.S. states meet their carbon-cutting goals under the proposed federal Clean Power Plan, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) says in a new policy report.

"Canadian Hydropower and the Clean Power Plan” explores the potential for increased hydropower imports from Canada, and the adjustments needed to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed plan to allow states to take advantage of imported hydropower to reduce carbon emissions from the electric power sector.

Canada gets 60 percent of its electricity from hydropower, and more capacity is in the works. More than a dozen U.S. states already import a significant amount of Canadian hydropower.

According to the report, importing hydropower from even a modestly sized new Canadian project (250 MW) could help a state bridge the gap between its current carbon emissions rate and its 2030 target under the Clean Power Plan. For example, Minnesota could get nearly 20 percent of the way toward its proposed target. California, Massachusetts and Washington state could each get about a third of the way toward their targets.

The U.S. and Canadian electricity grids are linked through dozens of connections along the border. But with renewable credit trading systems already in place, a state would not have to be connected to Canada’s grid to leverage Canadian hydropower for Clean Power Plan compliance.

“Hydropower can deliver near-zero emission power quickly and reliably. That makes it a good complement to intermittent renewables like wind and solar,” said C2ES President Bob Perciasepe. “While taking advantage of hydropower's benefits, we also have a responsibility to develop and operate hydropower in a way that minimizes environmental impacts.”

The report outlines some of the steps needed for states to take advantage of Canadian hydropower, including: clarifying how imported hydropower will be treated under the Clean Power Plan, avoiding double counting imported hydropower for compliance purposes, and ensuring that it displaces fossil electricity to receive full credit.

“As proposed, the Clean Power Plan already offers states a wealth of policy options to achieve emission reductions,” Perciasepe said. “Clarifying that imported hydropower can serve as another measure in a state's policy toolbox could add to the plan’s flexibility.”

C2ES Vice President for Policy and Analysis Jeff Hopkins, Senior Fellow Kyle Aarons, and Senior Energy Fellow Doug Vine will discuss the report’s findings Wednesday, April 29, at the Wilson Center’s Canada Institute. Details are below.

Read the report.
Share the infographic.
Read the blog post.

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Canadian Hydropower and the Clean Power Plan
Imports of Canadian hydropower could help states achieve their goals under the Clean Power Plan. Experts discuss policy and technology issues and opportunities.

Date: Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Time: 9:00am - 11:30am
Location: 6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, One Woodrow Wilson Plaza, 1300 Pennsylvania, Ave., NW
Speakers: David Biette, Director, Canada Institute, Wilson Center; Jeff Hopkins, VP for Policy and Analysis, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES); Kyle Aarons, Senior Fellow, C2ES; Brian Rybarik, Inter-regional Director, Mid-Continent Independent System Operator (MISO); David McMillan, Executive Vice President, Minnesota Power; Dave Cormie, Power Sales and Operations, Manitoba Hydro; Doug Vine, Senior Energy Fellow, C2ES, and Derek Murrow, Director, Federal Energy Policy, Energy, and Transportation Program, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

RSVP: http://bit.ly/WilsonHydro

About C2ES
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization promoting strong policy and action to address our climate and energy challenges. Learn more at www.c2es.org.

Canadian hydropower can help states achieve carbon-cutting goals

About 10 percent of Canadian electricity, much of it generated from hydropower, is exported to the United States. With Canada expected to expand its hydropower capacity in coming years, could some states take advantage of this non-emitting resource to meet Clean Power Plan goals to reduce carbon emissions?

A new C2ES report, Canadian Hydropower and the Clean Power Plan, explores this question, including how the proposed plan would need to be adjusted, and how select states could benefit.

While U.S. hydropower is not expected to significantly expand in the near future, hydropower is growing in Canada, where it already supplies 60 percent of the country’s electricity. More than 5,500 megawatts (MW), enough to power about 2.4 million homes, have been added in the last decade. An additional 11,000 MW is either under construction, nearing the construction phase, or has been announced. To put this in perspective, Canada’s entire electricity generation system is about 128,000 MW.

Canadian Hydropower and the Clean Power Plan

Canadian Hydropower and the Clean Power Plan

April 2015

by Kyle Aarons and Doug Vine

Download the full paper (PDF)

Hydropower makes up a sizable share of the U.S. electricity supply. A significant portion of this is imported from Canada, which is linked to the U.S. electricity grid through dozens of connections along the border. Expansion of this resource is possible in both nations, though greater quantities are expected to be developed in Canada in the near future. As a zero-emission, dispatchable, baseload power source, hydropower has the potential to play an important role as states seek to reduce power sector emissions to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan. This report assesses the benefits and challenges of hydropower generally, explores the potential for increased imports from Canada driven by the Clean Power Plan, looks at ways the proposed rule could be adjusted to take advantage of this resource, and analyzes the impact of additional imports on selected states.

Canadian Hydropower Infographic (PDF)

Canadian Hydropower Infographic (web page)

 

 

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