Initiatives

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.

Energy and technology experts from leading companies like PSEG, EMC, Intel, and Nest and leaders of premier city and state energy efficiency programs in Illinois, Minnesota and Philadelphia agreed there is plenty of room for improving efficiency in how we produce, transmit and consume electricity. The technologies already exist and cities and states are already taking action to cut U.S. energy use and emissions while increasing reliability.

Twenty-one states have established mandatory energy savings targets through an energy efficiency resource standard, and five other states have a non-mandatory energy savings goal. But as Lars Kvale, head of business development for APX Environmental Markets, noted, no two states have the same energy efficiency program. Programs differ in how they are implemented, how they measure and verify energy savings, and whether they have a tradable market.

States without existing programs can still harness the benefits of energy efficiency in implementing the Clean Power Plan without having to reinvent the wheel. States can share measurement and verification protocols without having to create their own. In addition, energy efficiency groups, state officials, and businesses are developing new protocols to quantify the impacts of intelligent efficiency.

Another strategy for spurring more efficiency discussed at our forum is being smarter about communicating the benefits. Saving energy and money are great, but most people don’t know how many kilowatts they use in a morning, or how much that costs. Intelligent efficiency can deliver more control, convenience, and comfort to consumers. That’s what Nest’s Rick Counihan and Philadelphia Director of Sustainability Katherine Gajewski said really sparks consumers’ interest.

Ralph Izzo, President and CEO of New Jersey utility PSEG, also pointed out another tool for encouraging efficiency: a price on carbon emissions. Sending a clear market signal that producing climate-altering emissions has a cost would undeniably tilt the tables toward energy efficiency in ways that other measures could build upon. The models we reviewed certainly back up this sentiment.

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 20001

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.)

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

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.

 

 

Technology can improve energy efficiency in:

  • Generation: Network sensors and controls can increase the operational efficiency of power plants. Ravenswood, one of New York City’s largest power plants, was retrofitted with technologies from GE to optimize operations and increased output 5 percent using the same amount of fuel.
  • Distribution: An integrated system of smart meters, communication networks, and data management systems (also known advanced metering infrastructure) can improve efficiency. Dominion Virginia has installed 250,000 smart meters, cutting energy consumption 3 percent annually by delivering electricity at a more efficient voltage across the local network.
  • Usage: Advanced controls and energy management systems can minimize energy use in factories, offices and homes. Rudin Management, one of the largest privately-owned real estate companies in New York, developed a smart building management system that cut energy use 7 percent. Three recent studies found Nest smart thermostats could reduce consumer electricity bills 15 percent by scheduling energy use and using less of it.

 

Recent studies have suggested that intelligent efficiency could save up to 22 percent of electricity in just a few years.

Using more of these technologies would require more back-end computing power, but this marginal increase in energy use will be more than offset by significant reductions across the rest of the economy, according to the Global e-Sustainability Initiative. Plus, information and communications technologies can shift to large-scale, energy-efficient data centers, and companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft have committed to powering more of these data centers with renewable energy.

These innovative technologies can help cities, states and businesses reduce emissions and costs while increasing the reliability of the grid.

We have the technology. What are the barriers to using more of it? What are the opportunities?

We’ll seek answers from energy and technology experts from leading companies like Intel, Nest, PSEG and EMC and from leaders of some of the country’s premier city and state energy efficiency programs in Illinois, Minnesota and Philadelphia.

I hope you will join us Monday, May 18, in Washington at our Solutions Forum on Driving Energy Efficiency with IT.

Key Insights from a Solutions Forum on Carbon Pricing and Clean Power

Key Insights from a Solutions Forum on Carbon Pricing and Clean Power

April 2015

Download the Key Insights (PDF)

 

States will have tremendous flexibility to choose how to reduce carbon emissions under the Clean Power Plan. One idea states are exploring is putting a price on carbon. The first C2ES Solutions Forum — held on April 15, 2015 — brought together legal and economic experts, state environmental directors, and business leaders to explore the potential use of market mechanisms to reduce these damaging emissions efficiently and cost-effectively.

For more information about the C2ES Solutions Forum, see: http://www.c2es.org/initiatives/solutions-forum

Key insights and highlights from the event on carbon pricing and clean power include:

  • Most economists agree that the most efficient way to address climate change is to put a price on carbon.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given states tremendous flexibility to determine the best way to achieve emission targets.
  • Virtually every state is already engaged in some activity that reduces emissions.
  • Market-based options available under the proposed Clean Power Plan go beyond creating or joining a cap-and-trade program or instituting a carbon tax.
  • States and businesses generally agree that market mechanisms are a proven, least-cost way to reduce emissions.
  • States believe support from the business community will be essential to adopting market-based options.
  • State and business leaders recognize the need to talk to one another about the best way to reduce emissions.
  • States are concerned about having enough time to develop market-based policies.
  • State and company representatives see a role for EPA to help states after the Clean Power Plan is finalized. 

C2ES will continue the conversation with states and businesses to share insights and innovative ideas that will help us get to a clean energy future. Our second Solutions Forum on May 18 will explore improving energy efficiency, which reduces emissions, through information and communication technologies. Our third event on June 25 will examine how to finance clean energy technology and infrastructure.

Jason Ye
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States should explore carbon pricing to encourage clean power

C2ES President Bob Perciasepe moderates a Solutions Forum panel with (l to r): Martha Rudolph, Director of Environmental Programs, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment; David Paylor, Director, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality; and Janet Coit, Director, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

States will have tremendous flexibility to choose how to reduce their carbon emissions under the Clean Power Plan, and one idea they should explore is putting a price on carbon.

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) recently brought together legal and economic experts, state environmental directors, and business leaders to explore the potential to use market mechanisms to reduce these damaging emissions efficiently and cost-effectively.

Here are three key insights from this Solutions Forum:

Solutions Forum

States, cities, and companies all have a role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, building a clean energy economy, and strengthening resilience against increasing climate risks. In a three-part series of events, C2ES is bringing together these groups to explore opportunities and options for reducing power plant carbon emissions under the Clean Power Plan.

States have a vast array of policy options to consider. We explore how market-based approaches could be used to efficiently and effectively implement the Clean Power Plan, the role of information technology and energy efficiency, and the best models for financing clean energy technology.

Solutions Forum Events

Driving Energy Efficiency with IT
May 18, 2015
C2ES brings together business, state and city leaders to explore how information technology can help achieve energy efficiency and Clean Power Plan targets.

Resources:

Part 1:
Why Energy Efficiency is Smart for States and Business

Introduction: Bob Perciasepe – President C2ES
Remarks & Discussion: Ralph Izzo – Chairman and CEO, PSEG

 

Part 2: Intelligent Efficiency and the Power Sector; Options, Opportunities and Challenges
A discussion with Steve Harper – Global Director, Environment and Energy Policy, Intel Corporation
Alyssa Caddle – Principle Program Manager, Office of Sustainability, EMC
Lars Kvale – Head of Business Development, APX Environmental Markets

 

Part 3: Delivering Intelligent Efficiency to Consumers – Why It Matters
A discussion with Doug Scott – Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Great Plains Institute
Katherine Gajewski – Director of Sustainability, City of Philadelphia
Jessica Burdette – Conservation Improvement Program Supervisor, Minnesota Department of Commerce
Rick Counihan – Head of Energy Regulatory and Government Affairs, Nest
Moderated by: Janet Peace – Vice President for Markets & Business Strategy, C2ES

 

Carbon Pricing & Clean Power
April 15, 2015
C2ES brings together state leaders and industry experts to explore market-based approaches to efficiently and effectively implementing EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan.

Resources:

Part 1:
Carbon Pricing, what are the options?
State Perspectives: Weighing the Options

Introduction: Bob Perciasepe – Presidemt, C2ES
Remarks: Adele Morris – Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Michael Wara – Professor, Stanford Law School

Discussion with 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

 

Part 2: Businesses Perspectives: Carbon Pricing in Practice
A discussion with 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

 

Future Solutions Forum Events

Innovative Finance & Clean Power, A Solutions Forum

Mobilizing clean technologies will require investment. C2ES brings together city, state and business leaders to share ideas on the best ways to finance technology to reduce emissions and be more energy efficient.

June 25, 2015
9 a.m. – Noon
The George Washington University Law School, Lerner Hall, First Floor, 2000 H St, NW, Washington, DC 20052

Climate Leadership winners: Focus on your message

Photo by Ellie Ramm

Elizabeth Craig of the EPA (left) speaks with three representatives of 2015 Climate Laedership Award winners, Andy Battjes of Brown Forman, Bridgeport, Conn., Mayor Bill Finch, and Alexis Limberakis of Clorox

 

When it comes to climate leadership, the way a message is delivered can be the key to success.

Winners of the 2015 Climate Leadership Awards found that being creative in communicating ideas on sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions helped the message resonate with constituents, customers, and employees.

Sixteen organizations, including C2ES Business Environmental Leadership Council members Bank of America and General Motors, won Climate Leadership Awards this year. The awards are co-sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, Association of Climate Change Officers, and The Climate Registry.

Three winners -- Bridgeport, Conn., Mayor Bill Finch, household consumer product maker Clorox, and wine and distilled spirits manufacturer Brown Forman – spoke at the Climate Leadership Conference about three ways to connect climate goals to your audience.

Public push can spur private investment in EV charging

This map shows that large segments of many major roadways in Washington state do not have any publicly available DC fast charging. Our report demonstrates how the private sector can be the predominant source of funding for publicly available commercial charging stations within approximately five years.

For electric vehicles (EVs) to hit the mainstream and make a meaningful contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, they’ll need a robust public charging infrastructure that lets drivers go where they take gasoline-powered cars now. Our recent work for Washington state identified some promising ways to get the private sector to fund more of that infrastructure in the near term, and fund all of it eventually.

The C2ES study was commissioned by the Washington State Legislature’s Joint Transportation Committee and guided by an advisory panel of state legislators,  EV experts, and other stakeholders. The findings, which could be implemented in the state through a bipartisan House bill, demonstrate that, with continued public support and accelerated EV market growth in the near term, the private sector could predominantly fund commercial charging stations in about five years.

A frequent question about funding infrastructure for EVs is, “Why not just follow the gas station model?” Under that model, an investor would pay to install and operate equipment and make a profit by selling the electricity to charge an EV.

Putting aside the fact that gas stations make most of their money at the convenience store or repair shop and not at the pump, this business model doesn’t work for EV charging for three reasons. First, the cost of owning and installing EV charging equipment is high. Second, the market for EVs is small in most places and the demand for charging is uncertain. And third, EV drivers are not willing to pay a high price

Encouraging Financially Sustainable EV Charging Networks

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The Washington State Legislature’s Joint Transportation Committee commissioned a study to develop new business models that will foster private sector commercialization of publicly available EV charging services and expand the role of private sector investment in EV charging throughout the state.
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