Energy efficiency is a critical component of the proposed Clean Power Plan. It offers states a least-cost pathway for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector. This factsheet provides an overview of the potential contributions from information and communications technology (ICT) solutions under the proposed rule, based on efforts already underway and in development.
Energy efficiency is the least-cost way for a state to meet its carbon reduction goals under the proposed Clean Power Plan. States are expected to include energy efficiency programs in their implementation plans that can reduce electricity end-use, minimizing cost impacts to all classes of consumers, including households, businesses, industry, and government.
Recent studies have suggested that the use of intelligent efficiency—a systems-based approach to energy efficiency that is enabled through the networking of efficient devices and sensors to facilitate more dynamic energy management—could reduce U.S. energy use 12 to 22 percent by 2020. Implementing these ICT solutions can significantly reduce energy use across many economic sectors while only marginally increasing direct energy use from the ICT sector.
Intelligent efficiency can help cities, states, businesses, and federal agencies be more sustainable while enhancing productivity. Yet ICT solutions face slow adoption due to such barriers as a lack of funding for investments, split incentives between multiple parties, and entrenched habits or organizational patterns. States and cities can play an active role in advancing the deployment of intelligent efficiency, especially through the Clean Power Plan.
Many states and municipalities are already using ICT solutions to improve efficiency and reduce emissions in:
States have already taken steps to promote energy efficiency. Twenty-one states have established mandatory long-term energy savings targets through an energy efficiency resource standard, and five other states have a non-mandatory energy savings goal. These states rely on measurement and evaluation protocols to quantify the energy savings from a wide range of traditional energy efficiency measures. To help realize the full potential of ICT solutions, energy efficiency groups, state officials, and businesses are developing measurement and evaluation protocols for intelligent efficiency to quantify its impact.
As a “first choice fuel,” energy efficiency programs are expected to be universally adopted by states implementing the Clean Power Plan. ICT solutions existing today can play a critical role in helping states cost-effectively reduce carbon dioxide emissions from generators, optimize and increase the efficiency of the power grid, and reduce energy use from the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. ICT solutions are also vital in evaluating, monitoring, and verifying energy savings. States and cities should look for ways to promote intelligent efficiency between and across sectors.
|The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent nonprofit organization working to promote practical, effective policies and actions to address the twin challenges of energy and climate change.|
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