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.

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