Utility Efficiency Investments Continue at Record Levels

April 02, 2017 by Jeff Shepard

The Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) has released its eleventh Annual Industry Report, which indicates sustained record levels of energy efficiency and demand response investment for customer and environmental benefit. Total expenditures from all funding sources on gas and electric DSM programs in 2015 rose one percent over 2014, rising slightly over $8.7 billion.

CEE Executive Director Ed Wisniewski offered his thoughts: “Despite ever-increasing cost cutting pressures on utilities and their tremendous record of accomplishment, the results indicate widespread recognition of remaining savings potential. The level of investment is a testament to the strength of utility and state government leadership.”

Highlights of the report include: Ratepayers contributed $8.2 billion of the $8.7 billion total. Other sources of funding included wholesale capacity market revenues, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and the Weatherization Assistance Program. RGGI funding constituted seven percent of the total funding reported in participating states.

CEE members directed 80 percent of expenditures, nearly $7 billion from all sources, and 79 percent of expenditures from ratepayer funds. Electric efficiency programs in the United States and Canada spent $7.3 billion, and natural gas program expenditures were nearly $1.4 billion from all sources. Estimated gross savings were 29,590 GWh and 496 million gas therms. US and Canadian program administrators spent nearly $958 million from all sources—almost $943 million of which came from ratepayers—on demand response programs in 2015. And 23.4 million metric tons of CO2 emissions were avoided by gas and electric demand-side management programs in 2015.

Consortium members verify facts about demand side management through projects such as the CEE Annual Industry Report. With a twenty-six year history of working together on binational initiatives, explorations, and positions, members are mindful of which projects require the efforts of all, including measuring the size and impact of the energy efficiency and demand response program industry.

Continuing investments in energy efficiency and demand response are a testament to the attractiveness of demand side management as a clean energy resource with many social and utility benefits.