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National Action Plan Aims to Slice Energy Demand
By adopting the plan's recommendations on low-cost, under-used energy efficiency, Americans could save hundreds of billions of dollars on their gas and electric utility bills, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and lower the costs for energy and pollution controls.
The Action Plan has the potential to defer the need for 40 new 500-megawatt power plants, avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of more than 35 million vehicles and reduce demand for natural gas sufficiently to bring down prices if fully implemented, according to the Alliance to Save Energy. The Alliance to Save Energy is a coalition of business, government, environmental, and consumer leaders promoting the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide to benefit consumers, the environment, economy, and national security.
The action plan was developed with assistance from the Department of Energy and U.S. EPA. It provides five recommendations for helping states and utilities overcome policy, regulatory, and other barriers that limit investment in energy efficiency even when investment in more efficient homes, buildings and industries would cost less than new supply and would lead to overall lower energy bills.
The recommendations include: recognize energy efficiency as a high-priority energy resource; make a strong, long-term commitment to implement cost-effective energy efficiency as a resource; broadly communicate the benefits of and opportunities for energy efficiency; promote sufficient, timely, and stable program funding to deliver energy efficiency where cost-effective; and modify policies to align utility incentives with the delivery of cost-effective energy efficiency and modify ratemaking practices to promote energy efficiency investments.
The plan builds upon best practices from successful efficiency programs already operating in many areas, to remove barriers that have limited utilities, states and customers from pursuing cost-effective energy efficiency resources.
The action plan was developed by a leadership group of more than 50 organizations, which was co-chaired by Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy and president of the Edison Electric Institute, and Commissioner Diane Munns, member of the Iowa Public Utility Board and president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.
The leadership group includes 23 electric and gas utilities, 16 state agencies, and 12 other organizations, with 15 organizations observing the work of the leadership group.