The utilities involved have more than 20 million customers and cover 22 states: Con Edison (ED), Edison International (EIX), Great Plains Energy (GXP), Duke Energy (DUK), Pepco Holdings (POM), PNM Resources (PNM), Sierra Pacific Resources (SRP), and Xcel Energy (XEL). Up until now, the only utilities that want to grow profits through energy efficiency investments have been in
The move by these utilities comes at a time when demand is growing, concerns and lawsuits about emissions abound, and global warming is a hot political and business issue.
Energy efficiency is the cheapest and fastest way to cut global warming emissions, and the utilities agree: “ …we share a common belief that energy efficiency is the greatest untapped resource in addressing global climate change in the near-term.” Here are the major elements of their plan:
- Boost investments in energy efficiency projects to $1.5 billion per year in the next 10 years.
- Create a national institute for electric efficiency. The Energy Efficiency Institute will work on regulatory policy models, notably how utilities can make money when customers use less energy rather than more. It will be formed within the Edison Electric Institute, which represents the nation’s investor-owned utilities.
Innovation and multi-party collaboration will be needed to craft policies that allow companies to profit from investing in efficiency. Utilities could profit from replacing inefficient air conditioners and light bulbs, for instance. Great Plains hopes to get legislation passed in
The business community was also interested by the announcement. The Dow Jones Wire had this comment:
“It’s a sign of how quickly energy efficiency has taken center stage in the utility industry’s growth plans. Even in states where rates are low, power companies increasingly see efficiency investments as an inexpensive way to satisfy growing electricity demand and boost revenue without provoking the public opposition that usually dogs proposals for new power plants and transmission lines.”
The utilities are working in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative, backed by former President Bill Clinton’s foundation.
Cross posted on Green Options