Berkeley Lab research finds utility customer-funded energy efficiency programs expanding across the United States; Midwest and South on the rise
Spending on energy efficiency programs funded by electric and natural gas utility customers will double by 2025 to about $9.5 billion per year, according to projections published today by researchers at Berkeley Lab.
These funds, which come from a charge on utility bills, historically constitute the nation’s largest source of spending on programs to foster the adoption of more efficient products and buildings. According to the Berkeley Lab report, energy efficiency programs funded by utility customers are projected to continue expanding beyond the traditional bastions of energy efficiency in the Northeast and West.
By 2025, states in the Midwest and South could account for 49% of total U.S. spending on customer-funded energy efficiency programs, up from 27% in 2010. By 2025, only a handful of states would not have significant customer-funded efficiency programs.
The projected growth in program spending is driven by policies in a number of states requiring that utilities obtain all cost-effective energy efficiency savings. Another driver is energy efficiency resource standards, which require electric utilities to meet minimum energy savings goals each year.
“In addition, we see some utilities turning to energy efficiency as part of their strategy for reliable delivery of electricity as older coal-fired generators are retired,” said staff scientist Charles A. Goldman, a co-author of the study and head of the laboratory’s energy analysis and environmental impacts department.
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