A 2010 study, Energy Efficiency in the South, released by Georgia Tech and Duke University illustrated the potential impact of energy efficient policies in Virginia (and other southeastern states) over the upcoming decades. For example there could be a $3.36 billion reduction in electricity costs by 2030 and a $421 million reduction in natural gas costs. Also, the annual increased employment from implementing energy efficient policies will be about 38,000 jobs by 2030, and an increase of $296 million in the gross state product.
The Virginia study was part of a larger survey of the economic impact of energy efficiency on states’ economies in the southeast over the next 20 years. The study utilized a rigorous modeling approach — applied uniformly across the multi-state region and accompanied by a detailed documentation of assumptions and methods — that separates this study from many previous assessments of energy-efficiency potential.
The major findings were:
1. Aggressive energy-efficiency initiatives in the South could prevent energy consumption in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors from growing over the next twenty years.
The initiatives would involve actions at multiple levels (state and local, national, utility, business, and personal). In the absence of such initiatives, energy consumption in these three sectors is forecast to grow by approximately 16% between 2010 and 2030.
2. Fewer new power plants would be needed with a commitment to energy efficiency.
Our analysis of nine illustrative policies shows the ability to retire almost 25 GW of older power plants – approximately 10 GW more than in the reference case. The nine policies would also avoid over the next twenty years the need to construct 49 GW of new plants to meet a growing electricity demand from the RCI sectors.
3. Increased investments in cost-effective energy efficiency would generate jobs and cut utility bills.
The public and private investments stimulated by the nine energy-efficiency policies would deliver rapid and substantial benefits to the region. In 2020, energy bills in the South would be reduced by $41 billion, electricity rate increases would be moderated, 380,000 new jobs would be created, and the region’s economy would grow by $1.23 billion. The cost/benefit ratios for the modeled policies range from 4.6 to 0.3, with only two showing costs greater than benefits. When the value of saved CO2 is included, only one policy is not cost effective, and it could be tailored to reduce the amount of subsidy.
4. Energy efficiency would result in significant water savings.
The electricity generation that could be avoided by the nine energy-efficiency policies in the South could in turn conserve significant quantities of freshwater consumed for cooling. In the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) regions in the South, 8.6 billion gallons of freshwater could be conserved in 2020 (56% of projected growth in cooling water needs) and in 2030 this could grow to 20.1 billion gallons of conserved water (or 45% of projected growth).
In addition to the energy efficiency study, the same partnership between Georgia Tech and Duke released a study titled Renewable Energy in the South in December 2010.
For the full Energy Efficiency in the South study visit: http://www.seealliance.org/se_efficiency_study/full_report_efficiency_in_the_south.pdf
For the Renewable Energy in the South study visit: http://www.seealliance.org/PDFs/KR_Exec_Summary_121410_2003Word.pdf
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