Energy efficiency is the first investment we should make to meet our energy needs. It is cheap to acquire and available now, creates jobs, and is abundant enough to meet much of the growth in demand for new energy. A growing number of states - 26 in all - have recognized the critical importance of energy efficiency in meeting their economic, energy, and environmental goals and have set targets for their energy savings.
We need a national energy efficiency standard that builds on the work of these forward-thinking states. The standard, known as an Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS), sets a minimum level for energy savings (electricity and natural gas), establishes a target date, and creates the monitoring and verification needed to ensure savings are achieved. Setting a national standard highlights the critical role of efficiency for our energy future while avoiding a "one size fits all" approach and recognizing that each state will need a different strategy to meet the standard.
Energy efficiency could also be a critical cost containment strategy if included in a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) or Clean Energy Standard (CES) that would seek to reduce carbon emissions from the United States' energy generation mix. Improving energy productivity is by far the lowest-cost, largest, quickest, and cleanest way to meet clean energy goals. In addition, as the only clean energy resource with a cost well below the current average cost of electricity generation, including energy efficiency in a RPS or CES will not only reduce the overall cost of the policy, it could lead to a net savings for American ratepayers. The Coalition recently commented in detail on how energy efficiency could be included in a Clean Energy Standard - click here to read comments.