ACEEE: Yes, energy efficiency is still the cheapest energy source
- Energy efficiency programs cost only about 3 cents/kWh, compared with two to three times more for generating the same power, the American Council for an Energy-Efficiency Economy (ACEEE) said.
- In a report that studied efficiency costs in 20 states, ACEEE said it found every dollar invested in electric energy efficiency measures yields $1.24 to $4 in total benefits for all customers. The benefits include avoided energy and capacity costs, lower peak-period energy costs, avoided cost of building new power lines, and less pollution.
- At an average cost of 2.8 cents/kWh, electricity efficiency programs are one-half to one-third the cost of other new resources.
It's an old story, and ACEEE's new numbers simply tell it again. As the axiom goes: The cheapest kilowatt-hour is the one you don't use. It's tough to calculate this kind of data, however, because programs and states have big differences, including different formats, names for things, and ways of evaluating energy savings. For consistency, the organization chose to calculate the "cost of saved energy" (CSE) using energy savings reported at the meter rather than at generation. According to ACEEE, the CSE has remained consistent for about a decade, meaning it's a reliable, low-cost supply source.
- American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy The Best Value for America’s Energy Dollar: A National Review of the Cost of Utility Energy Efficiency Programs