- A Pew Charitable Trusts report focused on the deployment of industrial energy efficiency technologies finds that a combination of the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan and an "improved" federal tax credit for combined heat and power (CHP) and waste-heat-to-power (WHP) projects could result in a 27% increase in adoption by 2030, Energy Efficiency Markets reports.
- Even without the tax credits, efficiency will rise 22% thanks to the EPA's new emissions regulations
- The report found power outages cost businesses roughly $150 billion every year, and identified the United States' electric grid as one of the weakest among developed nations.
Pew has issued a new report looking at the evolving electricity grid through the lens of industrial efficiency, concluding the grid is quickly being modernized – but perhaps not fast enough. Power outages cost U.S. businesses billions of dollars each year, and the high number of grid disturbances put the country's electric system in weak company.
The United States had 300 electric grid disturbances from 2011-2013, "more than any other developed nation," Pew said. And from 2000 to 2014, Pew found outages increased 600%, from about 2.5 to almost 18 disruptions a month, costing businesses $150 billion annually.
"Although there is no doubt that aging, antiquated power infrastructure contributes to the increased number of outages, the rise in the number and intensity of weather events is also a major contributing factor," Pew said.
But the outlook is positive, the firm said. Behavioral and economic shifts are driving the adoption of greener and more distributed energy, "putting pressure on businesses and policymakers to adapt to the evolving marketplace... Distributed generation is not a passing fad, and new technologies pose significant challenges to long-standing business models."
Pew put together the report and commissioned ICF International to model policies impacting industrial energy efficiency, largely focused on combined heat and power systems. The Clean Power Plan and extended tax credits could boost adoption of industrial efficiency capacity by 27% by 2030, the report found.
"America’s energy future can be made cleaner, cheaper, and more secure by harnessing the full potential of CHP and [waste heat to power]," the report concludes. "Congress should work expeditiously to take advantage of these opportunities to reduce costs; support an energy infrastructure that provides more affordable, reliable, clean, and resilient power; and help domestic industries compete more effectively in the global marketplace."
Correction: An earlier version of this piece stated that the report was put together by Pew Charitable Trusts and commissioned by ICF International to model policies impacting industial energy efficiency. That is incorrect. Pew put together the report and commissioned ICF International to model policies impacting industrial energy efficiency in the report. The article has been updated to reflect the correct information.