Energy Efficiency Resources


The resources below are offered as part of our Complying with Environmental Regulations Knowledge Management Series. The following papers provide information on policies to capture energy efficiency and demand-side resources, develop effective energy efficiency programs, and fully value the benefits and costs of demand-side resources.

  • Demand Response as a Power System Resource: While initially developed to help support electric system reliability during peak load hours, demand response resources provide an array of additional services that support electric system reliability in many regions of the United States. These same resources also promote economic efficiency, particularly in regions with wholesale electricity markets. Recent technical innovations have made it possible to expand the services offered by demand response and offer the potential for further improvements in the efficient, reliable delivery of electricity to end-use customers. This report reviews the performance of demand response resources in the US, the program and market designs that support these resources, and the challenges that must be addressed to improve the ability of demand response to supply valuable grid services in the future.
  • Driving Building Efficiency with Aggregated Customer Data: Benchmarking, tracking building-level energy use over time, is a useful way to manage building costs and to enable energy efficient improvements. Because large commercial buildings typically have multiple tenants whose energy usage is metered separately, tracking overall building energy use is difficult. To facilitate this, building owners and third parties need access to customer energy use data that are aggregated across all the meters in the building. This paper explores how a growing number of jurisdictions have implemented benchmarking requirements for utilities to provide building owners and third parties with these data in aggregated form. Such policies can spur greater energy savings and market transformation across the building sector, and can do so in a way that ensures privacy and security protection of ratepayers.
  • Effective Mechanisms to Increase the Use of Demand-Side Resources: Measures using demand-side resources comprise actions taken on the customer’s side of the meter to change the amount and/or timing of electricity use in ways that will provide benefits to the electricity supply system. Nearly four decades of experience in a number of countries has demonstrated that key changes are necessary to ensure that demand-side resources are fully exploited. This paper describes a relatively small number (14) of the most effective mechanisms for increasing the use of demand-side resources in the electricity sector.
  • Energy Efficiency Cost-Effectiveness Screening: Decision-makers rely upon different tests to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency, and, generally, multiple tests are applied. This report addresses the major differences between tests, and is designed to help regulators recognize the important features of these broad cost-benefit tests that are frequently overlooked as the tests are applied. While the authors recommend that commissions take the broadest view of costs and benefits for purposes of screening energy efficiency initiatives, we also recognize the merits of and support for another view — one that emphasizes the symmetry with other supply-side investments.
  • Policies to Achieve Greater Energy Efficiency: This best practices guide provides a “cookbook” summary of the most effective policies to promote energy efficiency. Governments ranging from local to national can adopt these policies to foster the use of products and services which require less energy input to deliver the same or greater output. The policies are organized around foundational mechanisms, implementation mechanisms, and supporting mechanisms. The foundational mechanisms include Integrated Resource Planning, standards, and market design, while the supporting and pricing mechanisms feature structures for programs, funding, information and labeling, tax policy, R&D, and training. The paper describes how each policy mechanism operates, assesses its likely effectiveness, and identifies best practices. The paper also identifies jurisdictions that have successfully applied the policies described.
  • Quantifying the Air Quality Impacts of Energy Efficiency Policies and Programs: In recent years, more and more regulators view energy efficiency as a viable air quality improvement strategy. While no regulator should expect to solve all air quality challenges through one strategy alone, efficiency has distinct advantages over pollution control methods. This report is premised on the belief that regulators should employ energy efficiency as a first step toward air quality improvement rather than as a last resort. The report provides an introduction for air quality regulators to the rationale and opportunities for using energy efficiency as an air quality improvement strategy, identifies useful data sources, and outlines four basic steps for quantifying the air quality impacts of energy efficiency policies and programs. In addition, the paper explores opportunities to work with energy agencies to communicate air regulators’ energy efficiency data priorities, including ways to improve the data.
  • Ten Pitfalls of Potential Studies: This report identifies the most common and significant design considerations across energy efficiency potential studies and explains how these considerations impact the way in which results should be interpreted. The report also offers guidance to analysts and stakeholders on how to avoid these issues, how to correct them, and how to reinterpret the results of studies in which the issues are present.
  • US Experience with Efficiency as a Transmission and Distribution System Resource: The most widely recognized benefits of energy efficiency are energy savings and system peak demand savings. A much less widely recognized or valued benefit is the potential to enhance the reliability of the transmission and distribution (T&D) system. This paper focuses on that potential, summarizing lessons learned from US initiatives in which geographically targeted efficiency programs have played a major role in electric utility funded efforts to defer T&D investments.
  • Using Integrated Resource Planning to Encourage Investment in Cost-Effective Energy Efficiency Measures: An integrated resource plan (IRP) is a long-range utility plan for meeting the forecasted demand for energy within a defined geographic area through a combination of supply side resources and demand side resources. Generally, the goal of an IRP is to identify the mix of resources that will minimize future energy system costs while ensuring safe and reliable operation of the system. This report provides consensus recommendations from a variety of stakeholders for successful integrated resource planning through the proper consideration of all resources, including demand side resources, as well as the consideration of multiple future scenarios for environmental regulations.
  • The Treatment of Energy Efficiency in Integrated Resource Plans: A Review of Six State Practices: In this paper, RAP extracts information from our work in six states in the U.S. to examine state practices for integrated resource planning and energy efficiency. We examine how these state practices work together and are in some cases converging. Our analysis shows that there remain divergent practices on how IRP or a similar planning process is implemented, but that in many states there is regulatory attention to making changes to these IRP processes. For energy efficiency to be an effective power system resource, practices that integrate it into resource planning will be necessary. Our research indicates that those practices exist, but are not widely-used.
  • Valuing the Contribution of Energy Efficiency to Avoided Marginal Line Losses and Reserve Requirements: Utilities and regulators are familiar with the energy savings that energy efficiency measures provide. Energy efficiency measures also provide valuable peak capacity benefits in the form of marginal reductions to line losses that are often overlooked in the program design and measure screening. On-peak energy efficiency can produce twice as much ratepayer value as the average value of the energy savings alone, once the generation, transmission, and distribution capacity, line loss, and reserves benefits are accounted for. Geographically or seasonally targeted measures can further increase value.
  • Who Should Deliver Ratepayer Funded Energy Efficiency? This report describes policy options and approaches for administering ratepayer-funded electric energy efficiency programs in US states. It reviews how states have administered energy efficiency programs to learn what lessons their experience offers, and describes the most important factors states should consider with different administrative models. State legislators and utility regulators will find this report useful as they consider ways for energy efficiency administration to be more effective, both in states that are considering the question for the first time, and in more experienced states that are implementing significant increases in their savings goals.