Electric Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in New England: An Assessment of Existing Policies and Prospects for the Future
Energy efficiency and renewable energy have many positive effects on the general economy, the environment and energy security in New England. With consistent electric demand growth and persistent concerns about electricity reliability, energy security, air quality, climate change and economic development, there is mounting interest in cost effective ways to increase deployment of efficiency and renewables. Notably, the New England Governors expressed their interest in this issue in a resolution with the Eastern Canadian Premiers in 2003.
This report contributes to a growing body of work applying analytical tools to show the value of consumer funded energy efficiency programs and renewable portfolio standards with new rigor. Remaining barriers in the market and in regulation prevent these resources from delivering to consumers their full value.
The centerpiece of this work is economic and environmental modeling performed by Synapse. The economic model, IMPLAN, is widely used for general economic forecasting. IMPLAN tracks specific economic effects from investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and reports results in terms of net economic output, jobs, and labor income.
The modeling done for this report reveals that during 2000-2010, current electric energy efficiency and renewable energy policies may provide close to $6 billion in economic benefits, while creating thousands of jobs and removing millions of tons of pollutants from the region’s air. Overall, energy efficiency and renewable energy activity in New England is above the national norm, yet the report finds significant untapped potential for additional beneficial investments.