Energy efficiency is key to reducing the size of the energy challenge, to accelerating the achievement of its solution, and to enhancing energy productivity, but old ideas that ignore the potential benefits of electrification and narrowly equate energy efficiency with efforts to reduce consumption of a single energy source — like electricity — need to evolve. The key to affordable decarbonization is making optimal use of low-cost, emissions-free energy sources, when and where they are available.

This article (subscription or purchase required), part of a special issue of Electricity Journal guest-edited by RAP staff, presents a new vision for energy efficiency (“EE 2.0″) based on the concept of energy optimization and lays the foundation for subsequent articles in the special issue.