Read the full post from ACEEE.
With the promising trend of plunging prices for renewable energy, there may be a temptation to wonder whether energy efficiency is still cost effective. The answer is a very affirmative “yes.” As companies, cities, and states work to keep energy costs down and meet ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction goals, the choice should not be energy efficiency versus renewable energy. To meet these goals, we need to maximize both resources.
Energy efficiency remains generally less expensive than renewable energy, so even if renewables are plentiful, using efficiency to reduce electrical loads can still save money. While there have been a few bids of 2-3 cents per kWh for utility-scale renewable power, they include federal renewable energy subsidies that will soon end and do not reflect all of the costs of a renewable energy grid. Yes, renewable prices are coming down, but a hefty dose of efficiency is still needed to minimize both long-term costs and emissions. And incorporating efficiency also brings many other benefitsincluding improved comfort, health, and worker productivity, reduced energy burdens, new jobs, expanded economic development, and increased grid resilience.