Energy Efficiency in the South

With funding from the Energy, Kresge, and Turner Foundations, the Climate & Energy Policy Lab partnered with Duke University to analyze the opportunity for improving Energy Efficiency in the South.  Our research focused on the size of the South’s energy-efficiency resources and the types of policies that could convert this potential resource into reality over the next 20 years. We limit the scope of our analysis to energy-efficiency improvements in three sectors: residential and commercial buildings and industry. Our rigorous modeling approach – applied uniformly across the multi-state region and accompanied by a detailed documentation of assumptions and methods – separates this study from many previous assessments of energy-efficiency potential.
The major findings are listed below:

  1. Aggressive energy-efficiency initiatives in the South could prevent energy consumption in the RCI sectors from growing over the next twenty years.
  2. Fewer new power plants would be needed with a commitment to energy efficiency.
  3. Increased investments in cost-effective energy efficiency would generate jobs and cut utility bills.
  4. Energy efficiency would result in significant water savings.

With nine energy-efficiency policies, we estimate that energy consumption in the South over the next 20 years could be stabilized. This flat consumption trajectory represents a 16% reduction in energy consumption in 2030 relative to the reference forecast, or a savings of 5,600 trillion Btu (that is, 5.6 quads) in that year.