New Reports from Alliance to Save Energy Find Consistency, Stakeholder Engagement Keys to Improving Energy Efficiency Program Evaluation | Alliance to Save Energy

New Reports from Alliance to Save Energy Find Consistency, Stakeholder Engagement Keys to Improving Energy Efficiency Program Evaluation

Release Date: Monday, April 5, 2010

Washington, D.C., April 5, 2010 – Two new reports issued today by the Alliance to Save Energy will help policymakers highlight the critical importance of effective evaluation, measurement and verification (EM&V) of energy savings and design more effective trading programs for energy savings credits (ESCs) as U.S. investments in energy efficiency continue to increase dramatically.

Scaling-Up Energy Efficiency Programs: The Measurement Challenge examines energy-savings measurement issues and challenges and echoes the ESC report’s call for development of consistent EM&V methodologies – in this case in order to enhance the accuracy, reliability and credibility of energy-savings measurement and program evaluation. It also argues that increased stakeholder participation will help to realize these goals.

Energy Saving Credits: Are Potential Benefits Being Realized? examines the potential benefits of ESC trading, details the current experience, and finds that ESC trading offers the possibility of lower-cost energy efficiency deployment, increased energy efficiency investment and the ability to target energy efficiency investment where it provides greatest value. However, the report also finds that the American experience with ESC trading is very limited.

Energy efficiency program evaluation is particularly important, the Alliance said, given the recent massive growth in funding, including federal stimulus funding; the increasing number of energy efficiency incentives for utilities; and the expanding number of state initiatives such as energy efficiency resource standards (EERS). The importance of evaluation is further enhanced by the potential for federal action on climate change, such as enactment of carbon offsets, a national EERS or the inclusion of energy efficiency within a national renewable or clean electricity portfolio standard.

Increased energy efficiency funding and requirements have prompted policymakers and taxpayers alike to seek assurances that programs deliver energy savings, are cost-effective and will deliver such benefits as emissions avoidance, energy reliability and reduced stresses to the electric grid.

“The country is dedicating an unprecedented level of attention and resources to energy efficiency – including a windfall of stimulus funding – that energy efficiency advocates have long waited for,” noted Alliance President Kateri Callahan. “It is vital to evidence that the energy, emissions and cost savings are being delivered and that taxpayers, utility ratepayers and other investors in energy efficiency are getting their money’s worth.”

Scaling-Up Energy Efficiency Programs: The Measurement Challenge recommends development of national or regional protocols to harmonize evaluation definitions, methods, assumptions and reporting. It also points to the need for open and transparent processes for stakeholder participation in energy efficiency programs as an important way to “shine a spotlight” on EM&V in order to improve methodologies, remove biases and increase accuracy and credibility.

“Common or consistent EM&V protocols are critical,” added Rodney Sobin, Alliance senior policy manager and one of the co-authors of the report, “as we see increased prospects for regional and national trading of energy savings certificates, energy efficiency included in renewable energy standards systems and possible national energy efficiency resource standards. Many of these same EM&V principles also should be applied in any eventual system for trading greenhouse gas offsets.”

The Alliance plans to conduct an “EE Noon” webinar on EM&V in the spring and to have EM&V sessions at the Alliance’s international conference, Energy Efficiency Global Forum and Exposition, May 10 – 12, 2010, in Washington, D.C. Please see http://ase.org/eenoon for more information on the EE Noon program.

The reports were prepared by the Alliance under a U.S. Department of Energy, State Energy Program – Special Projects grant with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, with additional support from the Kresge Foundation.