Energy Efficiency Potential Study

On March 23rd of 2018, NCBPA submitted letters to the state’s Energy Policy Council and the Governor’s office with a variety of recommendations for increasing North Carolina’s strategic use of energy efficiency.  NCBPA recommends that during the 2019 legislative session the state authorize a new and modern Energy Efficiency Potential Study with actionable steps to increase the utilization of energy efficiency as a resource in the state.  Read more below.

Task the Utilities Commission and Public Staff with Delivering an Energy Efficiency Potential Study and Actionable Steps

NCBPA recommends that during the 2019 legislative session the state authorize a new and modern Energy Efficiency Potential Study with actionable steps to increase the utilization of energy efficiency as a resource in the state.  North Carolina is at a significant disadvantage in securing government, utility and consumer support for energy efficiency due to the lack of available data on the potential for energy efficiency to positively impact the state’s economy, workforce and environment.

Energy efficiency is an energy source in its own right that can boost growth while accelerating a transition to cleaner energy sources. The study is recommended to better understand the full extent of opportunities available in North Carolina and would include analysis on the current and future usage and impact of energy efficiency on the electric grid, the transportation infrastructure and in the built environment. This quantitative data would be able to provide valuable guidelines for future regulation and legislation involving energy and energy efficiency as well as highlight areas where efforts would be most effective.

The study is needed to answer these and other key questions about energy efficiency in the state:

  • What is the opportunity for energy efficiency in North Carolina?
  • What can energy efficiency do that is not being done today?
  • How could energy efficiency benefit other energy generation and saving sectors?
  • What would the economic potential or impact be on North Carolina?
  • What policies would be impacted by increased energy efficiency investment?
  • What opportunities exist for regulated and non-regulated utilities?

Funding for the study could be established through a legislative process similar to 2017’s HB589 that mandated a study on energy storage:

  • NCBPA and partners will work with legislators to enable legislation requiring the study.
  • The legislation can authorize a level of state funding to be matched by private industry.
  • Groundwork for this study is already underway at NCBPA, with past (but outdated) studies available to use as benchmarks.

The Utilities Commission and Public Staff can then use this study to support regulatory changes that create a greater focus on energy efficiency, including modernizing North Carolina’s utility energy efficiency cost effectiveness testing policies and procedures.  Many national and regional resources available to support these efforts.

Past studies on North Carolina’s energy efficiency market contain valuable information but are presently outdated.  These past studies found:

  1. “The Potential for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in North Carolina”
    • Prepared by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and NC Clean Energy Technology Center for the U.S. Department of Energy in 2003.
    • A modeled 3.4% reduction in residential electricity demand from 2003 baseline to 2020 through the use of market incentives alone. Valued at 2.3 TWH or $173M savings per year.
    • A modeled 6.7% reduction in commercial electricity demand for the same period. Valued at 3.4 TWh or $237M savings per year.
    • Residential lighting, the industrial sector and higher efficiency standards were NOT examined.
    • Net result of 6% electricity savings from market programs and technology advanced valued at over $400M in savings per year.
  2. “A Study of the Feasibility of Energy Efficiency as an Eligible Resource as Part of a Renewable Portfolio Standard for the State of North Carolina”
    • Prepared by GDS Associates for the North Carolina Utilities Commission in 2006.
    • Potential energy savings for electric energy efficiency measures is 33% of projected 2017 kWh sales in the state with an achievable savings potential (below cost-effectiveness screening) of 20%.
    • The cost-effectiveness potential for energy efficiency would reduce electric energy use by 14% by 2017.
  3. “Energy Efficiency Potential for States Support for State Energy Planning”
    • By Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and U.S. Department of Energy in 2014.
    • 9 million MWh of EE potential savings from electricity for all sectors from 2016 – 2035.
    • 56% projected achievement as percent of economic potential %.
    • Potential 18.4% electric savings as percent of projected adjusted baseline sales (16%).

In addition to leveraging these studies, NCBPA strongly recommends incorporating findings from Duke Energy’s North Carolina DSM Market Potential Studies.  The most recent study completed on December 19, 2016 found 4,285 MW of economic potential through demand side management and 6,041 MW of technical potential in the Duke Energy Carolinas territory for 2017 – 2041.  For the Duke Energy Progress territory, 2,385 MW of economic potential and 3,710 MW of technical potential were identified for the same period.

The 2017 U.S. Department of Energy study determined that 31% of the energy used in North Carolina single family homes could be saved through energy efficiency, amounting to $2.1 billion in annual utility bill savings equal to 30.0 trillion Btu per year in gas, propane and fuel oil and 14.4 billion kWh in electricity savings.