Energy and the Environment

National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency

The National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency was a private-public initiative to create a sustainable, aggressive national commitment to energy efficiency through the collaborative efforts of gas and electric utilities, utility regulators, and other partner organizations. Such a commitment can take advantage of large opportunities in U.S. homes, buildings, and schools to reduce energy use, save billions on customer energy bills, and reduce the need for new power supplies.

The Action Plan was led by a diverse Leadership Group of more than 60 leading gas and electric utilities, state agencies, energy consumers, energy service providers, environmental groups, and energy efficiency organizations. The Leadership Group identified key barriers limiting greater investment in cost-effective energy efficiency, made five key policy recommendations to overcome the barriers, and documented policy and regulatory options for greater attention and investment in energy efficiency. Many Leadership Group organizations were joined by other states, utilities, and key stakeholders across 49 states in making aggressive commitments to energy efficiency and endorsing the recommendations of the Action Plan.

Action Plan reports, guides, tools, and factsheets are available to help state policy-makers, energy consumers, utilities, environmental groups, and others understand options for:

The State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network builds on the great progress made by the Action Plan and offers resources, discussion forums, and technical assistance to state and local decision makers as they provide low-cost, reliable energy to their communities through energy efficiency.

Advancing a Comprehensive Policy and Program Framework

  • National Action Plan Vision for 2025: A Framework for Change. This document establishes a goal of achieving all cost-effective energy efficiency by 2025 and presents 10 implementation goals as a framework for advancing the Action Plan’s five key policy recommendations, which many of the Leadership Group organizations and others have endorsed.
  • National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency Report. This seminal report includes the Action Plan recommendations, identifies key barriers, and summarizes methods for energy efficiency in utility ratemaking and revenue requirements, energy resource planning processes, rate design, and energy efficiency program best practices.

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Setting High-Level State Policy Goals for Saving Energy

  • Guide to Resource Planning with Energy Efficiency. A variety of successful processes are used to integrate energy efficiency into electric and gas resource planning and to facilitate the effective procurement of cost-effective energy efficiency. This “how-to” guide describes the key issues, best practices, and main process steps for integrating energy efficiency into resource planning on an equal basis with other resources. 
  • Guide for Conducting Energy Efficiency Potential Studies. This document provides guidance on standard approaches for parties looking to a) determine how much energy efficiency is available in their utility footprint, state, or region; b) evaluate efficiency as an alternative to supply-side resources; or c) formulate detailed program design plans by understanding the potential for cost-effective energy efficiency. 
  • Energy Efficiency as a Low-Cost Resource for Achieving Carbon Emissions Reductions. This report summarizes the scale and economic value of energy efficiency for reducing carbon emissions and discusses barriers to achieving the potential for cost-effective energy efficiency. 
  • Energy Efficiency Benefits Calculator (XLS)(3 MB) .This calculator can be used to help educate stakeholders on the broad benefits of energy efficiency. It provides a simplified tool to demonstrate the business case for energy efficiency from the perspective of the consumer, the utility, and society. It can be adapted to apply to various utility structures, policy mechanisms, and energy growth scenarios.
  • Discussion of Consumer Perspectives on Regulation of Energy Efficiency Investments. This report considers consumers’ perspectives on policy and regulatory issues associated with the administration of energy efficiency investments funded by ratepayers of electric and natural gas utilities.

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Establishing and Implementing Effective Efficiency Programs

  • Understanding Cost-Effectiveness of Energy Efficiency Programs. This paper discusses the five standard tests used to assess the cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency, how states are using these tests, and how the tests can be used to determine the cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency measures. 
  • Customer Incentives for Energy Efficiency Through Program Offerings. This brief summarizes the approaches used by energy efficiency program administrators when assessing the range of financial and other incentives to be used in energy efficiency programs.
  • Energy Efficiency Program Impact Evaluation Guide. This document, intended for both novices and experts, provides definitions, concepts, and steps for calculating savings, avoided emissions, and other impacts.
  • Energy Efficiency Program Best Practices. This chapter from the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency Report reviews and presents best practices for operating successful energy efficiency programs at a portfolio level. It addresses issues such as assessing energy efficiency potential, screening energy efficiency programs for cost-effectiveness, and developing a portfolio of approaches. 
  • Energy Efficiency Program Administrators and Building Energy Codes. This brief explores how energy efficiency program administrators have helped advance building energy codes at federal, state, and local levels—using technical, institutional, financial, and other resources—and discusses potential next steps

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Addressing Utility Barriers

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