The Trump administration is reportedly launching a rollback of vehicle efficiency standards that greatly benefit the US economy. These standards save consumers money, create jobs, help reduce US reliance on foreign oil, and lower carbon emissions.
As the new year begins, we expect 2017 will bring increased investments in energy efficiency and other efforts to save energy.
Yesterday, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued five new efficiency standards, culminating a decade of energy efficiency progress that began under President George W. Bush. The new standards, the last of many developed during the Obama administration, will save consumers money, help meet the nation’s energy needs and reduce environmentally harmful emissions, including greenhouse gases. However, each of these new standards must clear one more hurdle before they are truly complete, which means the Trump administration will get the final word on this last batch of Obama-era standards.
Five years ago, ACEEE found that energy efficiency could reduce projected 2050 US energy use by 40–60%. As a result, ACEEE established a strategic goal to reduce projected 2050 energy use by 50%. We thought it was time to check on our progress and ask whether our goal still seems reasonable. We find that energy use has been stable in recent years, reversing historical growth, a very positive development that is due in significant part to increasing our energy efficiency.
As another round of global climate talks has concluded, many observers wonder whether the 2016 election means the end of greenhouse gas regulation in the United States. More specifically, what happens to the Clean Power Plan?
Now that the hard-fought 2016 election is over, I think it is useful to consider its impact on energy efficiency policy. No doubt, a lot of uncertainty remains because of President-elect Donald Trump’s lack of specificity on many issues. Yet given the bipartisan, good-for-business appeal of energy efficiency, I see potential paths forward and work to be done.
Despite the fact that energy efficiency is generally the least-cost option for states looking to comply with the Clean Power Plan, it has yet to be fully considered as a strategy for the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP). This could result in reduced investment in energy efficiency which would mean increased electric costs and less money in the hands of communities.
Can efficiency improvements achieved in past decades be sustained in the future? How much impact does the rebound effect have on energy efficiency potential out to 2030, or even 2050?