In September, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz unveiled a strategic plan of action designed to support the White House goal of doubling U.S. energy productivity by 2030. The plan outlines roles and opportunities for collaborations involving business, state and local government, consumers and other energy stakeholders, as well as the federal government.
Entitled Accelerate Energy Productivity 2030: A Strategic Roadmap for American Energy Innovation, Economic Growth, and Competitiveness, the plan outlines actionable strategies for each sector of American society and was intended to demonstrate that any organization or individual can make contributions to the goal of doubling national energy productivity. The report was also intended to provide a foundation for scaling up these efforts nationwide, while allowing for flexible and tailored solutions.
Defining energy productivity as the ratio of economic output (gross domestic product (GDP)) to primary energy use (measured in British Thermal Units), the plan is estimated to drive an additional 3.6 percent growth in GDP against a 24 percent reduction in primary energy usage by 2030.
Key recommendations by sector include:
- Invest in long-term energy productivity through research, development and demonstration in transportation, buildings and manufacturing technologies; secure energy productivity through setting and updating vehicle and product codes and standards, and providing energy performance information to consumers;
- support policy action by state and local governments and the private sector through the provision of tools and other resources to reap the benefits of energy efficiency;
- set the financial foundation for energy productivity through tax policies;
- help train a workforce geared for energy productivity; and lead by example in adopting new technologies and strategies in its own operations.
State and Local Government/Regulators
- Pursue policies to encourage greater energy efficiency; promote new and innovative financing for investments that support energy productivity;
- support and incentivize increased deployment of combined heat and power
- implement smart regional transportation solutions; and adopt and enforce increasingly efficient building codes.
- Adopt rates and implement related policies affecting utility sector efficiency programs that more effectively align efficiency efforts with utility business models; and support energy productivity investments in buildings and infrastructure.
- Facilitate distributed generation; establish best practices regarding building energy information;
- support the development of advanced manufacturing ecosystems; and reduce personal vehicle miles traveled through the built environment-transportation nexus.
- Serve as incubators for new energy productivity technologies-and, where appropriate, enable new energy-efficient technologies to move rapidly from the lab to the marketplace.
Business (Commercial and Industrial)
- Reduce energy consumption in their own buildings and facilities through energy efficiency;
- Reinvest avoided energy costs into growing their businesses;
- Adopt new financing models that promote energy productivity investments;
- Encourage suppliers and vendors to take measures to improve energy productivity;
- Assist in training a workforce geared for energy productivity;
- Leverage public-private partnerships;
- Adopt energy management systems;
- Transition to advanced manufacturing technologies;
- Explore innovative new products that enable energy productivity for customers and suppliers.
Utilities (Electric and Water)
- Modernize the grid infrastructure through smart grid investments and improve the efficiency and interoperability of generation, transmission, storage, and distribution; adopt new utility business models to empower the improvement of energy productivity; design rates and support related policies for utility energy efficiency programs that more effectively align energy efficiency with utility business models;
- Support energy productivity investments in buildings;
- Adopt more energy-efficient and energy-extracting technologies at water and wastewater treatment facilities and more water-efficient technologies in distribution and end use water systems (e.g., wastewater treatment plants can implement more efficient pumps and deploy onsite waste to energy conversion, such as digesters and combined heat and power; end use hot water conservation measures also have a direct impact on energy consumption).
Higher Education Institutions
- Create new curricula and expand workforce training opportunities across multiple disciplines (e.g., building trades, engineering, governmental policy, economics, and law) for careers in the clean energy, energy efficiency and advanced manufacturing fields;
- Act as demonstration and commercialization “accelerators,” enabling new energy-productive technologies to move rapidly from the lab to the marketplace;
- Invest in making their facilities and fleets more efficient.
Individuals and Households
- Support the markets associated with energy-efficient products in the home and for transportation, and use available resources to make informed choices.
“Cutting energy waste and doubling energy productivity will help American families save money on their energy bills, enable businesses to produce more while using less energy, and strengthen the U.S. clean energy economy,” said Secretary Moniz. “This roadmap provides a path for families, businesses and governments, among others, to follow. By taking steps to increase efficiency and cut waste, the U.S. will be more competitive globally and will see direct and long-lasting benefits for decades to come.”
The proposed energy productivity plan was immediately endorsed in public statements by the Alliance to Save Energy and the U.S. Council on Competitiveness.
Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan praised the plan, noting, “a broader range of stakeholders and activists now have access to concrete strategies and recommendations on how to achieve impactful and verifiable energy efficiency gains across the country.”
Council on Competitiveness President and CEO Deborah L. Wince-Smith added, “This Roadmap makes the compelling competitiveness case for a doubling of national energy productivity ” as an engine for job creation; economic growth; a more globally-competitive manufacturing base; and a greater standard of living for every American.”
For more information on the plan and its recommendations, see: