American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
As mandated under the Clean Air Act, a suite of upcoming air regulations will impose limits on the emissions of multiple air pollutants. The report, “Energy Efficiency: The Slip Switch to a New Track Toward Compliance with Federal Air Regulations,” maps opportunities in these new regulations where energy efficiency can be used as a compliance tool.
“Although energy efficiency is our cheapest, cleanest and quickest energy resource, it has often been ignored as a strategy for compliance with air regulations,” said Sara Hayes, ACEEE senior policy analyst and lead author of the report. “But now the political, economic and regulatory environments have aligned. We are on the threshold of a unique opportunity, a tipping point for energy efficiency.”
Energy efficiency can play a major role in regulations such as the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and federal permitting rules, said Rachel Young, ACEEE research analyst and co-author of the report.
“We selected major opportunities where energy efficiency can have a big impact,” Young said. “We unearthed a collection of good stories about what has already been tried, and we found that there are some very promising opportunities.”
The report is the second in the ACEEE “Path to Compliance” series that outlines a track for the U.S. to transition to a cleaner, more reliable energy future. The first paper, “Avoiding a Train Wreck: Replacing Old Coal Plants with Energy Efficiency,” explains that energy efficiency is a low-cost approach to reducing air pollution. The analysis shows that energy efficiency can be deployed much more quickly than a new power plant can be constructed and explains how energy efficiency is the greatest untapped U.S. energy resource with massive potential.
The report’s recommendations will help reduce emissions at the lowest cost, said Steven Nadel, ACEEE executive director.
“In our current economic climate, states and utilities need a cost-effective solution to reducing pollution, complying with EPA regulations and maintaining reliable electricity for customers, he said.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments and behaviors.