When it comes to industrial energy efficiency, states and utilities outspent the federal government in 2010—though the overall impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was a significant factor at the state level. That’s the news according to a new research report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
In “Money Well Spent: Industrial Energy Efficiency Program Spending in 2010“, the ACEEE details, for apparently the first time ever, the total U.S. industrial energy efficiency deployment and technical assistance at the federal, state and utility levels.
And these are important investments, the ACEEE said in the report: “Energy efficiency investments are highly cost-effective and provide additional environmental and economic benefits that outweigh those of new energy generation resources. In addition to its low coast, energy efficiency can be installed much faster than trraditional energy generation becuase the technology is already available.”
According to the report, states and utilities invested over $811 million in industrial energy efficiency programs in 2010, accounting for about two-thirds of all industrial energy efficiency program spending over the course of the year. This reflects a strong prioritization of industrial energy efficiency by certain state lawmakers and regulators (as opposed to federal lawmakers, who have yet to get behind national-level programs in force). Nationwide, all industrial energy efficiency programs spent over $1.1 billion in 2010.
What kind of investments are we talking about here? ACEEE said the money went toward smart grid and smart meter deployment, as well as incentive programs designed to help homeowners, businesses and utilities save energy.
In terms of overall spending on this front, New York ranked first among states, due to both strong utility spending and the impact of programs run by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The next five biggest states, in terms of industrial energy efficiency spending, were California, Pennsylvania, Washington, Massachusetts and Oregon.
The report found that spending in 2010 was enhanced by spending at the state level as part of the federal ARRA. According to the ACEE, ARRA funding that went toward industrial energy efficiency efforts at the state level accounted for about $228 million or 20% of the total in 2010.