Oregon’s 2012 Success Proves Energy Efficiency Is Effective

In early February, the Energy Trust of Oregon released preliminary results from its annual energy savings report. Results hinted that 2012 had been a record-breaking year for energy conservation efforts in the state, and now that hunch has been confirmed.

The organization’s full 4th quarter report reveals that annual results exceeded even the stretch goals for electric and natural gas efficiency savings. Oregon’s success is both proof that energy-efficiency efforts can be effective in the short term and stands as a road map for other states to follow.

Energy hierarchy

Image via Philip R Wolfe/Wikimedia Commons

So what does it look like when private industry and public utilities band together to support a more energy efficient populace? Here are some of the highlights from Energy Trust of Oregon’s report:

  • Solar installations topped 50 megawatts in capacity, adding to the Quarter 3 milestone of 5,000 solar electric systems installed with Energy Trust support since 2002.
  • Four biopower projects—in Medford, Pendleton, Wallowa County and at a Willamette Valley dairy—reached commercial operation.
  • Eight projects enrolled in Governor John Kitzhaber’s “Cool Schools” initiative were completed.
  • The introduction of Strategic Energy Management in the commercial sector proved a success when seven of nine participating businesses completed energy upgrades.
  • Energy Trust awarded its first zero EPS, an energy performance score, to a home built by SolAire Homebuilders in the Bend area.

The impact of these proactive projects has already proven significant:

Electric efficiency projects completed during Q4 are expected to save 29.3 average megawatts (aMW) of electricity; Gas efficiency projects completed during Q4 are expected to save 3.5 million annual therms of natural gas; and renewable energy projects completed during Q4 are expected to generate 3.4 aMW of electricity, which is 87 percent of the 2012 renewable energy conservative goal of 3.9 aMW.

View the Energy Trust of Oregon’s full Quarter 4 Report to the Oregon Public Utility Commission.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog