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U.S. states and utilities invested $811M in industrial energy efficiency programs in 2010

July 9, 2012 - A new report noted that American states and utilities invested more than $811 million in industrial energy efficiency programs in 2010, exceeding the spending by the federal government and other national-level programs.


July 9, 2012
By Alyssa Dalton

Nationwide, all industrial energy efficiency programs spent over $1.1 billion in 2010, according to Money Well Spent: Industrial Energy Efficiency Program Spending in 2010, released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

Included in the report is a first-time ever estimate of total industrial energy efficiency deployment and technical assistance at the federal, state, and utility levels, stating that states and utilities were responsible for approximately two-thirds of all industrial energy efficiency program spending in 2010.

“Industrial energy efficiency is one of the cheapest, most cost-effective efficiency resources available to us today according to ACEEE research,” said Anna Chittum, lead author of the report and senior analyst at ACEEE. “As a country, our states are putting significant resources toward capturing industrial efficiency, but they have still only harnessed a fraction of the potential.”

Annual spending by different state and utility programs across the United States, including utilities and ratepayer-funded public benefit fund organizations, state agencies, public universities, nonprofit organizations, and locally-administered federal programs, is also noted in the study.

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“Our research shows that utilities and public benefit fund organizations are already playing a major role in realizing industrial energy efficiency opportunities,” said Seth Nowak, co-author of the report and senior analyst at ACEEE.

The study estimated that ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) accounted for about $228 million or 20% of the total in 2010. According the study, these funds helped to encourage the establishment of new industrial energy efficiency programs around the country, including financing and technical assistance programs that have helped jump-start a cleaner and more energy-efficient economic recovery.

Despite the short-term nature of the ARRA funds, utilities and public benefit fund organizations’ continued spending positions industrial energy efficiency in a strong place for future growth, noted the study.

“As energy efficiency goals ramp up and efficiency becomes even more cost-effective when compared to the cost of new energy generation, the industrial sector will continue to offer opportunities for critical energy efficiency improvements that benefit all energy users,” it stated.

“States that have prioritized industrial energy efficiency are showing that they are attuned to the economic and environmental benefits of these programs, and that they value the contributions industrial sectors can make to their energy efficiency portfolios,” said R. Neal Elliott, ACEEE’s associate director for Research. “We anticipate that these states will increase funding in the future and be joined by others as they come to appreciate the low cost of industrial energy efficiency resources and the competitive benefits of investing in their manufacturing companies.”

CLICK HERE to read the report.