Boosting Our Economy by Using Less Energy
Managing demand for electricity is the cleanest and cheapest way for New England to meet its energy needs. We can save money and create jobs while cutting our use of the dirty, outdated fuels that cause climate change.
Here in New England, each state has programs to support investments in energy efficiency.
CLF has been instrumental in creating an infrastructure that generates revenue for these programs, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the profits from which are reinvested in efficiency programs.
One challenge in promoting more efficiency has been how to create the business and regulatory structures that allow reducing energy use to be as profitable as building yet another power plant. Traditionally, utilities have made more money by selling more electricity, giving them no incentive to promote efficiency. CLF has led the way in correcting this imbalance in Massachusetts by decoupling utility profits from the amount of energy sold.
Now, we’re working state by state to safeguard and grow funding for efficiency programs.
What’s at Stake
The more energy we all use, the more energy must be generated. Whether that energy comes from coal, natural gas, or renewable sources, the cost to generate that energy goes beyond the dollar figure on our utility bills. Part of that cost is sunk into the generation facilities themselves, and part is in the poles and wires needed to bring that energy into our homes and businesses.
Managing demand for electricity doesn’t mean making due with less, however. It actually means doing more with less: building refrigerators that use less energy but work as well as your current model.
By reducing the overall demand for electricity, energy efficiency saves billions of dollars on the overall electric grid by delaying or avoiding the need for new transmission lines and expensive, new polluting power plants. It also reduces how much power electricity plants must produce. Less power produced means less pollution and lower electricity bills for everyone.
But investments in energy efficiency don’t just save all of us money and reduce pollution. They create good, local jobs and keep more money right here in New England, stimulating our regional economy.