Region’s Energy Future Depends On Efficiency And Cutting Carbon Emissions Report Says

Brian Barth

Contact:
Colin Durrant, CLF Communications Director
(617)850-1755

Boston, MA (August 9, 2007) A new report released today by clean energy advocates paints a brighter future for New England’s energy future than previously stated by ISO-New England, the organization responsible for managing the region’s electricity grid. The report cautions that the “business as usual approach…no longer works,” and instead that energy efficiency and reducing electricity demand, combined with large-scale investments in renewable energy, are the practical solution to meeting the challenge of global climate change and protecting customers from volatile energy price swings.

“We’ve got to chart a course that meets both our energy needs and our moral responsibility to curb global warming,” said Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) senior attorney Sandra Levine.

The ISO-NE Scenario Analysis Companion Report, authored by Synapse Energy Economics, was commissioned by CLF, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP), New Hampshire Office of Consumer Advocate, and the Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel. The report shows how efficiency and conservation measures, combined with renewable energy generation from projects like wind and solar, can be used to reduce consumer costs and meet climate change goals. It was prepared in response to ISO-New England’s recently released “Scenario Analysis,” which ISO claims was a comprehensive examination of the region’s energy needs and options, but which the advocates say has painted a bleak picture for the future by focusing principally on high electricity prices and the difficulty of building new generation to meet demand.

The Scenario Analysis Companion Report released today concludes that, using a combination of clean energy resources – including energy efficiency, demand response and renewables – points to a better future than any of the scenarios developed by ISO-New England. Among the report’s other conclusions:

* The ISO analysis is a technical report that is overly focused on the price of energy on a “per kilowatt” or “per megawatt” basis. As a result, it does not directly address the more important question of what people and businesses will actually pay for energy and the critical role that resources, such as energy efficiency, which reduce demand, can play in reducing our energy bills.
* The ISO Report shows that “demand side resources” (such as energy efficiency) in combination with clean renewable energy technologies (such as wind), and advanced co-generation projects (like combined heat and power, or CHP) will protect ratepayers from higher and volatile energy prices and move us towards the climate protection goals the states have adopted. However, the ISO Report fails to report this “good news” message in a clear and concise manner.
* The ISO Report fails to consider that sophisticated “demand response” technologies can not only address and reduce peak demand on the very hottest hours of the hottest days of the year, but also can reduce demand and energy consumption during other times of the year, thereby reducing our overall need for costly new investments.
* States are stepping up with ambitious goals for accelerated demand side programs. Massachusetts has pledged to meet all growth in demand through energy efficiency, New York plans to reduce demand by 15% by 2015, and New Jersey is considering a 20% reduction by 2020. The ISO Report could evaluate the implications of such goals and consider the impact on future power supply scenarios.
* The ISO Report does not mention one of the most notable benefits of demand resources: they keep our resources in our region. Money spent on fossil fuel generation is just money exported out of the region and money spent on Demand Resources (and efficiency in particular) is money that is returned to ratepayers and supports local businesses. We should pay ourselves to be more efficient instead of paying for coal and oil imports.

“It is imperative that policymakers in our region have access to reliable information to help them make informed choices about what energy strategies to pursue,” noted Susan Coakley, executive director of Lexington, Mass.-based NEEP. “The scenario recommended in this companion analysis is based on scaling up tested and known energy efficiency programs and strategies so that we can achieve even greater collective energy and capacity savings. We think this companion analysis fills in some of the blanks left by the ISO report and more clearly helps us all understand the role than clean energy resources like energy efficiency will need to play to help us build a more affordable and sustainable energy future.”

To download the report visit: http://www.synapse-energy.com/

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