Thursday, October 14, 2010

We're Number 27! Report shows unsexy efficiency program is working for ratepayers

Michigan’s energy efficiency requirements, passed in 2008, require our state’s major utilities to enact programs that make homes, stores and factories more energy efficient. And it’s paying off.

A new report from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy shows
Michigan moved up seven spots to number 27 on a ranking of the most energy efficient states.

That’s money in our pockets. Money we’re not spending on electric and gas bills.

It’s not as sexy as wind turbines or solar panels, but it’s the only energy solution that actual saves ratepayers money – roughly $3 in savings for every $1 invested in the program. It also holds at bay the need to build more power generation infrastructure – coal or nuclear plants, wind farms, etc. that drive up our utility rates.
We're talking programs that help businesses and homeowners afford smart low-energy lighting systems, boilers and furnaces that use less fuel, weatherproof windows and insulation to keep the cold out (or the cold in, depending on the season), etc. etc.

And, yes, there’s a line item on our utility bills for “energy optimization” to pay for the program. Seventy-nine cents on my most recent bill. That rankles some jerkwater bubbas.

But if we weren’t paying for efficiency, we’d be paying three times as much for new power production necessary to provide the energy we’re saving through the program.

Here’s hoping the next Michigan will push for even stronger energy efficiency program requirements. It isn’t sexy, but from what I’ve seen neither are they.

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