02/11/15 :

BCSE Factbook Shows Progress Towards Goal of Doubling U.S. Energy Productivity

We’re living in a country where energy use is dropping while the economy is growing, where investment in efficiency and clean energy technologies are top priorities and where it’s possible to achieve the Accelerate Energy Productivity 2030 goal to double U.S. energy productivity. The Sustainable Energy in America 2015 Factbook, released last week, shows these trends and more, giving us great hope for a more secure energy future. There’s a lot to be excited about, but additional action is needed across all sectors and at all levels of government in order to build upon this momentum.

A Few Good Trends

The third Factbook from the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) documents changes in American energy production, delivery and consumption. Between 2007 and 2014, total U.S. energy use fell 2.4 percent while the economy grew by 8 percent. What does this mean? It reinforces findings of other studies indicating a severed link between economic growth and increased energy use. Energy efficiency is helping the economy continue an upward climb even as fewer valuable resources are expended in the process.

BCSE also found efficiency investments from utility programs, Energy Saving Performance Contracts and Utility Energy Service Contracts totaled nearly $14 billion in 2013, and investment in clean energy totaled $51.8 billion in 2014. Undoubtedly in part due to these substantial financial commitments, the energy productivity of the U.S. economy has increased 11 percent since 2007.

Additional Action Needed

These trends indicate advancement towards the goal of doubling our nation’s energy productivity from 2007 levels by 2030, but they also show additional action is necessary. We believe state governments and local stakeholders will lead us further and faster towards this goal. 

The Accelerate Energy Productivity 2030 partnership hosted the inaugural State and Local Dialogue in Raleigh, North Carolina the day after the Factbook was released, and appropriately, there were many connections between the two. The Dialogue discussions focused on strategies for increasing the efficiency of transportation, buildings, lighting and more in Raleigh and beyond. The Factbook indicates the Pacific and New England regions have made the most progress in boosting efficiency in these sectors, while the southwest and southeast have the greatest opportunities for growth. Despite being a leader in efficiency, Raleigh falls in the latter region, but we’re hopeful our Dialogue will inspire its neighbors to take further action.

Resources like the Factbook are essential for tracking gains in energy efficiency and energy productivity and substantiating the positive impacts of further investment. We look forward to seeing the results of the next years’ worth of work in the next publication.