California recently established an ambitious blueprint for how the state will meet its target of doubling statewide energy efficiency savings by 2030, which would be equivalent to avoiding the annual electricity use of 12 million households and the natural gas consumption of more than 3 million.
Energy efficiency is critical to accomplishing the state’s clean energy vision as it cuts energy waste, saves customers money, and reduces the cost of renewable energy targets by lowering the overall need for electricity. Efficiency also stimulates the economy while creating jobs and is a critical strategy to ensure an equitable transition to a clean energy economy.
The California Energy Commission (CEC) unanimously adopted energy-saving targets as mandated by the Clean Energy & Pollution Reduction Act (Senate Bill 350). The CEC report concludes that meeting the energy-savings target is well within the state’s grasp. Current and planned initiatives—such as advancing building energy codes and equipment efficiency standards as well as voluntary energy efficiency programs—are projected to fall just 4 percent short of the estimated target.
The report highlights specific actions required to bridge the remaining gap, such as better targeting agricultural and industrial savings, and improving compliance with California’s energy code through outreach and education.
California’s current energy savings momentum can also be enhanced by updating important policies. For example, decision makers at the state’s energy agencies can:
- Update rules to ensure energy efficiency potential studies identify opportunities to cut energy waste in every sector, including for low-income customers;
- Design programs and policies that allow for widespread deployment and job opportunities for underserved communities;
- Better understand and target agricultural, industrial, and public-sector buildings where substantial energy savings remain due to policy rules and gaps in energy data; and
- Enable an environment of collaboration through the California Technical Forum and the California Energy Efficiency Coordinating Committee to ensure interested parties and decision makers are working together to accomplish California’s common energy-saving goals.
Although California has a strong history of energy efficiency accomplishments, substantial opportunities remain to attain further environmental and financial benefits through energy efficiency. By uniting to develop the best strategies for implementing stronger energy efficiency policies and programs, we can successfully meet or exceed California’s ambitious clean energy and environmental goals.