Numbers to know: Decline seen in electricity use

By Joe Salimando

According to a report from The Brattle Group, “Overall, the experts expect that U.S. electric consumption will decline by between 5 and 15 percent by the year 2020, compared to what it would have been absent additional energy efficiency measures.”

The Brattle Group, which has some repute in the electric utility consulting field, recently released “Energy Efficiency and Demand Response in 2020 – A Survey of Expert Opinion.” The report included information on electrical distributors, their contractor customers and energy efficiency. “The survey results confirm that the age of increasing energy efficiency has not yet come to an end. In fact, they herald a period of acceleration for energy efficiency,” the report says.

This report is a survey of 48 experts on the next few years. In other words, it is not fact.

Energy efficiency numbers were not graphically presented, but disclosed in the text of the report. “…the residential sector is expected to see electric savings in the 10 to 12 percent range. It is expected that 40 percent of consumers will buy high efficiency air conditioners and 60 percent will buy high efficiency lighting systems,” according to the report.

“For the commercial and industrial sectors, the United States is expected to see overall electric savings in the 5 to 15 percent range,” the report continued. “The experts expect that, overall, these savings will come from 70 percent of customers choosing high-efficiency motors, 60 percent choosing high-efficiency lighting systems, and 50 percent choosing high efficiency HVAC systems.”

Regional residential guesses

Lighting fares well in this graphic—especially in the western North Central area.

Commercial guesses

Note that lighting systems in the graphic above are in a different color from the residential graphic above. Lighting and motors are the No.2 and No.1 items for the United States overall (the left-hand-most grouping of bars).

Role of demand response

Many distributors need to find ways to help customers (commercial ones, anyway) shed loads—thereby getting inexpensive rides on the demand response bandwagon.

The Brattle Group explains the concept, saying, “In the demand response domain, the U.S. is forecasted to have total system peak demand savings in the range of 7.5 and 15 percent. Within this broad domain, direct load control programs are expected to reach 10 to 15 percent of residential consumers.

“However, dynamic pricing programs, which currently reach less than one percent of residential consumers, are expected to garner between 7.5 to 20 percent of residential consumers in the U.S. as a whole and the range could be as high as 12.5 to 45 percent in the East North Central region of the country.

“Participation rates for commercial and industrial consumers in dynamic pricing programs will [ranged from]…10 to 30 percent.”

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