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Government & Politics

Accelerated Efforts to Reduce Electricity Consumption

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Governor McAuliffe has accelerated the timetable set in a 2007 state law that requires a voluntary 10% reduction in state energy consumption—by moving its target date to 2020. 

Now an expert panel established to help achieve that goal has concluded that it needs additional data just to clarify how that should be measured.  It also says the responsibility does not just rest with electric utilities to boost their own conservation efforts.

The law calls for reducing only electricity consumption from a 2006 baseline. State policy analyst Borna Kazarooni said the simplest calculation may be to use total statewide consumption, starting with 106.7 million megawatts nine years ago.

“Ninety percent of that is 96 million megawatt hours.  It’s fluctuated quite a bit, but it looks like the trend is going up. If we were to try to achieve a reduction to 96 million megawatt hours in 2020, we’d need to achieve about a 14% decline from our latest levels.”

But the members said that’s the most difficult goal since it does not account for greater demand due to population and industry growth.  They said the goal should challenge people, industries, and commercial consumers to use less electricity.  Chief Energy Efficiency Officer Hayes Framme agreed.

“It can’t just all be utility program-driven. There have to be all of these other components to pull in.”

They’re asking electric utilities to provide data sorted into consumer types.  Then they will specify who could cut energy use and how much, as well as practical programs and incentives to achieve those goals.