Utility Spending On Energy Efficiency Programs Hits All-Time High

08 Feb 2017

Posted in General by Net Zero USA

A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance outlines how the U.S. economy has grown while energy consumption has fallen. According to the 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, U.S. GDP has grown by 12 percent, while energy consumption has fallen by 3.6 percent since 2007.

The report also notes how utilities have tripled their spending on energy-efficiency programs, from $2.2 billion in 2007 to $6.3 billion in 2015.

Related: Commercial LED Lighting Rebates & Incentives Offered By Utilities Across America

At the same time, greenhouse gas emissions are plummeting and more rooftops are being retrofitted with photovoltaic solar panels, allowing them to cleanly produce the electricity needed within the building below. Total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions hit a 25-year low in 2016, down 12 percent from their peak in 2007 and 11.6 percent below 2005 levels.

Other Takeaways From The 2017 Energy Report:

-The addition of 76 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy generating capacity, and 39GW of natural gas-fired capacity.

-Renewables (inclusive of large hydro) and natural gas now meet half of US power demand, up from only 38% in 2011.

-A 10% improvement in US energy productivity, meaning the US economy is using 10% less energy to power each unit of growth.


-Between 2006 and 2011, incremental annual energy efficiency savings by electric utilities grew 24% year on year.

-This coincides with the uptake of both energy efficiency resource standards (EERS) and decoupling legislation in many states.

-Both state governments and local municipalities have been creating building energy use policies, including building energy efficiency benchmarks and mandates to disclose energy consumption. As of the end of 2016, 6.7 billion square feet of commercial floor space, or around 8% of total US commercial sector floor space, was covered by such policies. This represents an 3% uptick over the 2015 tally.


Energy-efficiency improvements were particularly pronounced in the power sector, where electricity demand dropped by 1.1 percent in 2016, compared to a 1.6 percent increase in annual GDP. Electricity demand is down 1.2 percent from its 2014 peak, while GDP has grown by 4.2 percent, according to the 2017 Factbook.

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Click here to read the 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Report.