“There is broad consensus that energy efficiency is the easiest and most cost-effective way to increase energy supplies, promote sustainability, enhance energy security and reduce energy costs,” ACC President and CEO Cal Dooley told a group of industry leaders and government representatives at the Alliance to Save Energy’s (ASE) Great Energy Efficiency Day on Wednesday. “It’s a win-win proposition,” he said.
It’s also a bottom line issue, because chemistry is responsible for many, if not the majority, of the products that make energy efficiency possible, including lithium-ion batteries, lightweight vehicle parts, more efficient fuels, and efficient windows, doors, roofing, piping and lighting.
Innovations like these have helped the business of chemistry, the third largest manufacturing industry in the U.S., to cut its own energy consumption by more than half since 1974. Clearly, energy efficiency is good for sustainability, and it’s good for business, Dooley said.
At the same time, he asked conference attendees, which included Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), why do we seem to have such trouble getting policies implemented that promote efficiency?
The Clean Energy Standard Act (CESA), for example, the subject of a Senate Energy Committee hearing on Thursday, includes measures to encourage the adoption of a range of so-called “clean” energy sources. But, as Dooley explained, energy efficiency improvements at electric utilities or manufacturing facilities do not receive credits toward compliance with the Act, thus disincentivizing them to make any gains in efficiency.
A similar situation can be found in many state-based renewable or clean energy standards where alternatives and renewables get the nod, but efficiency is no more than an afterthought, Dooley explained. Using less energy seems to be the cleanest source of energy there is, so its omission from these regulations makes no sense, he said.
A piece of legislation that understands the need to improve efficiency in order to meet future energy demands was in introduced last year by Senators Shaheen and Portman, but has stalled out.
Dooley urged conference attendees to rally around that bill and aggressively advocate for its passage.