Energy Efficiency Points to Our Best Future

I have annotated and posted a page from the Wisconsin PSC’s 2016 Strategic Energy Assessment below. With an investment of about .75 cents per month, WI reduced its electric energy .6%. This rate should come very close to leveling off our use– that is– offsetting the projected growth rate of .7% forecast for the next 25 years (U.S. Department of Energy).

This result affirms that “aggressive” energy efficiency investment here could be as successful as in Vermont and Massachusetts. If Wisconsin ratepayers are allowed to do what the WIS PSC and the State recommended in 2010 and we invested about $2.50 per month into Focus on Energy with much higher incentives, we’d very significantly lower our dependency on electricity year after year. This exceeds what EPIC has been targeting.

In addition to lowering home, business and farm operation costs, the invested $2.50 to $3 per month would result in about 25 times the number sustained jobs in our communities compared to high voltage transmission building.

We’d be waking up in 2018 to realize that for the same amount of monthly investment as regional transmission expansion that our BEST dreams would be coming true.

Should carbon emission reductions be a top priority in energy planning for you, consider that reducing our use at a sustained rate of .7% per year for 20 years would produce a 24% reduction in carbon emissions compared to a .8% per year increase in use regional utilities predict for us (MTEP11 BAU scenarios).

Note that larger MTEP11 reductions appear to be fully dependent upon adding significant carbon taxes and a 20% national renewable energy law. Maybe these are possible someday if public support grows,.. but in the meanwhile, its time to put the brakes on regional high voltage transmission expansion and put our first, precious dollars towards energy efficiency where we know they will produce results. Then let’s see what happens for 5-10 years and then re-assess our options.

The PSC assessment demonstrates that investment in Energy Efficiency is working in Wisconsin. The approach also gives ratepayers the ability to adjust the investment rate over time depending on results. Any proposal that locks Wisconsin ratepayers into paying around $3 per month for the next 40 years with no performance guarantees has very poor cost and benefit performance in comparison.

Wis PSC Focus On Energy .6% Use Reduction from 2011 SEA Report