Efficiency stimulus will lower energy bills, says federal report

April 30, 2009
By Elisa Wood April 30, 2009 Depending on your position, the federal stimulus money is either a jobs builder or a national budget buster. The Energy Information Administration offers another take. In a recent analysis, the EIA finds that stimulus money should reduce what consumers and businesses pay to heat, cool and light buildings. The […]

By Elisa Wood

April 30, 2009

Depending on your position, the federal stimulus money is either a jobs builder or a national budget buster. The Energy Information Administration offers another take. In a recent analysis, the EIA finds that stimulus money should reduce what consumers and businesses pay to heat, cool and light buildings.

The federal agency this month updated its annual energy outlook to compare how energy costs would fare with and without the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/servicerpt/stimulus/index.html.

The stimulus package delivers about $12.5 billion for energy efficiency improvements in homes and buildings. Those upgrades should cut homeowner bills an average of $64 annually (in real 2007 dollars) over the next two decades. Homeowners will reduce use of heat 1.7%, and air conditioning 3.4% by 2030, the report says. Likewise, commercial buildings should see energy costs drop by an average of $5.7 billion, or 2.7% annually between 2010 and 2030. In all, the report pegs cost cuts for home and building owners in 2020 at $13 billion, or 2.6%, and in 2030 at $21 billion, or 3%.

In addition, expect to see a lot more solar panels and small wind turbines powering stores and offices very soon as a result of significant tax credits and loan guarantees. The stimulus funds should lead to 121 MW more of solar units on commercial buildings by 2011, a 15% jump, and 120 MW in distributed wind turbines by 2016, a 527% jump.

The EIA does not typically update its annual outlook after it is published. But the federal agency decided to do so this year because it was clear that the stimulus money, approved in February, would significantly alter its 2009 outlook, which was released at the end of last year. Indeed, the information may help inform national policy as Congress debates ways to avert higher energy costs under new programs being contemplated, such as carbon cap-and-trade and a renewable energy standard.

Visit Elisa Wood at www.realenergywriters.com and pick up her free Energy Efficiency Markets podcast and newsletter.

About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded RealEnergyWriters.com, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

Twitter: @ElisaWood

LinkedIn: Elisa Wood

Facebook:  Microgrids

Only through Standardization Can Microgrids Accelerate the Energy Transition

Jan. 18, 2024
Jana Gerber, North America microgrid president at Schneider Electric discusses how standardizing microgrids will accelerate the energy transition.

CumminsWP Cover_MG2021_2021-05-10_8-52-45
CumminsWP Cover_MG2021_2021-05-10_8-52-45
CumminsWP Cover_MG2021_2021-05-10_8-52-45
CumminsWP Cover_MG2021_2021-05-10_8-52-45
CumminsWP Cover_MG2021_2021-05-10_8-52-45

Transforming Microgrids with Hydrogen

Utilizing hydrogen in microgrids can play a key role in overcoming many of the challenges with the traditional energy economy such as aging infrastructure, changing customer demands...