U.S. energy consumption by the end of this year will be half what the U.S. consumed in 1970, as measured per dollar of economic output. That's the remarkable finding of a new report by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
The report, "The Size of the U.S. Energy Efficiency Market: Generating a More Complete Picture," finds that energy efficiency is the U.S. energy boom that no one knows about.
"Energy Efficiency may be the farthest-reaching, least-polluting, and fastest-growing U.S. energy success story of the last 50 years. It is also the most invisible, the least understood, and in serious danger of missing out on needed future investment," the report states.
The report also notes, "…our nation is not aware of the role that energy efficiency has played in satisfying our growing energy-service demands…the contributions of efficiency often go unrecognized. The contributions of energy efficiency often remain invisible..."
Although efficiency is a proven resource, it remains underdeveloped, the report adds. "In short, the evidence suggests that efficiency can make an even larger contribution towards stabilizing energy prices and reducing greenhouse gas emissions - should we choose to fully develop it."
Other key findings of the report include:
Given the right choices and investments in the many cost-effective but underutilized energy efficiency technologies, the United States can cost-effectively reduce energy consumption by an additional 25-30% or more over the course of the next 20-25 years.
Annual investments in energy efficiency technologies currently support 1.6 million U.S. jobs. The $300 billion invested in energy efficiency in 2004 was three times the amount invested in traditional energy infrastructure.
Investments in energy efficiency technologies are estimated to have generated approximately 1.7 quads of energy savings in 2004 alone - roughly the equivalent of the energy required to operate 40 mid-sized coal-fired or nuclear power plants.
Since 1970, energy efficiency has met about three-fourths of the demand for new energy-related services while conventional energy supply has covered only one-fourth of this demand.
For more information or to download the complete report, visit the ACEEE website.