Closing the Gap - the Largest Near-Term Energy Opportunity

Closing a national “electric productivity gap” could curtail up to 30 percent of current electric power consumption nationwide, according to a report released by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI).  

The Institute also released an interactive map in conjunction with the publication of the report titled Assessing the Electric Productivity Gap and the U.S. Efficiency Opportunity.

The report analyzes the size of the electric productivity gap in the U.S. Electric productivity measures how much gross domestic product is generated for each kilowatt-hour consumed. RMI’s analysis determined that the electric productivity among U.S. states varies dramatically.

This finding is extremely significant because if laggard states achieved the electric productivity of the top ten performing states through energy efficiency, more than 60 percent of coal-fired generation could be displaced in the country. 

According to Natalie Mims, Consultant on RMI’s Energy and Resources Team, “closing the electric productivity gap through energy efficiency is the largest near-term opportunity to immediately reduce electricity use and greenhouse gases, and move the United States forward as a leader in the new clean energy economy.”

The electric productivity of top performing states, such as New York, Connecticut, and California can serve as examples of how to overcome barriers to efficiency practices, regulate utilities, and implement technologies.  Lower performing states, like Kentucky and Mississippi, have a huge opportunity to build on the success of higher performing states by closing their electric productivity gap using known and tested technology and policy.

RMI believes that the U.S. can close the electric productivity gap in ten years because the technology and policy solutions are already known, available and tested.

The next step, according to RMI, will be to assess how to cost-effectively close the electric productivity gap. The analysis will focus on the impact that efficiency measures can have on existing building stock in the residential, commercial and industrial sector, and if a combination of these measures will cost-effectively close the electric productivity gap in each state. 

Click here to download the RMI Research Report: Assessing the Electric Productivity Gap and the U.S. Efficiency Opportunity (pdf)

For More Information: Rocky Mountain Institute

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