A survey of 50 energy experts conducted by economists at The Brattle Group reveals that energy efficiency is likely to cause a drop of 5% to 15% in U.S. electricity consumption by the year 2020, relative to forecast trends. Electric peak demand is likely to drop by 7.5% to 15% compared to forecast trends, and natural gas consumption is expected to drop by 5% to 10% compared to forecast trends.
These reductions will likely be brought on by factors such as the rising costs of generating and delivering electricity and natural gas, rapid advances in appliance and building technology, innovative rate design and cultural shifts in American values that encourage behavioral change.
The analysis reveals a surprising consensus on the size of the impact from increased energy efficiency in the United States. However, it also finds considerable variation across regions, sectors, programs and end-uses. For instance, the West North Central Division is expected only to see savings in electricity consumption in the 1.5% to 2.5% range, while the Mountain Division is expected to see savings in the 5% to 16% range.
Significantly, dynamic pricing programs are expected to garner between 7.5% to 20% of residential consumers, while participation rates for commercial and industrial consumers will range from 10% to 30%.
“Energy Efficiency and Demand Response in 2020 — A Survey of Expert Opinion,” was co-authored by Brattle economists Ahmad Faruqui and Doug Mitarotonda in coordination with Global Energy Partners, an Enernoc company.