Clean Power Plan could mean big savings in California - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Energy Efficiency, Regulation  -  August 3, 2016

Clean Power Plan could mean big savings for California commercial properties

By adopting the energy efficiency recommendations under President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan, commercial properties in California could cut their electric utility costs on average by nearly 8%, or roughly $1.3 billion, by 2030, Public News Service reported Aug. 3, citing a study from Georgia Tech's School of Public Policy. 

Nationally, commercial properties could cut electric costs by $11.3 billion over that timespan if more efficient and affordable technologies are implemented for air conditioning, lighting, electronics and other equipment. Rooftop solar systems and use of improved building materials and techniques could also help cut energy use, according to the report. 

"By the year 2030, we estimate that bills for electricity could be reduced by 6.7 percent if states were to include energy efficiency as a strong component of their compliance approach," study author Dr. Marilyn Brown was reported as saying. 

If no environmental measures were adopted, electric bills for commercial customers in the Golden State would rise by almost 19% over the next 15 years, according to the study. 

Additionally, natural gas bills for commercial buildings in California could be reduced by almost 5%, or roughly $150 million, by 2030, according to the study. Reductions in natural gas usage would most likely result from replacing inefficient rooftop heating and cooling units with electric systems utilizing "innovative air source heat pumps." 

Office and retail buildings would see the greatest benefit from these changes in California, with expected electric savings of approximately $231 million and $335 million in 2030, compared to a business-as-usual approach with no changes.  

Final rules for the Clean Power Plan were set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2015, establishing carbon-emission reduction targets for every state, according to the Georgia Tech report. Options proposed for meeting these goals include a shift away from coal-generated power and toward investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency, natural gas and nuclear power. 


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