U.S. DOE publishes roadmap to double energy productivity by 2030

By Katie Fletcher | September 30, 2015

This month, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced a roadmap in support of President Obama’s goal to double U.S. energy productivity by 2030. The report lays out a path businesses, state and local governments, consumers and other stakeholders can use to achieve this goal.

The publication, Accelerate Energy Productivity 2030: Roadmap for American Energy Innovation, Economic Growth and Competitiveness, outlines a set of pathways to achieve energy efficiency, and makes clear the direct, tangible and long-lasting benefits in accelerating energy productivity. The roadmap identifies actions a broad range of stakeholders—including businesses; federal, state and local governments; universities and community colleges; and individual consumers—can take to achieve the national goal. The roadmap focuses on scalable actions, providing a foundation for scaling up these efforts nationwide, while allowing for flexible and tailored solutions.

“Cutting energy waste and doubling energy productivity will help American families save money on their energy bills, enable businesses to produce more while using less energy and strengthening the U.S. clean energy economy,” said Ernest Moniz, Energy Secretary. “This roadmap provides a path for families, businesses and governments, among others, to follow. By taking steps to increase efficiency and cut waste, the U.S. will be more competitive globally and will see direct and long-lasting benefits for decades to come.”

Over the past 12 months, two main findings were unveiled through the work of the partnership the U.S. DOE made with the Council of Competitiveness and the Alliance to Save Energy for the development of the roadmap. The first being there are demonstrated, proven opportunities in every part of our economy to improve energy productivity. The roadmap highlights various success stories, as well as other effective approaches to drive increased productivity over the next 15 years. These success stories and a range of opportunities for diverse stakeholders were discussed by attendees of Accelerate Energy Productivity 2030 events.

“Accelerate Energy Productivity 2030 already has fostered dialogues and galvanized action across all sectors of the economy, and with the release of the Roadmap, a broader range of stakeholders and activists now have access to concrete strategies and recommendations on how to achieve impactful and verifiable energy efficiency gains across the country,” said Kateri Callahan, president of Alliance to Save Energy. “I am bullish on our prospects for achieving a doubling of energy productivity in the U.S. because it just makes good economic sense. The roadmap is an actionable blueprint for success that will lead to wide-ranging benefits for American consumers and businesses alike.”

The second main finding was that new analysis shows how energy productivity can contribute to economic growth. The foundation for the roadmap includes a newly developed modeling framework that utilizes historical data to project how changes in investment, energy use and personal expenditures impact economic activity nationwide. The model is built on established metrics for economic and energy outcomes of six significant policy and investment strategies. The model analyzes how changes in energy use from these strategies could impact gross domestic product (GDP).

The modeling provided in the roadmap for productivity improvements includes six illustrative productivity “wedges” that collectively represent the strategies. These wedges are representative of the types of first-order effects one could anticipate from the options identified in the report. The six wedges are ranked in descending order of their estimated impact to U.S. energy productivity in the report. In descending order, the wedges include transportation, technologies for buildings energy product, smart energy systems, financing for buildings energy productivity, smart manufacturing and water infrastructure.

Ultimately, the roadmap concludes that through immediate and sustained actions, doubling energy productivity by 2030 is possible. The model estimates the energy productivity wedges will increase energy productivity in 2030 to $287 per MMBtu—more than double the $134 per MMBtu 2010 baseline. This change could result in increasing GDP to $22.5 trillion and reducing primary energy use to 78 quadrillion (quads) Btu by 2030.