Why National Grid rejects energy efficiency (They prefer energy productivity instead)


By: SGN Staff


Quick Take:  Energy blogger Elisa Wood has a thoughtful piece on GreenBiz that documents National Grid's efforts to move to the next level of energy efficiency - to a version so much better that it deserves a new name. - Jesse Berst


"’It is going to take innovation and risk-taking on the part of the utility industry to engage the consumer," warns energy blogger Elisa Wood. She was commenting on a new strategy for National Grid, whose U.S. subsidiary serves 7 million electric and gas customers in the Northeast states. Wood says the utility invests more money in energy efficiency than any other U.S. utility with the possible exception of Northern California’s PG&E.


National Grid is now championing next-generation energy efficiency under the banner of "energy productivity" - the amount of economic activity per unit of energy. If the U.S. can double energy productivity by 2030, it can cut carbon emissions by one third, save $1,000 per household per year, and add more than 1 million jobs.


That was the conclusion of a report called Energy 2030 from the Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy. Made up of leaders all major stakeholders, the Commission worked for a year to identify the most impactful bipartisan energy policy solutions.


In its bid to improve energy productivity, National Grid is turning to a wide variety of programs, many of them old favorites. It is also employing new tactics, like the partnership it formed with the 120-acre Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The campus and utility formed a partnership and created a five-year plan that centers on energy cost savings, local economic growth, alternative energy and transportation, learning, and energy for the health sector. The partnership estimates it will achieve $2.9 million to $12.1 million in annual savings by 2016.


Jesse Berst is the founder and Chief Analyst of SGN and Chairman of the Smart Cities Council, an industry coalition.


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