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What Efficiency Measures for Utilities Should Be Included in a Green New Deal?

Photo Source: Huffington Post

For the past few months, since a large number and some high-profile candidates won elections in November running on clean energy platforms, talk of a Green New Deal has been at a fairly constant buzz. This week, though, the conversation seems to be heating up as details finally start to get plugged in about how legislation would actually achieve the goals proponents of the Green New Deal are advocating. 

Much of the conversation has centered on how aggressive lawmakers should be-- push too hard on pie-in-the-sky tenets and it may be too difficult politically to get it passed, fail to push hard enough and the 'green' backers might rebuke it as not enough (not to mention the problem that action might actually be not enough). One of the notable details that emerged this week was that coming legislation wouldn't call for a specifically mandate phase-out of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas), but would rather include language calling for 'net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.' 

While many details still need to emerge and lots of debate lays ahead, I was curious how members of the Energy Efficiency Community of Energy Central saw aspects of utility efficiency measures factoring in. Specifically, given that fossil-fueled generation will not be phased out legislatively, does that open up the door for aspects like:

  • Increased funding (both R&D and implementation) for distributed energy resources
  • Attention given to energy storage rather than energy generation
  • Focus on how big data can accomplish some part of decarbonization goals
  • A push for improved efficiency in T&D systems.

So, what do you think? If the Green New Deal won't be exclusively generation-focused, how can efficiency play in? Do you think federal intervention can help with these ideas or are they best left ot states and/or free market? Would it be more effective to see funds go to efficiency or do mandates work more effectively?

Matt Chester's picture

Thank Matt for the Post!

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