Energy efficiency has become a quiet success for Colorado and there continues to be massive opportunities for economic development for businesses and energy consumers.
Energy Efficiency Business Coalition’s “Colorado State of the State” Report estimates a local industry made up of more than 14,167 managers, engineers, technicians, office staff and more. Meanwhile, energy efficiency projects make up a small minority of building construction projects. These projects provide an excellent opportunity to continue the creation of local jobs. However, there are some challenges to scaling the growth of the industry.
The report identifies these key challenges for the continued growth of the industry including an uncertain future of programs, inconsistent standards across programs, and creating value for energy efficiency improvements.
“For a number of good reasons, the industry has seen rapid growth over the past few years,” says Executive Director, Eric Van Orden. “This report is important to spell out the lessons learned and provide a road map to keep up the momentum.”
Investment in energy efficiency by utilities in Colorado have played an important role in creating jobs through programs that encourage home and business owners to implement energy efficiency products and services.
In 2007, House Bill 07-1037 set goals for investor owned utilities to help customers reduce electricity usage in 2020 to about 11.5% less than their energy use from 2009. Since then, Xcel Energy and Black Hills Energy have invested $167.7 million in energy efficiency, creating savings of 814 gigawatt-hours with a peak reduction of 209.9 gigawatts, yielding a net economic benefit of $646 million in Colorado. Yet, very few utilities outside of this standard have strong energy efficiency programs, as identified by the Utility Energy Efficiency Scorecard in the report.
Municipalities have also promoted the adoption of energy efficiency solutions through similar programs initiated by the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Neighborhood program. This has lead to more than $10.7 million in energy efficiency projects in Boulder, Denver, Eagle, Pitkin, and Gunnison counties. Recent innovations to project financing options under these programs could provide sustainable solutions as the funding subsides in 2013. With the lessons learned from these programs, other cities are seeing the opportunity and developing initiatives to create jobs and save energy in their communities.
While the report identifies the many cross-sector actors involved in this growing industry, EEBC’s Executive Director points out, “The success really comes down to the interaction of these actors with the energy efficiency businesses – the contractors, engineers, and others that are diligently working every day to implement energy saving solutions.”
Visit: www.EnergyEfficiencyBusinesses.org/SOS to download the report
About the Energy Efficiency Business Coalition
EEBC is a nonprofit trade association formed in 2007 to provide organized representation for the numerous businesses that are involved in the manufacturing, distribution, installation, sales and marketing of energy efficiency technologies and services. The member-funded coalition works with utilities, municipalities, and government organizations to promote energy efficiency policies and programs that support the business
objectives of member businesses.