Energy Efficiency

DOE's Greenwald discusses agency road map to double energy productivity

Last week, the Department of Energy, along with the Alliance to Save Energy and the Council on Competitiveness, unveiled a road map to double energy productivity by 2030. How does this road map fit into the series of actions the Obama administration has already taken on climate and energy? During today's OnPoint, Judi Greenwald, deputy director for climate, environment and energy efficiency at DOE, discusses the strategies stakeholders can employ to increase their energy productivity. She also talks about the policies that will be needed to reach the agency's goal.

Transcript

Monica Trauzzi: Hello and welcome to OnPoint, I'm Monica Trauzzi. With me today is Judi Greenwald, deputy director for climate, environment and energy efficiency at the Department of Energy. Judi, thank you for joining me.

Judi Greenwald: Thanks so much for having me.

Monica Trauzzi: Judi, the Department of Energy, along with the Alliance to Save Energy and the Council on Competitiveness, have unveiled a road map to double energy productivity by 2030, energy productivity being the ratio of GDP to primary energy use. How does the road map sort of fit into the series of actions we've seen this administration already take on climate and energy?

Judi Greenwald: So as you probably know, in 2013 in his State of the Union address the president announced this goal of doubling energy productivity by 2030, and it's one of many things that the administration is doing. Certainly in terms of my bailiwick, what I focus on in the department, we have a lot of commonality between what we've been learning through the Quadrennial Energy Review process, a number of the recommendations from the Quadrennial Energy Review, the first installment that we released in the spring are coming into play as part of the productivity initiative, and also we expect that what we have been learning in the productivity initiative will feed into the next installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review, which is going to be on the power sector from generation through transmission, storage and distribution and the end-use sector.

Monica Trauzzi: So let's dig into the road map a little bit. What are some of the strategies that stakeholders can employ to increase their energy productivity?

Judi Greenwald: So as you probably know, but I'll help your viewers out, we had three things that we did as part of this Accelerate Energy Productivity initiative in partnership with our partners, the Alliance to Save Energy and the Council on Competitiveness. The first one is that we wanted to do education. So we've educated people about what this goal is, what it means, as you explained, that it's energy on the bottom and our economic well-being in the numerator. So we wanted to make sure people understood what the goal was and how our economic well-being is tied to our energy efficiency. And there are interactions between energy savings and what we can do for our economy.

So the second thing that we tried to do in addition to education was to motivate people around the country to participate. So we did three dialogues around the country and we talked to people about what they're doing, what they're learning, and help them figure out how they could feed in to this goal.

And then the third thing we did was we created this road map, and the road map built on what we were learning about what things people were doing around the country, and then we built that up into what we called six wedges of actions that people could take. It's not prescriptive, it's not every single thing that you have to do in the road map in order to achieve our goals, but it's illustrative of the type of things that you can do.

And what we learned was that you could meet the president's goal by doubling energy productivity by 2030 and you could increase our GDP by close to 4 percent compared to our EIA's base case, and you could decrease energy use by almost 4 percent. And so you get both that increase in economic growth as well as the decrease in our energy use.

Monica Trauzzi: So when you talk about reducing energy consumption, are there specific sectors of the economy that should be tackled first, or sort of where would DOE like to see the greatest reductions?

Judi Greenwald: So we looked at the entire economy -- and of course it's where the energy use is, which is in many different places. A key wedge was transportation. Things like improving vehicle efficiency. Also making it easier for people to get around without driving alone in vehicles, and there's quite a bit that you can get there. That was a big fraction of our outcome in terms of what we could do and how we would get to the goal. A lot in the power sector. A lot about smart power, how we can combine information technology with some more traditional approaches to energy use, and that combination can really lead to enormous reductions in energy use. The smart grid can really enable a lot more reductions in energy use and help us produce our power and move it around and get it to end users much more efficiently.

We also talked a lot about smart manufacturing. Again, that relationship between information technology and manufacturing, so that we can make things more precisely, and that's been helpful in our whole approach to manufacturing where we can do more onshoring but also do it efficiently.

Monica Trauzzi: So on the utility front, a suggested strategy is for utilities and regulators to design policies that align efficiency with the utility business model that is rapidly evolving and changing. How does that interact with the Clean Power Plan where we're also seeing a huge focus on utilities?

Judi Greenwald: So the Clean Power Plan will definitely also drive energy efficiency, and that's one of the things that we have to take into account. We did not focus much on the Clean Power Plan because it came out fairly recently towards the end of our process and we focused more on these other sets of initiatives and things that people were doing, and it was a bit more bottom-up. We talked a lot, for example, about specific case studies of different actors around the country who told us their stories about what they were up to. The city of Atlanta, for example, is close to meeting its targets to reduce its water use by 20 percent and its energy use by 10 percent. So it's a very bottom-up type approach of looking across the country, at the same time rolling that up and showing that we can actually do this. We don't have to do anything terribly ground shaking, we really just have to scale up strategies that people are doing around the country.

Monica Trauzzi: Are there specific policies, state and federal, that will be needed in order to reach that goal by 2030?

Judi Greenwald: So we definitely are leaning in at the federal level and the states as well. I think it's part about policy and it's also part about other actors. We talk a lot about what the government can do as well as what businesses can do, what utilities can do, what the private sector can do. I'd say some of the key things that the federal government is doing are energy efficiency standards, which is something that DOE does, and that of course matters. Building codes at the local level. Certainly these energy efficiency resource standards that a lot of states are doing, that matters a lot to drive all of this energy efficiency.

I would also say the financing is important, and that was an important piece of what we looked at. A lot of times when you're doing energy efficiency, it actually pencils out, if you look at the economics, but people can't get the financing. And so if we can lean in on that, that can make a big difference, and a number of states are doing that, for example, through Green Banks. There's a lot of public-private partnerships on that front, and that's a big way that we can get access to energy efficiency that's sort of a policy-related outcome, but it's really more of a public and private partnership working together on that.

Monica Trauzzi: How would you like stakeholders to use this road map?

Judi Greenwald: If stakeholders are interested they can go to Accelerate Energy Productivity 2030, our website, and they can look at all of the endorsers, people around the country who have endorsed our goal. We have up to 125 or more at the moment, so people can endorse the goal. They can look at the website and see how much they could do and how they could be part of the solution. So we really welcome everyone joining in and helping us. Also, if you go to our website you can find the presentations and the video from our summit yesterday where we had lots of people participating from around the country, talking about what they're doing, and the secretary, Secretary Moniz, talking about how this is an important initiative for us and how we're leaning in at the federal level.

Monica Trauzzi: All right, very interesting. Thank you for coming on the show.

Judi Greenwald: Thanks.

Monica Trauzzi: And thanks for watching, we'll see you back here tomorrow.

[End of Audio]

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