The Obameter

Require utilities to reduce electricity demand

"Will set an aggressive energy efficiency goal—to reduce electricity demand 15 percent from DOE's projected levels by 2020. Implementing this program will save consumers a total of $130 billion, reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 5 billion tons through 2030, and create jobs. A portion of this goal would be met by setting annual demand reduction targets that utilities would need to meet. The rest would come from more stringent building and appliance standards."


Cap-and-trade bill requires energy efficiency

As part of his plan to lower greenhouse gas emissions and wean consumers off foreign oil, President Barack Obama made energy efficiency a part of his campaign platform.

He's delivering on that pledge through a number of initiatives.

For example, buried in the cap-and-trade bill is a requirement that, by 2020, utility companies will be required to meet 20 percent of their load with electricity generated from renewable resources and electricity savings. At least a fourth of those reductions must come from greater energy efficiency.

Some of those efficiency savings will come from more aggressive standards for efficiency in buildings, a requirement also included in the cap-and-trade bill. New buildings will be 30 percent more energy efficient in 2012 and 50 percent more efficient in 2016. Those standards will increase 5 percent every three years. That means that by 2030, new buildings will be 75 percent more efficient than they are today, according to the bill's fine print.

Obama is also pushing greater appliance efficiency; the Department of Energy is in the process of updating an array of appliance standards per a memorandum Obama issued on Feb. 5.

But while the administration has made efficiency a priority, all these efforts are still in the process of being finalized. The Senate has yet to vote on its version of the cap-and-trade bill, and the Energy Department has yet to put all the new appliance standards on the book. As a result, we rate this one In the Works.


House Energy and Commerce Committee, Summary of HR 2454 , accessed Oct. 12, 2009

White House, memo about appliance efficiency standards , accessed Oct. 12, 2009