ACEEE: Natural Gas Efficiency Remains a Great Investment

August 4, 2014 By Karen Henry

natural-gas-aceee-energy-manageNatural gas programs account for about 18 percent of efficiency spending nationally, and there has recently been a surge of investments in natural gas efficiency programs, according to a blog post from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). As it turns out, natural gas efficiency remains a great investment, ACEEE said.

Efficiency programs remain the cheapest and least risky natural gas resource. ACEEE’s recent review of the cost of electric and natural gas utility energy efficiency programs, “The Best Value for America’s Energy Dollar,” updated the research of a previous study, “Saving Energy Cost-Effectively: A National Review of the Cost of Energy Saved Through Utility-Sector Energy Efficiency Programs” and found that natural gas efficiency remains the least-cost thermal resource.

When comparing the average cost of a therm of saved natural gas from utility programs implemented over eight recent years to the average US price of a therm of natural gas supply, in every year for which ACEEE has data, efficiency programs cost less than supply. The average cost of efficiency across these years is nearly flat and is lower than the price of natural gas as far back as the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has collected this data.

The relatively consistent low cost of efficiency programs means that efficiency investments can act as a hedge to mitigate the price volatility that is a long standing characteristic of the natural gas market. Natural gas efficiency can protect consumers and utilities from wild fluctuations in the cost of natural gas that often happen within the course of a single year.

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