Utilities Edge Closer to the ‘Clean Trillion’

September 18, 2014 By Karen Henry

clean energy-energy-managePower companies are moving closer to achieving $1 trillion in clean energy investments—the amount that scientists say is necessary to avoid major climate disruption, according to an article in The Christian Science Monitor.

Northeast Utilities has helped the Massachusetts Institute of Technology realize $4.4 million in energy cost savings as part of a multiyear strategic partnership. As a part of the partnership, the utility is helping the university implement a comprehensive energy-efficiency program. The partnership is just one of dozens the utility has formed with some of its largest customers to facilitate the implementation of energy-efficiency projects. These investments are helping the utility build a more resilient network, among other benefits, and other utilities are following a similar path.

The Christian Science Monitor article notes that electric sector investments in energy efficiency rose to $7.2 billion in 2013 and are generating returns of $3 for every $4 invested. But although investments in energy efficiency are a big part of reaching “the clean trillion,” as Ceres calls it, the article emphasizes that a long-term view on energy efficiency is paramount, and that can only be achieved through strong clean energy policies that facilitate large-scale energy efficiency initiatives such as those that mandate increased use of renewable energy, pave the way for grid modernization and empower consumers to manage their own energy use.

National Grid, for example, has power purchase agreements with major wind projects in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It has also invested $40 million in Clean Line Energy, a company developing transmission lines to move large amounts of wind power from Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma to big population centers. Other power providers are also tapping into wind power from the panhandle region, while providers in California and Nevada are investing in readily available solar resources.

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