By Kiernan Dunlop, Acadia Center

Massachusetts' energy efficiency Program Administrators recently announced remarkable preliminary program results for 2015. In 2015, the programs produced an estimated $3.42 billion in benefits for Massachusetts, delivering $4.70 in benefits for every dollar that the utilities invested in the program and achieving an unprecedented savings level of 3.01% of annual electric sales. This savings level exceeds not only the 2015 goal of 2.60% of annual electric sales, but also the nation-leading ambitious 2016-2018 goals, set at 2.94% of annual electric sales. 

2015 is the last year of the 2013-2015 Three Year Efficiency Plan, which itself set top-in-the nation targets for energy efficiency savings. Over the course of the last three years, the Massachusetts efficiency programs have produced $7.79 billion in benefits for customers in Massachusetts, electric savings equivalent to powering 546,239 homes for a year, gas savings equivalent to heating 95,763 homes for a year, and greenhouse gas reductions equivalent to taking 434,900 cars off the road. And they did all this coming in under budget (spending only 98% of the total DPU-approved budget over the three year period).

“Massachusetts is setting an example for the rest of the nation not only by consistently establishing the highest energy efficiency goals in the nation, but by exceeding them. The energy efficiency programs responsible for reaching these goals show the country that it is possible to save consumers money and have a clean and secure energy future,” said Daniel L. Sosland, Acadia Center President. 

Building on the widespread growth of the residential efficiency programs in 2014, spurred by increasing adoption of affordable LED lights, home insulation and installation of highly efficient heating equipment, 2015 also delivered significant savings in the commercial and industrial sector – including meeting the statewide goals for annual savings in electricity in this sector for the first time since the efficiency programs began in their current form. This success is attributable in part to high levels of adoption of combined heat and power operations at commercial and industrial facilities, which are some of the most cost-effective energy savings available in Massachusetts. 

The programs also bring major benefits to the Commonwealth, beyond the direct savings for those who implement these services in their homes and businesses. This year's efficiency investments yielded: 

  • Electric demand savings equivalent to a 222 MW power plant
  • 1,473 GWh of annual electric savings (enough to power 187,872 homes for a year)
  • 25.9 million therms of annual gas savings (enough to heat over 43,100 homes for a year)
  • 446,218 MMBtu of oil saved in 2015
  • Annual GHG reductions of 838,000 short tons, which is equivalent to removing over 160,085 cars from the road. 

USGBC MA supports the work of the Acadia Center and looks forward to working with other advocacy organizations, energy efficiency program administrators and other stakeholders to make sure that the Commonwealth continues to set and achieve ambitious goals for energy efficiency. 

“This level of success in 2015 sets Massachusetts up well to achieve the ambitious goals of the 2016-2018 three year plan,” said Amy Boyd, Acadia Center Senior Attorney who serves on the EEAC, “Massachusetts has a significant opportunity to build on the progress we've seen to-date and bring even more benefits for homes and businesses.”

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