Sustainable energy roadmap for Austin : how Austin Energy can optimize its energy efficiency
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This report asks how Austin Energy can optimally operate residential energy efficiency and demand side management programs including demand response measures. Efficient energy use is the act of using less energy to provide the same level of service. Demand side management encompasses utility initiatives that modify the level and pattern of electrical use by customers, without adjusting consumer behavior. Demand side management is required when a utility must respond to increasing energy needs, or demand, by its customers. In order to achieve the 20% carbon emissions and 800 MW peak demand reductions mandate of the Generation, Resource and Climate Plan, AE must aggressively pursue an increase in customer participation by expanding education and technical services, enlist the full functionality of a smart grid and subsequently reduce energy consumption, peak demand, and greenhouse gas emissions. Energy efficiency is in fact the cheapest source of energy that Austin Energy has at its disposal between 2010 and 2020. But this service threatens Austin Energy’s revenues. With the ascent of onsite renewable energy generation and advanced demand side management, utilities must address the ways they generate revenues. As greenhouse gas emissions regulations lurk on the horizon, the century-old business model of “spinning meters” will be fundamentally challenged nationally in the coming years. Austin Energy can develop robust analytical methods to determine its most cost-effective energy efficiency options, while creating a clear policy direction of promoting energy efficiency while addressing the three-fold challenges of peak demand, greenhouse gas emissions and total energy savings. This report concludes by providing market-transforming recommendations for Austin Energy.
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