sive and not all will be successful: some may fail, prove uneconomic, or be overtaken by better technologies.

Second, the deployment of existing energy efficiency technologies is the nearest-term and lowest-cost option for moderating our nation’s demand for energy, especially over the next decade. The potential energy savings available from the accelerated deployment of existing energy efficiency technologies in the buildings, transportation, and industrial sectors could more than offset the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) projected increases in energy consumption through 2030. In fact, the full deployment of cost-effective energy efficiency technologies in buildings alone could eliminate the need to construct any new electricity-generating plants in the United States except to address regional supply imbalances, replace obsolete power generation assets, or substitute more environmentally benign electricity sources—assuming, of course, that these efficiency savings are not used to support increased use of electricity in other sectors. Accelerated deployment of these technologies in the buildings, transportation, and industrial sectors could reduce energy use by about 15 percent (15–17 quads, that is, quadrillions of British thermal units) in 2020, relative to the EIA’s “business as usual” reference case projection, and by about 30 percent (32–35 quads) in 2030 (U.S. energy consumption in 2007 was about 100 quads). Even greater energy savings would be possible with more aggressive policies and incentives. Most of these energy efficiency technologies are cost-effective now and are likely to continue to be competitive with any future energy-supply options; moreover, additional energy efficiency technologies continue to emerge.

Third, the United States has many promising options for obtaining new supplies of electricity and changing its supply mix during the next two to three decades, especially if carbon capture and storage and evolutionary nuclear plants can be deployed at required scales. However, the deployment of these new supply technologies is very likely to result in higher consumer prices for electricity.

  • Renewable-energy sources could provide about an additional 500 TWh (500 trillion kilowatt-hours) of electricity per year by 2020 and about an additional 1100 TWh per year by 2035 through new deployments in favorable resource locations (total U.S. electricity consumption at present is about 4000 TWh per year).

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