Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Releases Annual Energy Efficiency Report

Wind turbines on the horizon in front of a sunset.

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) has released its third annual “Energy Efficiency in the Southeast” report evaluating recent trends in electric utility efficiency data, as well as recent policy trends and insights into how COVID-19 altered the efficiency landscape across the Southeast.

This year’s report delves into the relationship between efficiency and the region’s consistently high energy bills and carbon emissions, showing how just three utilities deliver nearly 75% of all efficiency savings in the Southeast, while some of the biggest utilities do almost nothing. At a time when COVID-19 and the climate crisis are exacerbating energy inequity, intensifying the focus on efficiency solutions for the Southeast is imperative.

An excerpt from the report can be found below:

Each year SACE compiles efficiency performance data from nearly 500 electric utilities in the Southeast, which we now present in our third annual “Energy Efficiency in the Southeast” report.

Our analysis reveals that nearly three-quarters of the region’s total energy efficiency savings come from just three companies: Duke Energy Carolinas (DEC), Duke Energy Progress (DEP), and Georgia Power.

Energy efficiency is a low-cost, clean energy resource that reduces energy waste and carbon emissions while lowering customer bills. But too many utilities, including some of the Southeast’s largest, fail to serve the efficiency needs of their customers and instead continue to over-rely on outdated fossil fuel generation.

Our latest report centers on utility efficiency savings from 2019 (the most recent year with complete data) taken as a percent of the prior year’s retail sales – which creates a standard metric to compare performance between utilities and states of different sizes. Our data findings are presented with both historical context and the most recent policy trends to give a sense of where efficiency savings performance will likely go in coming years.

Since the data used for this report comes from 2019, it does not include annual efficiency performance stats from the COVID-19 pandemic, but we do provide insights on how efficiency programs have been impacted and what to look for in next year’s report.

Duke in the Carolinas Leads the Southeast

In 2019, Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress continued to lead our region in percent annual efficiency savings and were the only Southeast utilities to top the national average. Georgia Power and Tampa Electric exceeded the Southeast regional average, but this is far below the rest of the nation. By contrast, average savings in the Northeast are more than five times higher than in the Southeast.

Visit cleanenergy.org/blog/saces-third-annual-energy-efficiency-in-the-southeast-report-a-solution-to-multiple-crises/ for additional information and to continue reading the report.

Written by Forest Bradley-Wright, Energy Efficiency Program Director.