Duke Energy efficiency programs lead Southeast, green group says
Charlotte Business Journal by John Downey, Senior Staff Writer
Date: Friday, August 10, 2012, 4:08pm EDT
Duke Energy Carolinas’ energy-efficiency program saved more energy at a lower cost last year than any other investor-owned utility in the Southeast, says a new analysis by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
The environmental group issued a brief study this week that shows Duke saved more than 500 gigawatt hours of electricity through its Save-A-Watt efficiency programs in 2011. That amounts to 0.7% of its sales last year.
“This is significantly more than any of the other utilities in the Southeast,” the alliance says in a new report, titled Energy Efficiency: The New Energy Superhero of the Southeast.
“Much of the savings from Duke Energy’s program came from lighting programs,” SACE’s Natalie Mims notes in her report. “Moving forward, Duke Energy is working on diversifying its programs to achieve more non-lighting savings.”
Duke has given away compact flourescent bulbs to encourage residential customers to use more efficient lighting.
The report notes Duke also exceeded its own energy-efficiency goals in both 2010 and 2011. The 2011 total was about twice the gigawatt-hour savings Duke had set for itself in filings with regulators in the Carolinas.
And Duke achieved those savings at a cost of less than a penny per kilowatt hour, SACE estimates. That is about half of what efficiency programs cost Progress Energy Carolinas last year per kilowatt hour and well below the nearly 9 cents per kilowatt hour paid by Florida Power & Light.
Overall, Southeastern utilities averaged energy-efficiency savings totaling close to 0.33% of annual sales last year, the study reports. The closest competitor was JEA, the Jacksonville, Fla., municipal energy authority. Eight utilities, including Progress’ Carolinas and Florida utilities, fell in behind at ranges between 2% and 4%.
SACE has encouraged utilities in the Southeast to shoot for a savings goal equal to 1% of their annual savings. It says the results of the latest review show that is possible. Although several Southeastern utilities had a fairly low level of savings, overall savings through efficiency more than doubled in 2011 from the year before, the report says.