Tag Archives: measurement

U.S. energy efficiency programs: Lots of evaluation, little coordination

November 28, 2012 |


Suppose you are a regulator in a state or country new to energy efficiency programs and you want to design a set of financial incentives to encourage efficient appliances and equipment.

If you want to design something that generates significant energy and carbon emissions savings in a cost-effective manner, you have a number of decisions to make: What products and efficiency measures should you target? Should you offer incentives for very high-performing, super-efficient devices that may have a smaller market, or for more widely available but somewhat less efficient measures? How large should these incentives be? Should you offer incentives upstream (to manufacturers), midstream (to retailers), or downstream (to consumers)? Should you bundle the incentives with information and advertising, and if so, what is the best allocation of program resources? How do you need to vary your approach in different markets?

The U.S. appears, at first glance, to offer lots of evidence to help you make these choices.  A search of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency yields 1124 separate U.S. programs that offer some form of rebate for energy efficiency measures. Programs have existed since the 1970s, so you have a long history to draw upon. Moreover, utility demand-side management (DSM) programs, which make up the lion’s share of energy efficiency programs, are routinely evaluated. In fact, U.S. efficiency program administrators budgeted at least $181 million for DSM program evaluation in 2011.

Unfortunately, despite the many programs and the many millions of dollars spent evaluating them, there is less evidence on what works and what doesn’t than there could and should be.

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Keeping track of climate progress: Are countries well-placed to meet new tracking needs?

November 27, 2012 |


As the business school adage goes, you manage what you measure.

When it comes to progress on climate change, measurement doesn’t often capture much public attention. However, measurement and reporting play a fundamental behind-the-scenes role: They help build confidence that countries are doing what they say, and they also build capacity for countries to identify opportunities and tackle challenges domestically.

Right now, climate negotiators are gathering in Doha for the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). While headlines around these meetings usually focus on the lack of progress in UNFCCC discussions of countries’ emissions reduction targets, the UNFCCC is making strides on other fronts. In the past three years, countries have agreed to significantly expand the amount of information they report on their greenhouse gas emissions and their climate policies and measures.

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