Discussion Paper

Putting a Floor on Energy Savings: Comparing State Energy Efficiency Resource Standards

Feb 28, 2012 | Karen L. Palmer, Samuel Grausz, Blair Beasley, Timothy J. Brennan


Energy efficiency resource standards (EERS) refer to policies that require utilities and other covered entities to achieve quantitative goals for reducing energy use by a certain year. EERS policies generally apply to electricity and natural gas sales and electricity peak demand, though they also cover other energy sources in Europe. Our study aggregates information about the requirements of existing EERS policies for electricity sales in the United States. We convert quantitative goals into comparable terms to compare the nominal stringency of EERS programs across states. EERS programs also differ in their nonquantitative requirements, including flexibility measures, measurement and verification programs, and penalties and positive incentives. We compare the U.S. policies to similar policies in the European Union and discuss important policy issues, including exogenous changes in fuel prices and issues with utility management of energy efficiency programs.