U.S. DOE Announces State Energy Program National Evaluation Results

State Energy Program
Energy efficiency upgrades -- such as geothermal heating and cooling, nanogel-filled windows, and lighting sensors -- will help the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research reduce energy use and save money. | Photo courtesy of the University of Kentucky.

The U.S. Energy Department announced today the results of a major national evaluation during a typical year in the State Energy Program (SEP) operations, as well as during the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) period. The results reaffirm the Energy Department’s long-standing commitment to drive economic development and reduce carbon emissions at the state level.

The purpose of the study was to develop independent key outcomes for program year 2008 and the ARRA time period from 2009–2013.

In surveying results from 2008, a year funded at $33 million, the study determined that for every SEP dollar spent, program participants received $4.50 in bill savings over the lifetime of the measures installed (at a 2.7% discount rate). 

Key findings:

  • Lifetime energy savings and renewable generation resulting from SEP investments: 9.7 million source metric British thermal units (MMBTUs)—this equates to the average amount of energy used for all non-transportation applications in about 52,000 households over a one year period.
  • Lifetime cost-savings: $94.6 million.
  • Job creation: More than 2,000 direct, indirect, and induced jobs were created or retained—equal to about one job per $12,500 in SEP dollars invested.

The evaluation also analyzed the State Energy Program during the ARRA period, 2009 to 2013. The impact of federal investment on economic growth was uniquely powerful during this term. The evaluation reflects ARRA’s historic level of stimulus—$3.1 billion—for clean energy projects that help align the nation to lead the global energy economy. For every SEP dollar spent, program participants received about $3.50 in bill savings over the lifetime of the measures installed (at a 2.7% discount rate).

Additional findings include:

  • Lifetime energy savings and renewable generation resulting from SEP investments: 2.8 billion source MMBTUs—this equates to the average amount of energy used for all non-transportation applications in about 15 million households over a one year period.
  • Lifetime cost-savings: $7.8 billion.
  • Job creation: More than 135,000 direct, indirect, and induced jobs were created or retained—equal to about one job per $14,000 in SEP dollars invested.

These evaluations demonstrate the State Energy Progam is among one of the most effective instruments in federal energy policy, aimed at deploying efficient and impactful energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and practices, leveraging federal and local funds, and educating individuals and organizations about energy-saving opportunities.

The multiyear, peer-reviewed study was led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. It is the most comprehensive, detailed analysis conducted to date for the program.

SEP operates under the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The program provides grants and technical assistance to states and territories to support a wide variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy activities.

As the State Energy Program approaches its 20th anniversary, its legacy remains strong.  The program has invested in energy projects across the residential, commercial, and industrial markets, fully supporting and building upon the Administration’s “all of the above” energy strategy.

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