Some staggering numbers came out of a recent study by Ceres which in conjunction with Deutsche Bank determined that the scale of investment in Energy Efficiency in the US could be as much as $279 Billion. Even more impressive is the resulting savings in operating costs by US companies estimated to be as high as $1 Trillion.
The frequently identified roadblock for opening the market is project finance. It is stated that institutional investors are very interested in this class of projects since the costs, risks, and payback are well understood. However, for institutional investors to come into the market with finance tools like bonding, the pool of projects needs to be in the $100M+ range. This new study points to there being far more than enough potential projects to create the required pipeline to attract these investors.
The one two punch of creating an active market for service providers and investors, while also creating such an impactful amount of bottom line savings for companies is why President Obama laid out the challenge to cut energy waste in half over the next twenty years. This is an achievable goal and really only requires a heightened sense of awareness on the part of the public and media. As shown in the diagram from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories and the DOE, more than 30% of the energy brought into to homes and businesses in the US is lost to inefficiency.
Diagram courtesy of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories and the Department of Energy and can be found at https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/content/energy/energy_archive/energy_flow_2012/2012new2012newUSEnergy.png