Is Maryland on its Way to an Energy Efficient Future?

As many of you know, Maryland passed the EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act in 2008.  This legislation was created to reduce the state’s emission of greenhouse gases through energy efficiency.  The Act set a goal of reducing energy consumption by 15% in 2015.

So how are we doing? Good, so far! The state has been meeting or exceeding benchmarks set for each year between 2008 and 2012.  Energy consumption has been broken down into two categories for tracking: Per Capita Energy Consumption, how much individual homes use; and Per Capita Peak Demand, how much energy each home demands during peak hours of usage.

Per Capita Peak Demand energy consumption has been consistently decreasing.  In 2007 Per Capita Peak Demand was 2.56 kW per household. In 2012, Maryland Per Capita Peak Demand was only 2.28 kW.  That’s a 10.77% reduction- over 2% more than the target reduction! It is project that by 2015 Maryland will exceed its goal of a 15% reduction; the projected reduction for peak demand electricity is 17.77%.

So far, Per Capita Energy Consumption usage has also been decreasing. In 2012 Maryland reduced Per Capita Energy Consumption by 10.8% compared to 2007 levels. However, this reduction has not been as regular as Per Capita Peak Demand and is not expected to continue falling.  In 2010, Per Capita Energy Consumption was only a 2.9% decline from 2007 levels, less than what the reductions had been in previous years.  It’s predicted that there will be a similar regression in 2013 from the energy reductions gains made in 2012.  Current projections have Maryland falling short of its goal in 2015 with only a 9.7% reduction in Per Capita Energy Consumption.

Why is there a gap between Per Capita Peak Demand and Per Capita Energy Consumption?  It’s unclear since utility companies have programs designed to reduce both measures of energy consumption.  Utility companies are providing reward programs for consumers who use less energy during peak hours (Pepco) (BGE). Utility companies also have several programs to help their customers make their homes more energy efficient. These programs incentivize consumers to use more efficient appliances and fixtures, and to make homes more efficient at cooling and heating by sealing leaks and installing more insulation.

In future blogs we’ll be looking more in depth at what might be causing this growing gap between Per Capita Peak Demand and Per Capita Energy Consumption, but for now we just have our fingers crossed hoping that the 2013 numbers will come in better than expected!