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Energy End-Use Efficiency

U.S. energy intensity has lately fallen by 2.5% per year, due to improved efficiency, outpacing the growth of any fossil or nuclear source. Yet the impacts of energy efficiency have gained little attention. Since official statistics focus 99% on physical energy supply, only the fifth of the 1996-2005 increase in U.S. energy services that came from supply was visible to investors and policymakers, the four-fifths saved was not. This matters if known that the 46% drop in U.S. energy intensity during 1975-2005 represented by 2005 an effective energy "source"‌ 2.1 times larger than U.S. oil consumption, 3.4 times larger than net oil imports, 6 times larger than net oil imports from OPEC countries, and 13 times larger than net imports from Persian Gulf countries. Increasing energy end-use efficiency is thus the largest, least expensive, most benign, most quickly deployable, least visible, least understood, and most neglected way to provide energy services. Amory Lovins discusses the reasons behind this dilemma and offers a set of theoretical and policy principles to address it around the globe.
Rocky Mountain Institute
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