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Energy Efficiency as the "Fifth Fuel"

Real-Time Electric MeterEnergy is the lifeline of our economy, and Duke Energy’s core business is meeting the electricity and gas needs of its customers. According to U.S. Department of Energy statistics, electricity demand is expected to increase by approximately 35 percent by 2030, even higher in fast growing regions like the Carolinas.

The traditional answer to rising electricity demand has been to increase supply – to build more power plants fueled by coal, natural gas, nuclear and renewables. We believe that energy efficiency can play an important role in reducing customer demand – becoming the “fifth fuel.” And, because the cleanest power plant is the one that is never built, we believe that energy efficiency is the greatest untapped resource in reducing greenhouse gases in the near term.

Of course, energy efficiency isn’t a new idea. Utilities have offered demandside programs for years – with varied results. In 2007, Duke Energy worked with a number of stakeholders and industry peers to develop a different model – the save-a-watt model – so that energy efficiency can become an important bridge to a low-carbon future.