Energy efficiency will have to make the single most-important contribution if policymakers are serious about limiting greenhouse gas emissions and dampening growing demand for fossil fuels.
Energy efficiency will not remove the need to invest in large volumes of wind, solar and nuclear generation, or in technology for carbon capture and storage, but it does form the third leg of the triad.
In the United States, nowhere have efficiency initiatives been given higher prominence and become as deeply entrenched in the public policy process as in the state of California. In response to a series of power crises, the state has adopted some of the toughest standards anywhere in the world.
The 1974 Warren-Alquist Act, signed by then-governor Ronald Reagan, created the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, now renamed the California Energy Commission (CEC), with a mandate to develop minimum efficiency requirements for new construction and appliances.