WASHINGTON — A new study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and Energy and Environmental Analysis Inc. states that aggressive programs to encourage energy efficiency and renewable energy could reduce the demand for natural gas enough to cause a 10 to 20 percent drop in wholesale natural gas prices.

The study, commissioned by the Energy Foundation, developed estimates of the near-term and mid-term potential of implementing energy efficiency measures and renewable energy in each of the 48 contiguous states. Those estimates yielded a potential to reduce U.S. natural gas consumption by 1.1 percent within a year using energy efficiency, and a potential to reduce U.S. natural gas consumption by 5.5 percent by 2008 using a combination of energy efficiency and renewable energy.

By easing supply constraints, these reductions in demand could yield significant price reductions, according to the report.

"This study shows that we can quickly reduce wholesale natural gas prices 10-20 percent and save consumers over $75 billion in the next five years, " stated David Wooley, vice president of the Energy Foundation. "The fastest, surest way to give gas and electricity consumers relief from spiking energy prices is to enact state and federal policies to expand renewable power generation and to help consumers install more efficient electric and gas appliances, heating, and cooling systems."

For a summary of the key findings or a copy of the complete report, visit www.aceee.org/energy/efnatgas-study.htm.

Publication date: 09/15/2003