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Conservation Screening Curves to Compare Efficiency Investments to Power Plants: Applications to Commercial Sector Conservation Programs

Date Published: August 1, 1990     Document Type: Report, Research
Fuel Type:Electric, Gas Sectors: Commercial & Industrial, Research, Evaluation, & Behavior

This paper describes a simplified methodology to compare supply and demand-side resources. The screening curve approach supplements with load shape information the data contained in a supply curve of conserved energy. In addition, a screening curve contains information on competing supply technologies, such as annualized capital costs, variable costs, and cost per delivered kWh. The information in the screening curve allows policymakers to promptly and conveniently compare the relevant parameters affecting supply and demand-side investment decisions. While many sophisticated computer models have evolved to account for the load shape impacts of energy efficiency investments, this sophistication has, by and large, not trickled down to spreadsheet-level or "back-of-the-envelope" analyses. Our methodology allows a simple summary of load shape characteristics based on the output of the more complicated models. It offers many advantages, principal of which is clarity in analyzing supply and demand-side investment choices. This paper first describes how supply-side screening curves have been used in the past, and develops the conceptual tools needed to apply integrated supply/demand screening curves in the least-cost utility planning process. It then presents examples of supply-side technologies and commercial sector demand-side management programs, and plots them on representative screening curves