EPA's New Emissions Cutting Plan Could Have an Effect on LED Lighting

On June 2nd, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a rule designed to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal plants by as much as 30 percent by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. The EPA will finalize the proposal in mid-2015 and then give states a year to design their own plans to meet targets. The organization will let states meet emission targets for power plants in several ways, including through plant upgrades, by switching from coal to natural gas, by improving energy efficiency, or by promoting renewable energy outside the plant site. This approach will give states greater flexibility in designing plans to meet the EPA’s targets.

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On June 2nd, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a rule designed to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal plants by as much as 30 percent by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. The EPA will finalize the proposal in mid-2015 and then give states a year to design their own plans to meet targets. The organization will let states meet emission targets for power plants in several ways, including through plant upgrades, by switching from coal to natural gas, by improving energy efficiency, or by promoting renewable energy outside the plant site. This approach will give states greater flexibility in designing plans to meet the EPA’s targets.

Certain states may elect to improve energy efficiency rather than upgrade current electrical plants, and lighting would be some of the low-hanging fruit for these improvements. We can take A-lamps as an example. From DOE numbers and internal Strategies Unlimited calculations, we can assume:

  • 52 sockets in the average American household * 113 million homes = 5.876 billion lamps
  • 55% A-lamps = 3.257 billion A-lamps
  • 61% A-lamps are incandescent = 1.976 billion
  • Average Wattage = 50W
  • Average usage = 1.8 hours a day
  • Total kWh/year = (50W*1.976 billion lamps)/1000 = 98,800,000 kW * 1.8 hours/day = 178 million kWh/day * 365 days = 65 billion kWh/year.

65 billion kWh is approximately 35% of the 186 billion kWh consumed by US homes for lighting (which accounts for 14% of all electricity consumed by residences), according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=96&t=3

If all these lamps were replaced by LED lamps (11W avg.), electricity consumption would theoretically decrease 78% to 14.2 billion kWh/year.

There are several price point milestones that are important to the increase of LED A-lamp sales for the general consumer in the U.S. market. The first was $10, which was reached in 2013/2014, but the more important one of $5-$6 has yet to hit the mainstream market (certain states like CA already offer great incentives for Energy Star certified programs). If more states and utilities choose to increase their rebates for these lamps, decreasing the ASP of these lamps, we should see a pushed up timeline for the increased penetration of LED products.

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