Economic Development Research Group Blog

The Case for Forward-Looking Energy Program Evaluations

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We need to make energy program evaluations more relevant for decision-making . Most   existing energy efficiency and renewable energy programs have been concerned with confirming the reasonableness of past investments and impacts on utility ratepayers. But there is also growing interest in evaluations of community programs and state public benefit programs, and they need to focus on learning lessons that we can use to make future choices about spending energy dollars. Looking forward, the questions that we can learn from public program evaluations are: (1) How can we most effectively spend public funds?  (2) How can we best design public programs to achieve desired economic and environmental outcomes?  and (3) How can we best prioritize choices among project and programs to maximize our return on investment?  Program evaluations today often fall short of fully addressing these questions. To make program evaluations most relevant, we need to make them forward-looking.  While...
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