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DOE Reverses Another Light Bulb Efficiency Rule

DOE Reverses Another Light Bulb Efficiency Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced a final determination that the current standards for incandescent light bulbs do not need to be amended because the benefits of more stringent standards do not outweigh the cost to the American people. DOE’s analysis concluded that increasing the efficiency of incandescent lamps could cost consumers more than 300 percent compared to the price of today’s incandescent lamps.

“Today the Trump Administration chose to protect consumer choice by ensuring that the American people do not pay the price for unnecessary overregulation from the federal government,” said Secretary Brouillette.  “Innovation and technology are already driving progress, increasing the efficiency and affordability of light bulbs, without federal government intervention. The American people will continue to have a choice on how they light their homes.”

On September 5, 2019 DOE proposed a determination that the existing standards for general service incandescent lamps (GSILs) do not need to be amended. After considering data and a wide range of public comments, today DOE is announcing its final determination that the existing standards for GSILs will not be amended because stricter standards are not economically justified. For more information on the final determination please click HERE.

In accordance with the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), DOE is prohibited from prescribing an amended standard that will not result in significant conservation of energy, is not technologically feasible, or is not economically justified. To evaluate whether a standard is economically justified, DOE is required to determine whether the benefits of a standard exceed its burdens by considering seven statutory factors, including the economic impact on consumers and manufacturers, and the savings in operating costs compared to any price increase. DOE’s analysis determined that more stringent standards for GSILs would have increased the price of those light bulbs by 300 percent.  This increase is not economically justified because the bulbs do not last long enough for the energy savings to surpass the higher upfront price.

Due in part to more than a decade of innovative, early-stage research and development in energy-efficient lighting, the average cost of light-emitting diodes (LED) light bulbs has dropped by nearly 90% since 2008. Over that same period, total installations of home LEDs has increased from 100,000 to nearly 202 million.

DOE expects that progress to continue in the absence of more stringent standards for GSILs. Today, DOE released a new report entitled, “Energy Savings Forecast of Solid-State Lighting in General Illumination Applications,” which finds that due to continued technological innovation, LED bulbs and luminaires are anticipated to hold the vast majority of lighting installations by 2035, comprising 84% of all applications, up from 20% today and 1% in 2010. LED lighting already offers 1.1 quads of energy savings in 2017 (equivalent to the annual energy consumption of over 14 million average U.S. households), and if LED lighting installations continue at the current pace, a total annual energy savings of 4.8 quads is possible by 2035.

More information on the final determination announced today can be found HERE. More information on the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and its programs can be found HERE.

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    JOHN COCTOSTIN January 6, 2020 / 2:33 pm


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