Achievable Conservation Potential in British Columbia: a Review and Critique

John Nyboer, Alison Bailie


"We've set the boundaries. Now tell us what can actually be conserved!" That was the job description facing the consultant hired to complete Phase II of BC Hydro's review of conservation potential (Synergetic Resources Corporation, 1994a, 1994b). In 1991, a Collaborative Committee of 13 "stakeholders representing 34 organizations" initiated Phase I of the Conservation Potential Review. The objective? Establish the boundary - What is the estimated unconstrained technological, social and economic potential for electricity conservation in BC Hydro's service area? (BC Hydro is British Columbia's dominant electric utility.) Phase 1 analysis, completed by mid 1992, suggested an enormous technical opportunity for electricity conservation in all sectors industrial showed a 42% conservation potential, residential 76% and commercial 69% (compared to 1988 efficiency levels). The potential is large but what portion of that is attainable? And how would that be determined?

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