Buried in the reporting on the Tennessee Valley Authority's announcement that it will close 8 coal-fired power plants was the fact that electricity demand in the region has fallen 9% since 2008.
A decline in electricity demand of 9% in the TVA region is astonishing! And that demand decline is as responsible as any other factor in the TVA decision to close generating capacity.
Falling demand is putting substantial downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices that is in turn pushing the least efficient or highest production cost generators to the financial edge. Falling demand is a product of numerous energy efficiency successes rooted in both better technology, processes, and policies financing energy reduction initiatives.
Falling demand also is reflecting the large amount of distributed solar in some regions. Distributed solar reveals itself not as new generation capacity but as less electricity demand at a home or business.
Despite the critical role of declining or flat electricity demand in reshaping energy markets, little attention is being paid to energy efficiency and the demand side of energy markets.