Energy efficiency initiatives that reduce electricity and gas usage could save consumers and businesses up to $168 billion, says the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The report comes on the heels of the Campaign for an Energy-Efficient America: a group of business leaders, industry groups, and environmental advocates calling on Congress to enact a federal energy efficiency target.
“Energy efficiency is one of the most effective ways to address our nation’s energy and climate challenges while creating jobs and saving Americans money,” stated Steven Nadel, Executive Director of ACEEE. “In these difficult economic times, investment in energy efficiency makes more sense than ever and should be a top priority for our nation’s leaders.”
ACEEE’s report, Laying the Foundation for Implementing a Federal Energy Efficiency Resource Standard, analyzes both 2008 economic and energy data. If a federal energy efficiency resource standard (EERS) were adopted, one that demanded a electricity reduction of 15-percent and a natural gas reduction of 10-percent, 262 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions could be prevented. That is the equivalent of taking 48 million cars off the road for one year.
Other benefits include 220,000 net permanent jobs and 390 power plants that won’t need to be built.
The Campaign for an Energy-Efficient America supports a federal EERS, included in both House and Senate versions (H.R. 889 and S. 548) of the Save American Energy Act, introduced by Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY).
“As this coalition shows, the idea of a national energy efficiency standard draws support from a wide range of business and environmental groups in order to save money for consumers, create long-term jobs that cannot be outsourced, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Reid Detchon, Executive Director of the Energy Future Coalition, a nonpartisan public policy initiative that seeks to speed the transition to a new energy economy.
Currently 19 states have adopted individual EERS programs, but the real potential comes from a federal implementation. ACEEE analyzed the benefits of a federal EERS for each state by 2020. For example:
- Florida will create more than 19,500 new jobs and save $14 billion in energy costs.
- Illinois will create more than 6,500 new jobs and save $3.6 billion in energy costs.
- Indiana will create more than 5,000 new jobs and save $3.6 billion in energy costs.
- North Carolina will create nearly 6,500 new jobs and save $3 billion in energy costs.
- Tennessee will create more than 5,000 new jobs and save $3.5 billion on energy costs.
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