If you were choosing an investment strategy, you’d probably choose the option that would double your money, right? Now, what if that same investment could create millions of jobs and reduce carbon emissions?
Turns out America has this kind of an investment opportunity ready to go, according to the Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy’s Energy 2030 recommendations. The ambitious action agenda, released yesterday, aims to double US energy productivity by 2030 while boosting the economy and cutting emissions through energy efficiency measures.
If enacted, the aggressive blueprint outlines steps for policymakers at the federal, state, and local level that could save $327 billion annually by 2030 across the nation’s buildings, transportation sector, and industrial economy.
The bipartisan commission was created in 2012 by the Alliance to Save Energy. It defines energy productivity as the level of economic output divided by the energy used to create that output. While doubling energy productivity will require an additional $166 billion per year, the benefits would be significant and widespread.
National Economic & Environmental Impacts
At a national level, the Energy 2030 outlook could create 1.3 million clean energy jobs, boost gross domestic product by up to 2%, and save America $327 billion annually by 2030 – $97 billion in buildings, $139 billion in transportation, and $94 billion in industry.
In addition, our country would become much cleaner and safer. Under the plan, emissions would fall 22% by 2020 and 33% by 2030 (compared to 2005 levels) while reducing energy imports by over $100 billion.
While the plan would benefit the US as a whole, it would also create trickle-down effects. The average American household would reduce annual energy spending by $1,039 per year – roughly half the $2,200 Americans spend on their annual energy bill today, or the same as each family spends on medicine and produce combined.
Big Potential, But Significant Requirements
These economic impacts would also create additional momentum and could capitalize on more than $1 trillion in energy-saving opportunities while driving new economic growth. “The solutions will drive innovation and new technologies forward, improving and modernizing US infrastructure,” said Tom King, commission co-chair and US President of National Grid.
Energy 2030 outlines the tremendous economic potential of energy efficiency, but it also highlights the significant steps required by policymakers. Recommendations are organized into three groups: investments in efficiency, modernization of regulations and infrastructure, and consumer education.
A bitter partisan divide in Congress has largely ground progress on any energy or environmental issue to a halt. But Energy 2030 could seize upon rumors that energy efficiency is the one topic that both Democrats and Republicans could support. “This is an issue we can get done,” said US Senator Mark Warner, a commission co-chair.
You can learn more about the Energy 2030 commission’s recommendations by checking out this short video: