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National Standard for Energy Efficiency Can Save Nearly $170 Billion, Study Finds

March 2009 - Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency initiatives that reward consumers and businesses for reducing electricity and gas usage could result in utility bill savings of $168.6 billion, according to a new report.

The study released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) states that the number is 16 percent higher than ACEEE’s previous savings estimate of $144 billion and is based on updated data.

 The organization released its new economic analysis as business leaders, industry groups, and environmental advocates launched the Campaign for an Energy-Efficient America, a coalition calling on Congress to enact a federal energy efficiency target.

“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,” says 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.

ACEEE’s report analyzes 2008 economic and energy data and estimates benefits of a federal energy efficiency resource standard (EERS) requiring utilities to reduce electricity demand by 15 percent and natural gas demand by 10 percent by 2020. The report noted the significant benefits of energy savings achieved by the proposed federal EERS, including:

• 222,000 net permanent, high quality jobs in construction, manufacturing, and other fields;
• 262 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions prevented - the equivalent of taking 48 million cars of the roads for one year; and
• 390 power plants that won’t need to be built.

“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,” says 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.”

The Campaign for an Energy-Efficient America supports a federal EERS, a target that would require utilities to reduce electricity demand by 15 percent and natural gas demand by 10 percent by 2020. This EERS is 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).

“Implementing a strong energy efficiency standard for utilities will lead to much needed additional investments in our built environment, increasing the asset value of commercial and residential buildings alike across the country,” says Brenna Walraven, Managing Director, National Property Management, USAA Real Estate Company. “Enhanced energy efficiency will improve the bottom line of American businesses and drive financial value for countless users of electricity.”

Nineteen states have adopted individual EERS programs, but Americans cannot realize the full potential for energy efficiency without a federal program to enhance states’ efforts.  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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