Washington, D.C. — A new report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) concludes that energy efficiency can contribute to the growth of state economies, and, by extension, to the United States as a whole.
The report, Positive Returns: State Energy-Efficiency Analyses Can Inform U.S. Energy Policy Assessments, concludes from a review of 48 state- and regional-level efficiency potential studies, performed over the last 15 years, that energy efficiency will result in a small but net positive benefit for the American economy as a result of policies that emphasize investment-led energy efficiency improvements. These studies can inform the direction the United States must take to ensure viable energy security and climate change solutions.
Currently, national-level energy policy assessments lack a robust representation of the many cost-effective contributions of energy efficiency measures. Despite strong evidence of energy efficiency's role in achieving energy savings, many economists and policy analysts overlook this critical resource. Yet, energy efficiency must help provide the foundation for addressing climate change if national policymakers are to create climate change policies with assurance that there will be continued economic growth and job creation.
"Energy efficiency can provide a significantly large contribution toward stabilizing energy prices and limiting emissions of greenhouse gases," said John A. "Skip" Laitner, ACEEE Director of Economic Analysis and lead author of the new report. "It is important for policymakers to realize both the scale of this opportunity and the positive economic benefits provided by an emphasis on greater energy productivity."
However, most national energy modeling assessments fail to highlight energy efficiency's contribution. Therefore, such assessments tend to overstate the costs associated with energy and climate change policies. By offering a review of studies that utilize energy efficiency within their analyses, this report highlights the future direction that national-level policy assessments should take. If the energy efficiency resource were properly characterized and represented within the national level economic models, the estimated costs of energy and climate change policy would fall, while the benefits, net job creation, and savings for consumers, would rise.
"As it becomes more apparent that climate change legislation must be enacted, it is critically important for policymakers to be informed about energy efficiency's contribution to the solution," stated ACEEE Researcher Vanessa McKinney, co-author of the report. "It is very clear that policymakers are not getting the full picture when energy efficiency's potential is omitted from policy assessments."
Key findings of the report include:
"This analysis clearly indicates that energy efficiency offers the potential to grow the economy and jobs, not harm them," said ACEEE Executive Director, Steven Nadel. "As a result, energy efficiency investments are probably the best, first strategy for minimizing the costs of climate policies at both the state and federal levels."
Positive Returns: State Energy-Efficiency Analyses Can Inform U.S. Energy Policy Assessments can be downloaded for free at www.aceee.org/pubs/e084.htm or purchased for $25 plus $5 postage and handling from ACEEE Publications, 529 14th Street, N.W., Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20045, phone: 202-507-4000, fax: 202-429-2248, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.