Washington, D.C. — Last night President Obama talked about the importance of clean energy in creating jobs and a strong economy for the future. His central energy proposal was a clean energy standard that would double the proportion of our electricity that comes from clean energy by 2035. He listed a variety of clean energy resources, but not our cheapest clean energy resource — energy efficiency.
A 2009 study by ACEEE on utility efficiency programs in 14 states found that energy efficiency costs utilities an average of 2.5 cents per kWh, far less than the clean energy sources the President listed, which generally cost 8 to 14 cents per kWh for new plants. Including energy efficiency explicitly as one of the eligible clean energy sources would dramatically reduce the cost of achieving a clean energy standard. Senators Lugar and Graham have both sponsored clean energy standards legislation that includes energy efficiency.
We hope that the President’s omission was just an oversight since we know that President Obama is a strong supporter of energy efficiency. For example, today he will be visiting Orion Lighting Systems in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Orion manufactures high-efficiency lighting systems, employing more than 250 people in a facility that used to produce pots and pans before that business closed.