News

Climate Bill Saves Money With Efficiency, Report Says

Sep 09 - The
Charleston Gazette, W.Va. -

> Energy-efficiency provisions of the climate change bill working
> its way through Congress could save the average West Virginia
> household
> $237 per
> year and create 1,900 new jobs statewide by 2020, according to a
> report issued Wednesday.
>
> The savings would increase to $521 per year and 2,700 new jobs by
> 2030, according to the report issued by the American Council for an
> Energy-Efficient Economy and the group Environment America.
>
> If the Senate were to strengthen the energy efficiency language,
> the savings would jump to $288 per year and 2,900 new jobs, according
> to the report.
>
> These provisions also would prevent 6 million metric tons of
> global warming emissions, the equivalent of removing 1 million cars
> from the road for a year.
>
> Among other things, the bill requires utilities to by 2020 obtain
> 20 percent of their energy from a combination of renewable sources and
> efficiency improvements. Energy efficiency is allowed to meet up to 8
> percent of the 20 percent goal.
>
> Other provisions are designed to improve energy savings
> associated with building codes and retrofits, as well as appliance
> efficiency standards and better efficiency in the transportation and
> industry sectors.
>
> "Americans know that energy efficiency is the cleanest, quickest,
> cheapest way of reducing our energy use and pollution," said Alison
> Adams, preservation associate at Environment America. "These common
> sense solutions will put cash back in our pockets and help protect the
> air we breathe, the water we drink and the future of the planet."
>
> The report was released as coal industry officials and the West
> Virginia Chamber of Commerce gear up their campaign against the carbon
> dioxide "cap-and-trade" provisions of the American Clean Energy and
> Security Act.
>
> All three of West Virginia's members of Congress voted against
> the bill when it passed the House of Representatives. Sens. Robert C.
> Byrd and
> Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va., have also expressed serious
> reservations about the legislation.
>
> "Energy efficiency may not be as hot a topic as cap-and-trade,
> but it certainly gets the job done when it comes to saving consumers
> money and creating jobs," said Steven Nadel, ACEEE's executive
> director and co- author of the report. "As our report shows, the
> Senate can boost those benefits by improving the energy efficiency
> provisions in the Waxman-Markey bill."
>
> The study did not consider the impact on consumers of the
> cap-and-trade provisions, but its authors said the energy efficiency
> savings "would more than offset" costs projected by the U.S.
> Environmental Protection Agency.
>
> "Energy efficiency policies offer a critical opportunity to
> offset increased energy costs that could result from the cap-and-trade
> provisions in the bill," the report said. "When compared to
> traditional generation sources, energy efficiency is the least-cost
> energy resource available today. Moreover, it offers the potential to
> create new jobs, support economic growth at both the national and
> state level, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions."
>
> Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kward@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.
>