May 21, 2012

Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Bill Will Save Consumers $60 Billion, Help Businesses Create 159,000 Jobs

Bipartisan legislation would also cut emissions by equivalent of 21 million cars, according to new study

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – A new study has calculated that bipartisan energy-efficiency legislation from U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) could save consumers $60 billion by 2030, help businesses add 159,000 jobs to the economy and cut carbon-dioxide emissions by the equivalent of taking 21 million cars off the road.

The study released today by economists and policy experts at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) says homeowners and businesses will see a 3-to-1 return on investments made possible by Shaheen and Portman’s Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S. 1000), which would establish an energy efficiency strategy to increase the use of existing energy efficiency technologies in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors of our economy. The bill passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in September with strong bipartisan support by a vote of 18 to 3.

“This study reaffirms what I have heard from many business owners across New Hampshire: energy efficiency works,” Shaheen said. “It cuts costs, it makes businesses more competitive and it is reliable. It uses proven technologies that are available now. Passing legislation that encourages efficiency and reduces barriers for investment in efficiency upgrades can have a real impact on our economy in a very cost-effective way.”

“This study demonstrates that S. 1000 will go a long way toward making America more energy efficient,” said Portman. “Not only does it improve our nation’s energy infrastructure and energy independence, but it will encourage job growth and create jobs. Our legislation has garnered the support of more than 175 businesses and efficiency advocates.  Support on the Hill is both bipartisan and bicameral. I urge Senate leaders to take it up this summer.”

"Senators Shaheen and Portman's legislation represents an important opportunity to strengthen our economy by tapping into the cheapest and cleanest energy resource available – energy efficiency,” said ACEEE Director of Policy Suzanne Watson. “The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's analysis shows this legislation if implemented will create jobs, reduce energy costs to consumers and support a more robust economy."

Among the study’s findings:

  • Consumers would save a net $4 billion a year by 2020 and $20 billion a year by 2030 in reduced energy costs. Cumulative net savings for consumers would total $60 billion by 2030.
  • Businesses would add a net total of 80,000 jobs by 2020 and 159,000 jobs by 2030. Job growth would occur through a combination of direct jobs in construction and manufacturing fields such as air conditioning manufacturers, indirect jobs such as equipment wholesalers and induced jobs as newly hired workers spend their earnings back into the economy.
  • Reducing demand for electricity would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by coal-fired power plants and other power sources by 29 million metric tons per year by 2020 and 108 million metric tons per year by 2030. Cutting CO2 by 108 million metric tons is the equivalent of keeping 21 million cars off the road, according to the U.S. EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.

The full study can be read on ACEEE’s website here. The study assumes only $600 million in spending under the bill, which is less than the authorized amount. The legislation offsets new spending by reducing authorized spending on energy programs in other areas. Shaheen and Portman have committed to amending the bill as necessary to ensure it does not add a single dollar to the deficit.

The study also analyzes the economic and environmental impact of new consensus standards on some home appliances. Those standards were part of S.1000 as originally drafted but have since been removed from the bill and passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as separate legislation.

Introduced in May 2011, Shaheen-Portman has garnered national support from more than 175 businesses, trade associations and efficiency advocates. The nation’s largest business and industrial trade groups – the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers – have endorsed the bill and recently joined Shaheen and Portman in calling on Senate leadership to bring the bill to the floor for a vote this year.

Representatives Charles Bass (R-New Hampshire) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah) have introduced similar legislation, the Smart Energy Act, in the House of Representatives.

You can read more about Shaheen-Portman on Senator Shaheen’s website here and on Senator Portman’s website here.