New Policy Can Shift America From No. 1 Rank in Global Energy Waste


Energy Waste

What is America’s newest leadership position? It’s energy waste.

In fact, we rank first among developed nations and, remarkably, among all nations, even China is more energy thrifty than the U.S.

Addressing this problem is a dedicated, diverse and bipartisan coalition of energy leaders, aligned through the Alliance to Save Energy, called the Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy. The commission has spent the past year analyzing opportunities to make our economic sectors more energy productive and recently released a plan, Energy 2030, outlining specific, actionable policy to invest, modernize and educate in order to double U.S. energy productivity by 2030.

Dramatically improving our energy efficiency is the shared goal of President Obama. In the State of the Union speech, when the president set a vision of cutting energy waste in half, he was helping to advance the Energy 2030 plan. The president also highlighted a new energy efficiency “Race to the Top” challenge for states, which is among the Energy 2030 recommendations.

A Closer Look at the Problem and Opportunity

Chronically low energy productivity – the level of output that our economy achieves from the energy we all consume – is costing U.S. businesses and households an estimated $130 billion per year.

But we don’t have to be the world’s top energy productivity slacker. Take a look at Massachusetts. Under the leadership of Gov. Deval Patrick, the state is ranked first by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and it’s leading to real consumer benefits. In 2012, in one small community program alone, families saved more than $10 million in electric and gas bills by providing personalized information, with neighborhood benchmarks and advice about how they can use less energy.

Only about half of U.S. states have implemented policies like Massachusetts. Within the Energy 2030 Plan is a national strategy to enable every state to realize its potential for energy productivity.

Our Commission projects big benefits from a national commitment to energy productivity; it could save $1,000 a year in net household energy costs, net more than a million new jobs, and cut both CO2 emissions and oil and gas imports by a third. This will also reduce the financial pressure on working families, improve our environmental health, make us a more competitive global economy, and accelerate our efforts to become more energy independent.

A great example of improving energy productivity is already taking shape on our roads: the Obama Administration issued rules last year that will more than double the U.S. auto fleet’s average fuel economy – to 54.5 miles per gallon – by 2025. This move, which was applauded by both automakers and environmentalists, will put money back in the pockets of families and businesses, freeing up those dollars to be spent elsewhere in the economy…

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