Energy leaders unveil plan to double US productivity by 2030

The Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy released a report last week with recommendations that would put the U.S. on a path towards doubling its energy productivity by 2030.

The commission, which is chaired by U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) and National Grid U.S. President Tom King, is a diverse coalition of energy leaders that includes representatives from energy utilities, academia, industry and environmental groups. Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), serves on the commission.

The commission found that a doubling of energy productivity (or obtaining twice as much output from the energy we use) would reduce U.S. carbon dioxide pollution down to four billion tons per year by 2030, which is 33 percent below 2005 levels. The full report is available at energy2030.org.

“The Alliance Commission’s recommendations are an innovative approach to greatly increasing our nation’s use of energy efficiency, which represents a huge -- and largely untapped -- opportunity,” said Fred Krupp. “Reducing wasted energy through efficiency is a true win-win solution that cuts harmful pollution and saves people money on their energy bills.”

The commission’s recommendations are wide-ranging, covering multiple sectors of the economy. The recommendations include: increased stringency of energy efficiency standards for buildings and appliances, creation of financing mechanisms that bring down the cost of energy efficiency projects, reform of utility regulatory policies to enable full use of cost-effective energy efficiency and greater support for research and development.

Achieving the commission’s goal of doubling energy productivity by 2030 would:

  • Add 1.3 million jobs;
  • Cut average household energy costs by more than $1,000 a year;
  • Save American businesses $169 billion a year;
  • Increase gross domestic product (GDP) by up to 2 percent;
  • Decrease energy imports by more than $100 billion a year; and
  • Reduce CO2 emissions by one-third.

EDF is particularly encouraged by the commission’s recommendations related to energy efficiency finance and smart grid policies, which are a high priority for EDF. The commission recommends that state and local governments work with utilities to create financing mechanisms, such as On-Bill Repayment (OBR) programs. OBR provides a new route to funding clean energy investments at attractive terms, relying solely on private third-party financing.

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