Energy 2030 outlines steps to double US energy productivity by 2030; spend $166B a year to net savings of $327B
7 February 2013
The Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy released a set of recommendations—Energy 2030—designed to double US energy productivity by 2030. The Commission was created in 2012 to identify solutions for increasing US energy productivity and aid in jumpstarting the economy.
To achieve the Commission’s goal of doubling energy productivity by 2030 with currently available technology and design practices, households, businesses, and federal, state, and local governments will need to invest about an additional $166 billion a year (in real 2010 US dollars) in building improvements, energy efficient vehicles and industrial equipment, and energy saving transportation systems, according to the report. This investment would both reduce the amount of energy needed to run the American economy and the price of energy for US consumers, lowering overall energy costs by some $494 billion a year, according to the analysis.
Net of investment costs, annual savings to American households, businesses, and government agencies would total about $327 billion, and economic growth and energy demand would be decoupled, the Commission said. Capturing the benefits of profitable efficiency investments in buildings, industry, and transportation could increase US economic output by as much as 2% in 2030.
Further, if the Commission’s goal is achieved, US CO2 emissions would decline to 4.65 billion tons by 2020, 22% below 2005 levels, and to 4 billion tons, or 33% below 2005 levels, by 2030.
The Commission includes members from the power sector, environmental groups, the financial community, manufacturing, transportation and government. Based on the findings from supporting research reports, the Commission developed this set of unanimous policy recommendations—Energy 2030—for federal, state, and local governments as well as the private sector, with the intention of doubling energy productivity by 2030.
The Commission selected the recommendations based on an assessment of their potential impact, their political viability, and their implementability. Because energy productivity decisions are made by everyone, most of the recommendations cut across economic sectors. As many of the recommendations seek national harmonization and state or local implementation, the federal, state, and local recommendations often are intertwined, the Commission noted.
The recommendations are organized under three overarching strategies:
Invest in energy productivity throughout the economy. More than $1 trillion in cost-effective energy savings opportunities are available in the United States, but achieving the savings will require the investment of hundreds of billions of dollars, the report notes.
Modernize regulations and infrastructure to improve energy productivity.
Educate and engage consumers, workers, business executives, and government leaders on ways to drive energy productivity gains.
Specific recommendations under the invest strategy include:
Make more capital available by enabling institutional investors to buy energy efficiency financial obligations on a large scale using securities based on uniform contract structures and better performance data.
Establish state and local programs for financing of efficiency measures, which may use repayment on utility bills or on property tax bills (the capital could be provided by institutional investors).
Consider household energy and transportation costs when underwriting mortgages to allow for larger or more attractive loans for homes with lower monthly costs.
Reform federal energy efficiency tax incentives so that they focus on high efficiency technologies and measures and on promoting innovation and market transformation.
Adjust commercial and industrial depreciation schedules to encourage investments that can boost energy productivity.
Increase federal investment in basic and applied research, development, demonstration, deployment, and technical assistance.
Apply innovative best practices to government buildings and vehicle fleets.
Make all cost-effective efficiency improvements to federal buildings, using private financing and public funds
Modernization recommendations include:
Incentivize innovation and adoption of best practices by state and local governments based on energy productivity improvements, investments, and regulatory reform. States would receive technical assistance and funding based upon policy and regulatory reforms like those recommended in this report on building energy codes and disclosure, efficiency programs and financing, utility reform, and transportation planning and investments.
Steadily and aggressively increase the stringency of building energy codes, with quick adoption and effective compliance measures.
End current delays and update federal appliance and equipment, vehicle, and manufactured housing efficiency standards to maximum technologically feasible and economically justified levels.
Adopt utility policies that make full use of all cost-effective demand-side management (end-use energy efficiency and demand response) as a resource. Such state-level policies may include broad and targeted savings goals, financial incentives for utilities, time-variant customer rates, fair treatment of combined heat and power and other distributed resources, and harmonized program evaluation.
Advance regional and local transportation and land use plans that promote energy productivity by improving access to work, services, school, and play, and by increasing transportation options including safe walking, biking and public transportation. Provide funding and technical assistance to enable efficient development patterns and transportation infrastructure that is consistent with the regional and local plans.
Use energy efficiency as an emissions reduction strategy in environmental regulations.
Ensure major government and regulated infrastructure spending on energy grids, transportation infrastructure, and water and waste systems increases energy productivity.
Recommendations under the education strategy include:
Develop effective building energy ratings, benchmarks, and disclosure methods for commercial and residential buildings; require periodic disclosure in commercial buildings and disclosure at time of sale or rental in residential buildings; and incorporate the information in building appraisals and real estate listings.
Enable customers and third parties authorized by the customers to access their energy usage data, while ensuring customer privacy.
Develop harmonized energy use labels with discrete ratings for appliances and vehicles that are coordinated with building energy labels.
Effectively manage corporate energy use and report on energy productivity as part of corporate sustainability reporting.
Develop school and university curricula on energy use and productivity, conduct consumer campaigns, develop technical certifications, and provide related workforce training and continuing education.
The Alliance will collaborate with its 13 Honorary Congressional Vice Chairs to develop legislative proposals at the national level. Commission members will also discuss the recommendations with Obama Administration leaders. Efforts to advance recommendations across the country at the local and state levels are to begin immediately.
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