Electricity bills don’t make for terribly exciting reading, but as boring as they may look, there is much more going on beneath the surface. Whereas the price most people pay for electricity remains steady from month to month, electricity costs can change dramatically from one hour to the next for the utilities that send the bills. For example, weather can cause demand to spike, raising prices as well, and suddenly the cost of the electricity is much different from the price we see on our bill.
In every state, across industries and technologies, millions of people work to save energy in the United States. To highlight this diverse and growing workforce, ACEEE is releasing today a multimedia project, People Who Save Energy. We tell the stories of some of these workers, who describe how energy efficiency changed their lives and those around them.
For all the talk that comes out of Washington, DC, about the importance of American manufacturing, the government does strikingly little about it. There is no Department of Manufacturing, for example. Fortunately, the Department of Energy has the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), which is slated for a 68% cut under the proposed 2018 budget.
The New York Times recently reported that the solar industry now employs more people than the coal industry. It made the point well by featuring the accompanying graphic, based on Department of Energy data that track employment in various energy sectors:
Washington, DC—Maryland could gain more than 68,000 new jobs and $3.75 billion in new gross domestic product as a result of investments to be made over the next 10 years through the EmPOWER Maryland energy efficiency program, according to a new study from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The study comes as the Maryland General Assembly debates bipartisan legislation to extend EmPOWER Maryland and establish new statewide energy efficiency goals.
As the US unemployment rate nears a 10-year low, some companies report trouble finding skilled workers. The problem is particularly pervasive, as new data show, in the energy efficiency sector.
More than 80% of employers in this sector report at least some difficulty finding qualified job applicants, and more than 40% indicate it’s “very difficult,” according to the Department of Energy’s second annual energy and employment report released this month.
As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office next week, he will be looking to make good on his campaign promise to create jobs and strengthen the economy. He needs look no further than energy efficiency. A new report shows it’s already supporting at least 1.9 million US jobs.
In the past year, a growing number of papers from economists have questioned the effectiveness of energy efficiency programs and policies. We have reviewed many of these studies and blogged about several of them (see here, here, here and here).
Even when the economy is doing well, economic growth and job creation always seem to be at the center of focus for policymakers at every level of government. So it’s only natural that when energy efficiency policies and programs are being discussed one of the questions that often comes is how will proposed initiatives affect jobs.
Some utilities are rushing to raise fixed charges. That would be bad for the economy and your utility bill
Slow growth in electricity demand (or, in some places, flat or declining sales) and growing numbers of customer photovoltaic systems are creating concern among utilities about their ability to adequately recover the costs associated with producing electricity. In response, there has been a disturbing trend around the country of utilities proposing to simply raise monthly “fixed charges,” or the charges we pay to the utility just for being a customer.