Economic Analysis & Jobs
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.
Washington, D.C.—In response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s new proposal to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants, Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), made the following statement:
The Senate has returned to the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill it dropped last fall, and has resumed fighting over amendments to it. In the midst of the battles over Keystone XL, EPA, LNG, and ACA (or, for the uninitiated: an oil pipeline, pollution standards, natural gas exports, and the Affordable Care Act), it’s easy to forget that there is an energy efficiency bill in there that does not get much press attention or warrant a three-letter moniker. Why? Because nobody is fighting over it!
Energy efficiency is increasingly viewed as an essential element of community development, and is arguably becoming the most appreciated and integrated “green” topic in the field. For example, a growing number of state housing finance agencies actively encourage the inclusion of energy-efficient features in the properties in which they invest.
In the Winter Olympics that just concluded in Sochi we saw amazing examples of coordination and synchronization in event after event, from bobsled to ice hockey to pairs figure skating. Unfortunately, we seldom see this kind of cooperation on display these days in Congress. Too often it seems like every member is heading in a different direction, and the sled goes nowhere.
Portfolio of Policies and Programs Could Meet 13% of Electricity and 10% of Natural Gas Demand, Create 32,000 Jobs, and Generate $4.3 billion in Economic Growth by 2025