Energy Efficiency Can Create New Jobs, Save Consumers Billions of Dollars, and Meet Nearly One-Quarter of North Carolina's Energy Demand

March 18, 2010

Media Contact(s):

Maggie Molina, 202-507-4004, Senior Director for Policy
R. Neal Elliott, 202-507-4009, Senior Director for Research
Shruti Vaidyanathan, 202-507-4021, Senior Advisor for Research

Morrisville, North Carolina — Energy efficiency can create 38,000 new jobs for North Carolinians while saving consumers $3.6 billion in energy bills, according to a new report released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The report, North Carolina’s Energy Future: Electricity, Water, and Transportation Efficiency, suggests a broad set of policies that can meet nearly a quarter of the state’s energy demand and enables North Carolina to become a national leader in clean energy development and deployment while boosting the state’s economic growth.

ACEEE’s suggested policy recommendations include:

  • Energy Efficiency Resource Standard: Set a statewide goal for long-term energy savings to spur the creation of programs and incentives for residents and businesses to make energy-saving improvements to homes, offices, and industrial facilities, lowering utility bills and creating local jobs in the energy efficiency, clean tech, smart manufacturing, building retrofit, and retail sectors.
  • Livable Communities to Reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT): Invest transportation dollars in a robust multi-modal transit system to encourage the growth of compact, transit-oriented communities and reduce statewide vehicle miles traveled.
  • Clean Energy Innovation Hub: Enhance the state’s position as a global leader in technological innovation by facilitating greater collaboration among North Carolina’s clean energy industry leaders, universities, research facilities, and policymakers to boost clean energy innovation, business development, and leadership in the state.

ACEEE researchers were joined by Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton, State Senator Josh Stein, and State Representative Pricey Harrison, as well as regional governmental and business leaders, to offer support for the goals outlined in the report, which was released at an event held at Southern Energy Management’s headquarters in Morrisville.

In presenting the report’s findings, R. Neal Elliott, Associate Director of Research at ACEEE, said: “North Carolina is one of the most rapidly growing states in the nation. Making homes and businesses plus water and transportation systems more energy efficient is the cheapest and most reliable way to meet the state’s growing energy needs and create a secure energy future.”

In his remarks, Lt. Governor Dalton said: “North Carolina has the potential to be a leader in creating green jobs by investing in energy efficiency initiatives. From the Wright brothers onward, the people of this state have a proven track record as innovators, entrepreneurs, and technological revolutionaries. I’m excited to see how the people of this state can tap into the latest energy technology to keep our state competitive in today’s global economy.”

“North Carolina has taken several initial steps towards improving energy efficiency,” said Chris James, Vice President for Business Development at Cree, a LED lighting innovator located in the Triangle. “However, as this ACEEE report suggests, aggressive actions by the state can establish North Carolina as a leader in energy efficiency, creating lasting jobs and saving money for the citizens. At Cree, we know first hand how energy efficiency can create jobs and drive business success.”

Senator Stein, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Economic Recovery and the Senate Select Committee on Energy, Science and Technology, noted: “If we make smart investments in energy efficiency today, we can create tens of thousands of jobs and save consumers a billion dollars in power and water bills over the next fifteen years. Improving energy efficiency is critical to North Carolina's future."

Representative Harrison, Vice Chair of the House Energy and Energy Efficiency Committee, praised the analysis, saying: “The roadmap to greater energy efficiency that ACEEE has provided in this report will serve North Carolina’s energy policy decision-makers well.”

Recognizing the broad nature of the report’s scope, David King, CEO of Triangle Transit, said: “I am very pleased that the ACEEE report prominently features land-use policy as a principle energy-saving opportunity. This finding should elevate the regional discussion of the role that rail transit can play in focusing growth around transit stations, lowering vehicle miles travelled per household throughout the region.”

Maria Kingery, Co-Founder of Southern Energy Management and the host for today’s event, said, “This is not revolutionary stuff we're talking about here, it's just plain common sense. In North Carolina alone, if we continue supporting policies that boost energy efficiency we can save more than $3 billion in energy costs, put more people to work in jobs that can't be outsourced, and strengthen our state as a national leader in the clean energy industry. It is important that our state leaders continue working to support initiatives that improve the energy efficiency of our homes, businesses, and water and transportation systems to build a strong foundation for a more sustainable energy future.”

“North Carolina is poised to be become a leader in energy efficiency,” said Maggie Eldridge, ACEEE’s lead researcher for the report. “Adoption of the energy efficiency policies suggested in this report would put the state on the path to greater economic, energy, and environmental sustainability. Changing the state’s energy path can create more livable communities that will be able to accommodate the expected population boom over the next 15 years. Efficiency will allow North Carolina to maintain the vibrant economy and quality of life that have characterized the state over the past half century.”

ACEEE will also present its findings to the North Carolina Energy Policy Council at its meeting in Raleigh later today.

The full report, North Carolina’s Energy Future: Electricity, Water, and Transportation Efficiency, is available for free download here or a hard copy can be purchased for $60 plus $5 postage and handling from ACEEE Publications, 529 14th Street N.W., Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20045, phone 202-507-4017.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting economic prosperity, energy security, and environmental protection. 2010 marks ACEEE’s 30th anniversary as an organization. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, visit aceee.org.