States are increasingly taking action to help consumers and businesses reduce their energy use and costs and promote economic development through energy efficiency. In this testimony I will
- discuss the favorable economics of energy efficiency investments;
- provide some specific examples of how states are encouraging energy efficiency, particularly in several of the states whose rankings are most improved in ACEEE’s annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard;
- discuss the link between energy efficiency and economic development, with examples from specific studies on California, the Northeast, and Ohio; and
- summarize opportunities to use energy efficiency to create jobs and economic development in each of the states.
I conclude that there are large opportunities for cost-effective energy efficiency investments, investments that can aid economic development by
- creating direct jobs from manufacturing and installing energy efficiency measures;
- reducing energy bills for consumers and businesses as energy use declines;
- suppressing prices in wholesale energy markets as the law of supply and demand affects these markets; and
- creating indirect and induced jobs as these direct impacts ripple through the economy, particularly as consumers and businesses spend money they have saved on energy bills.
All states can benefit from these economic development impacts, with job gains of more than 600,000 possible nationally, not to mention nearly $50 billion in net economic benefits, both by 2030. More and more states are recognizing these benefits, as illustrated by Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The federal government can help and encourage states through such actions as best-practice guides and technical assistance.