Cleaning up on clean energy?
New Hampshire households would save an average of $377 per year and 2,900 sustainable jobs would be created in the state over the next 10 years if Congress includes strong energy-efficiency improvements in energy and climate legislation, according to a new study.
The study from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, “Energy Efficiency in the American Clean Energy Security Act of 2009: Impacts of Current Provisions and Opportunities to Enhance the Legislation,” was jointly released last month by the council and Environment New Hampshire, a nonprofit advocacy group.
According to the report, the efficiency provisions would prevent 3 million metric tons of global warming emissions in New Hampshire alone — the equivalent of removing the pollution from 550,000 cars from the road for a year.
The report found that if the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 is passed as is by the Senate — it was passed in the House in June — it would create 1,700 new jobs, save the average household $231 a year, and reduce annual carbon emissions by 1.6 million tons in New Hampshire by 2020.
But the report also called for more stringent restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions. Such changes, according to the report, would result in a nationwide reduction of 480 million metric tons of CO2 emissions by 2020, would generate more than 569,000 clean energy jobs nationwide and save the average household $283 per year.
The recommendations would result in 48 percent more jobs and 32 percent more consumer savings than the efficiency measures in the House-passed bill, according to the report.
“While the House bill is a critical first step in harnessing the power of energy efficiency, this report shows we can save even more money, create more jobs and reduce more pollution,” said Environment New Hampshire’s Program Associate Jessica O’Hare. “Senators Shaheen and Gregg should lead the fight for common sense energy efficiency policies and jump-start the transition to a clean energy economy.”
O’Hare said many New Hampshire business and homeowners are already making energy-efficiency improvements, such as retrofitting their homes with lighting and windows that reduce their energy costs.
She also said individuals, communities and the state as a whole would be able to maximize their energy-saving potential if they were backed by federal solutions, such as incentive programs.
“New Hampshirites know that energy efficiency is the cleanest, quickest, cheapest way of reducing our energy use and pollution,” said O’Hare. “These common-sense solutions will put cash back in our pockets and help protect the air we breathe, the water we drink and the future of the planet.”
She said the report should convince U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Judd Gregg to propose or support enhancements to the American Clean Energy and Security Act when it comes before the full Senate.
According to O’Hare, the enhancements include a strengthened energy efficiency resource standard, which would require utility companies to reduce their energy usage by at least 10 percent through providing incentives and assistance to help customers make their homes and businesses more energy-efficient. The House version of the Act would require at least a 5 percent reduction with an optional 3 percent more.
Jeff Feingold can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.