In a letter sent to Sen. Harry Reid today, a group of 57 businesses, trade associations and environmental organizations including Best Buy, eBay, Gap Inc, and Johnson Controls called on the Senate to pass an Energy Efficiency Resource Standard for utilities as part of the climate and energy legislation.
The letter, delivered to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, July 21, urges Congress to grab the “low-hanging fruit” of energy efficiency. The groups call for a reduction in energy usage by 1 percent per year, ramping up over time, calling such a standard critical to cutting carbon emissions and creating jobs.
The group says that a stand-alone Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS) for utilities, which it says could be met by incentives to invest in efficiency upgrades, has the potential to create up to 900,000 new jobs.
It also said an EERS could save the country over $100 billion in energy costs by 2020, with individuals and businesses seeing energy bills drop by more than 30 percent.
Existing Senate bills include efficiency provisions, but the group argues that none come close to delivering 1 percent energy savings per year. Twenty states already have a standard of at least that much.
According to the letter, “a 1 percent per year standard alone would avoid about 215 million metric tons (MMT) of carbon dioxide in the year 2020 and 306 MMT in 2030, including savings from existing state EERS that also could be used to meet a federal program. These avoided emissions amount to approximately 9 percent of electric-sector 2005 emissions by 2020 and 13 percent by 2030.”
The letter also stated that adopting new energy efficiency regulations could reduce the nation’s energy bill to $1.2 trillion by 2020, with businesses saving 30 percent on their energy costs.
Meanwhile, the Energy Information Administration found the current Senate climate bill, which aims to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 17 percent from the 2005 level by 2020, could cut U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) by $452 billion or 0.2 percent, and cost the average household $206 annually from 2013 to 2035. A consortium of manufacturers has also asked the administration to set new rules requiring utilities to buy power from cogeneration plants.