Energy Efficiency in the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009
Last Thursday, CNT hosted a press conference highlighting the benefits of energy efficiency provisions in the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES), also referred to as the Waxman-Markey Bill H.R. 2454, which passed the House of Representatives in June.
Discussions of ACES often focus on the proposed cap and trade program outlined in the bill, but the report released last week by Environment Illinois and the American Council for an Energy- Efficient Economy (ACEEE) makes clear that the benefits of the energy efficiency provisions are sizable and should not be overlooked.
The report finds that, in 2030, the energy efficiency policies from ACES can save American consumers an average of $486 per household, create over 600,000 jobs, reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 500 million metric tons (MMT) and avoid the need for 419 medium-sized power plants. In Illinois alone these policies would create 20,000 new jobs, save the average household $193 a year, and reduce annual carbon emissions by 9.7 million tons by 2020. Environment Illinois and ACEEE recommend policy improvements that would result in 48 percent more jobs and 32 percent more consumer savings than the efficiency measures in the House passed bill.
CNT is encouraged to see that various provisions in American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES) simultaneously address environmental and economic concerns of individuals and communities. As stated by Anthony Star, “We think it is important to look for strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that let us invest in consumers’ ability to be more energy efficient—reducing energy use, and therefore consumers energy costs, by 30% or more is feasible today and it creates a long term stimulus that helps households and communities in a tangible way.”
Provisions in this bill will lead to more support for individuals and businesses looking to reduce their energy use. In particular those that require utilities to obtain 20% of their energy through a combination of renewable energy and energy efficiency by 2020 and those that outline incentives for existing building retrofits. CNT’s Energy Savers program works with landlords of multifamily rental buildings in the Chicago metro area is a demonstration of that potential being realized.
Other provisions, namely those that codify Energy Efficient Mortgages and Location Efficient Mortgages, are important from an equity point of view. They help provide appropriate value for living in urban areas well served by public transit. The bill also requires that metropolitan plans for greenhouse gas reduction from travel; in effect, this adds CO2 to the air quality requirements for State and metropolitan area plans. To help understand the potential impact of this, you can take a look at CNT’s H + T index which now produces CO2 maps from transportation, we have 55 regions available now, 337 covering 80% of the US population will online by the end of September.
Thursday’s press conference included presentation by Brian Spranger of Environment Illinois, Anthony Star of CNT Energy and a representative of Heat and Frost Insulators Local 17.