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“The energy efficiency programs in these proposals would create jobs because energy efficiency improvements are labor intensive and net job creators. These programs would produce more construction and service-sector jobs than those energy sector jobs lost from reduced energy consumption,” said Steven Nadel, ACEEE executive director. “In addition, these programs would continue creating small numbers of jobs even after the stimulus period is over, because energy bill savings enable consumers and businesses to spend that money elsewhere in the economy.”
The Home Star program, also known as “Cash for Caulkers,” would provide rebates for energy efficiency improvements to homeowners. Customers would receive rebates for up to 50 percent of the project (or $1,500 per retrofit), or could upgrade a whole home with 20 percent energy savings for a $3,000 credit. In addition to reducing energy use and saving consumers money on their energy bills, ACEEE estimates that this program would create about 126,000 jobs in 2010 and then 36,000 jobs in 2011, improving up to 3 million homes at a cost of $6 billion dollars.
Commercial retrofits, also with significant potential as job creators, include the Building Star program introduced in legislation by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.). This program, estimated to create 130,000 jobs in 2010 and then 57,000 jobs in 2011, would offer businesses rebates for up to 30 percent of the cost of improvements to lighting, insulation, and energy management for commercial buildings.
The third proposal would provide $4 billion in grants to manufacturers for investments in energy efficiency and clean energy product manufacturing projects. This proposal would provide additional funding to a $156 million U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant program that was initiated by ARRA stimulus legislation. “DOE received applications requesting over $3.8 billion in the ARRA funds, more than 24 times the amount available,” said Neal Elliott, ACEEE industrial program director. “The response demonstrates the pent-up demand for manufacturing efficiency investments. We have a large number of ‘shovel-ready’ projects waiting at DOE for additional funding.” ACEEE estimates that the additional grant funding would create 77,000 jobs in 2010 and then 91,000 jobs in 2011 from funding the existing, unfunded applications and from a solicitation for a second round of proposals.
“These estimates of job creation are probably conservative,” stated Nadel, “since we did not examine the impact of lower energy consumption on energy prices.When energy prices go down, money is freed up for spending in more labor-intensive parts of the economy.”
Details on ACEEE’s analyses of the proposed provisions can be found at www.aceee.org/energy/national/potential_leg.htm.
Publication date: 03/22/2010