As Congress struggles to craft a bill to invest billions of dollars in economic recovery, it seeks to create jobs, reduce global warming emissions, and help those struggling to pay their bills. Transformative investments in energy efficiency would make major progress on all three.
In a new analysis, we’re looking at nearly $ 350 billion in investments to save energy in all sectors of the economy, much of it proposals now before Congress as it develops a bill to ” reconciliation â. We find that these investments could achieve over the lifetime of investments and savings:
- 3.2 million jobs added (years of employment)
- 4.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide reduced (CO2), equivalent to total US emissions for 11 months
- $ 282 billion in savings on the energy bill and other benefits for consumers (manufacturing costs, health and comfort benefits) greater than the investment
The new analysis does not include savings resulting from the expansion of utility efficiency programs. However, in a recent fact sheet, we present an analysis that found that boosting utilities through a combination of payments and fees to expand support for households and businesses to undertake energy saving measures. could reduce 2.4 billion tonnes of emissions, with a federal cost of just $ 4 billion to $ 10 billion.
$ 350 billion is a big investment, far more than the government spends on efficiency, but over 10 years it’s less than private spending on efficiency (and less than what proponents are looking for in efficiency). renewable energy bill). We also found that a smaller envelope of $ 126 billion could have more than half of the impacts.
How do we reap these benefits? These results combine our analyzes of 21 potential investments in eight areas, as shown in the figure below.
These analyzes are revised (some significantly) from a fact sheet we published in June, as proposals are refined and new ideas brought forward.
Here are some key opportunities pending before Congress; a few other elements are included in the bipartite infrastructure bill which is also pending.
Industrial decarbonation: By far the biggest carbon savings per federal dollar would be measures to reduce emissions and costs at manufacturing plants, but these proposals have received relatively little attention to date. For example, the first three proposal would provide for federal cost sharing for the first three large-scale applications of new transformative industrial technologies that promise massive emission reductions, such as direct reduction of iron with “green” hydrogen. . These incentives would be particularly effective in accelerating the transition to a clean industrial sector, with savings estimated at 1 billion tonnes of CO2. Representative Kathy Castor (D-Florida) recently introduced a bill to authorize such a program.
Renovation and electrification of the house: A second key area is the energy retrofit of homes – especially for low and moderate income households who rent apartments and live in single-family homes – and the installation of heat pumps and heat pump water heaters. effective. Although these measures have relatively modest carbon and energy savings per dollar invested, their benefits in terms of equity and affordability are significant. They are essential for improving health and reducing costs for many people who struggle to pay their bills or live in poor conditions. And they’re key to helping drive the market toward the renovations needed to reduce emissions from the more than 100 million existing homes that will still be there in 2050.
One example is GREAHT’s proposal to fund efficiency improvements and heat pumps, as well as solar panels, health and safety improvements, and resilience measures in buildings with around 9 million d affordable subsidized and natural apartments. GREAHT would reduce 200 tonnes of CO2 emissions while providing $ 24 billion in energy savings and more in other benefits.
Electric trucks and buses: Our recent article makes it clear that we need new investments in our transportation system that serve both travelers and the climate. A key milestone is a tax credit for the purchase of new electric trucks and other utility vehicles, which lag behind electric cars in terms of development and availability. A 30% tax credit, as proposed in the Clean Energy for America Act from the Senate Finance Committee and Green VAN Act from Representative Don Beyer (D-Virginia), would help move the freight sector to non-polluting vehicles. That could translate to half a million more electric trucks and save 12 billion gallons of diesel fuel.
Utility efficiency programs: One of the Biden administration’s main goals for the reconciliation bill is to use a combination of tax credits, payments, and fees to push the electricity sector to 80% clean-sourced by 2030. To make this transition reliable, profitable and fair, we believe that reducing and managing demand is as important as developing new sources. To this end, in addition to the investments described in this white paper, we have asked that the bill include provisions to encourage utilities to meet a growing share of energy needs through efficiency programs that help their customers. customers to save energy and costs. Increasing utility work efficiency will make it easier to meet remaining energy needs with clean energy, help incorporate more electrical equipment and more variable renewable energy, and lower costs for electrical customers.
With these investments in energy efficiency, we can take a big step forward towards an economy that benefits all consumers, workers and our climate.