The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released a new report that highlights 16 policies that remove market barriers across the economy to investments in energy efficiency.
The report provides Congress and state policymakers with a road map to address national energy consumption through policies that could save the country some $1 trillion in energy bills and 19 quads in energy consumption.
The United States has made much progress in energy efficiency during the past few decades, but there are still large, cost-effective opportunities available to advance efficiency further while improving the economy. Various market failures and barriers, however, contribute to keeping the U.S. from fully realizing its energy efficiency potential.
"Eliminating barriers that keep us from reducing waste is an approach both sides of the aisle can support," said Steven Nadel, ACEEE executive director. "By removing these barriers, Congress and state policymakers have an opportunity to let smart investments help strengthen the economy while saving the nation billions."
The report discusses several targeted policies that leverage market mechanisms and address specific market failures to energy efficiency without requiring substantial spending or government mandates.
For example, the development of a comprehensive building labeling and benchmarking program could save some 1.6 quads of energy and $60 billion between 2014 and 2030. More impressive are the benefits from adjusting corporate tax legislation to encourage the replacement of inefficient equipment and from removing regulatory barriers to combined heat and power projects. These two policies could reduce national energy consumption by 7 quads and save the economy close to $300 billion.
The report includes policy interventions targeted at residential and commercial buildings, the industrial sector, the transportation sector and policies with economywide benefits.