NEEC presented the paper Energy Productivity as a Means for Economic Growth at the Energy Program Research Conference in San Francisco this month. The EPRC brings together industry, academics, and elected officials to discuss emerging ideas in clean energy. The NEEC paper, which is available for download below, is based in emerging economic research that NEEC and the California Energy Efficiency Industry Council are funding that examines the broader economic development value, beyond just the utility system, from making homes, businesses,and industries more energy efficient. (Discerning readers may note a relationship here to the discussion above on cost effectiveness.)
With results anticipated to be released later this fall, the NEEC paper describes both the short term one-time effect of energy efficiency projects in direct, indirect, and induced job creation (in this case they will be specific to the three west coast states). A more ambitious analysis will also describe the longer term (sometimes referred to as animating effects) macroeconomic effects on the economy from diverting wasteful spending on inefficiency to more productive areas of the economy. With nearly $1 trillion of the US energy expenditure going to waste heat (see LLNL cite in paper), huge amounts of capital could be available for economic growth with enhanced commitments to energy efficiency.
When this analysis is published, NEEC and CEEIC plan to engage elected officials up and down the west coast on an energy policy that supports this type of commitment.
Paper available for download below.