An energy efficiency bill awaiting Senate action would create tens of thousands of jobs and reduce utility bills by tens of billions of dollars over the next two decades, according to a study conducted by supporters of the legislation.
The bill from Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), S. 1392, could be debated as soon as this month, although the more immediate need to decide whether to authorize military action against Syria has delayed its consideration indefinitely (Greenwire, Sept. 3). Still, supporters are marshalling evidence of its economic and environmental benefits to be ready whenever debate does begin.The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy yesterday released a white paper arguing that the bill would create between 66,000 and 81,000 jobs and save consumers between $2.1 billion and $3.3 billion in annual energy costs by 2020, depending on what amendments would be added. By 2030, the job figures grow to a range between 164,000 and 174,000, and the annual cost savings would be between $13.7 billion and $15.2 billion, according to the paper.
The bulk of the savings would be spurred by the bill’s update to voluntary building codes, according to the study. And a “significant number” of the created jobs would be “induced” jobs, meaning they come in sectors such as retail or food service that grow when workers from sectors directly spurred by Shaheen-Portman spend their increased earnings.
The study also says the bill plus some likely amendments would reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by about 18 million metric tons in 2020 and 84 million metric tons in 2030.
While the bill has strong bipartisan support after emerging from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on an 18-3 vote earlier this year, some conservative groups say it should be defeated. The Heritage Foundation earlier this week released an issue brief arguing that the bill was an inappropriate use of taxpayer money.