Texas is growing. In fact, we’re one of the fastest growing areas of the country. Growing communities and growing business usually means building more power plants, which would add to our already significant air quality problems not to mention all of the greenhouse gases we would spew.
But, rather than building Megawatts, we should be looking at Negawatts, or “creating” energy by simply using less of it, or at least so says a new study from Duke University’s Nichols Institute and Georgia Institute of Technology.
This would save us from not only pollution and global warming, but also from the cost of building new power plants. Efficiency gives a double payback, because not only are you not paying for more oil, gas, and coal, you save money on your electric bills because you use less electricity. And no, efficiency doesn’t mean turning off your air conditioner more in the summer so you sweat more– it means properly insulating your home to keep the cool in and the hot out, or vice versa in the winter, and it means using a better a/c unit that gives you more chills for less bills.
How much money? Well, investments in efficiency would save $13.7 billion in 2020 and $21.5 billion in 2030. These savings are equivalent to the amount of energy used by almost a million Texas households, or an average savings of $330 per household a year. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, we also get Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: 96,300 jobs by 2020, and 132,100 new jobs from efficiency in 2030.
And how do we get these magical green jobs and billions in savings? Why, through efficiency mandates, similar to the ones proposed in federal green energy bills like Waxman-Markey. Unfortunately, those goals were too weak to really produce the type of change we need, so it’s up to the Senate to do better. Early word of a draft bill by Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman doesn’t look promising, and could even be WORSE than the anemic efficiency investments and mandates in Waxman-Markey.
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