New report shows vast potential for energy savings and job growth

MADISON — Wisconsin could save hundreds of millions of dollars and create over 7000 permanent jobs by investing in energy efficiency according to a draft report released yesterday by the Energy Center of Wisconsin.

“This report demonstrates how energy efficiency programs can help put Wisconsinites back to work and lower the burden of energy costs,” said Katie Nekola, energy program director at Clean Wisconsin, the state’s largest environmental advocacy organization. “Energy efficiency is truly an economic and environmentally sound investment for our state to make.”

The report, “Energy Efficiency and Customer-Sited Renewable Resource Potential in Wisconsin,” demonstrates that a $340 million annual investment in energy efficiency would create 7000 to 9000 family-supporting jobs in the state and reduce energy use 1.6 percent by 2012. This reduction would save residents, businesses, and the state an estimated $900 million annually by that year. If continued through 2018, such investment would result in a 13 percent reduction of energy use, according to the report.

“When a $340 million investment will save residents $900 million a year, put Wisconsinites to work, and help clean our environment, I’d say that’s an investment worth making,” Nekola said. “Now is an especially important time to support programs that combat unemployment and help residents save money.”

The estimated 7000 to 9000 permanent jobs created by an investment in energy efficiency could help provide much-needed relief for families in today’s challenging economic climate. According to the Department of Workforce Development, Wisconsin’s Unemployment rate hit 9.4 percent in March.

“Wisconsin is facing hard times, and energy efficiency can be a major part of the solution,” said Nekola. “Investment in energy efficiency will create jobs for Wisconsinites, save residents money, and reduce our impact on the environment.”

The report was produced at the request of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.