Energy efficiency program has proven to provide major return on investment

MADISON — Energy efficiency is both a money-saver and a job-creator for Wisconsin, producing a $7 return for every dollar invested. That’s according to an independent analysis of the economic impact of Focus on Energy, a program that has been reducing energy costs for businesses and homeowners for more than a decade.

“These are encouraging statistics that speak to opportunity for individuals, business leaders and families alike,” said Keith Reopelle, senior policy director for Clean Wisconsin, the state’s largest environmental advocacy group. “The efficiency measures installed by Focus on Energy last year will create thousands of jobs in the private sector, increase Wisconsin consumer’s disposable income by hundreds of millions of dollars and increase sales of products and services by hundreds of millions of dollars.”

The report shows that Focus on Energy projects in 2012 alone created nearly $1.5 billion in economic benefits through lower energy bills and avoided utility costs associated with electricity, gas and emissions. The report also focuses on economic sustainability of clean energy by looking at “job-years,” meaning the number of years of individual employment, created by Focus on Energy projects. The 2012 projects already have helped to create or sustain 1,423 job-years with the prospect of that number growing to 6,596 over the lifetime of the projects.

“As the EPA prepares to establish  carbon regulations, Focus on Energy is playing an important role in establishing best practices to cut pollution at a very low cost  and reduce our dependency on coal power and other dirtier energies,” said Reopelle. “This report quantifies how the Focus program is benefiting all Wisconsin ratepayers and how we can position Wisconsin to be a leader again.”

Focus on Energy assists almost 200,000 Wisconsin residents and businesses each year with funding support from the state’s utilities. The program was born in 2001 with support from Clean Wisconsin.