Strengthening energy efficiency measures can create thousands of jobs and help reduce energy bills

MADISON — As the debate over the Clean Energy Jobs Act heats up in the State Capitol, A report released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) shows that Wisconsin legislators can significantly reduce energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions by passing policies to make our homes, schools, and businesses more energy efficient.

“Wisconsin holds a rich history of successful energy efficiency programs like Focus on Energy, that have saved residents and businesses millions while reducing the environmental impact of energy production,” said Seth Nowak, Research Assistant at ACEEE. “Despite its past success, Wisconsin is far from realizing the full potential of energy efficiency and can make significant environmental and economic gains by increasing its commitment to energy efficiency policies.”

“Wisconsin’s strong track record does not mean that the state is running low on energy-saving opportunities,” reads Wisconsin Ready to Raise the Bar on Energy Efficiency, released today. “There are legislative and regulatory mechanisms with relatively untapped potential that could expand the state’s successes.”

Energy efficiency helps reduce pollution associated with energy production and is also an important economic driver in Wisconsin. Energy efficiency measures create thousands of jobs in Wisconsin and for every dollar spent on Focus on Energy, business and homeowners have saved $3.

“Energy efficiency benefits everyone,” said Ryan Schryver, Clean Energy Advocate at Clean Wisconsin. “Increasing our commitment to energy efficiency in the Clean Energy Jobs Act will not only create jobs and save money, it will also foster greater energy independence and a cleaner environment.”

Wisconsin currently lacks a legal stated goal for energy efficiency and has fallen behind neighboring states like Minnesota and Illinois, which both have passed electric energy efficiency resource standards. The Clean Energy Jobs Act includes provisions that would set a state goal of 2 percent energy reduction by 2015. The Energy Center of Wisconsin estimates that the energy efficiency measures alone in this bill would create between 7,000 and 13,000 new jobs.

“We have nothing to lose and everything to gain by investing in energy efficiency,” said Schryver. “Passing a strong energy efficiency standard in the Clean Energy Jobs Act will help create jobs, clean our environment, and keep money in the pockets of hard-working Wisconsinites.”