An interesting new study released today by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University and the Georgia Institute of Technology suggests that aggressive energy efficiency plans in the South could save the region billions in wasted dollars while at the same time spurring job growth. It is advised by the report’s authors that “investing $200 billion in energy efficiency programs by 2030 could return $448 billion in savings.”
Researchers said they studied theoretical implementation of new energy conservation polices across the region, including new appliance standards, incentives for retrofitting and weatherization, upgrades to utility plants and process improvements. They determined that if the South, which consumes an outsized portion of American energy, 44 percent, but it also supplies 48 percent of the nation’s power, made better energy efficiency decisions the average residential electricity bills would decline by $26 per month in 2020 and $50 per month in 2030 while 380,000 new jobs would be created by 2020 (annual job growth increases to 520,000 new jobs in 2030).
“An aggressive commitment to energy efficiency could be an economic windfall for the South,” said Dr. Marilyn Brown of the Georgia Institute of Technology and co-lead researcher of the study, in a statement. “Such a shift would lower energy bills for cash-strapped consumers and businesses and create more new jobs for Southern workers.”