Greater energy efficiency not only boosts the realization of sustainability goals, but also can provide a mega boost to the economy. A new report from Ecofys and Philips concludes that more focus on green energy initiatives leads to massive operational savings and to the creation of millions of new jobs.
In the report – named ‘The Benefits of Energy Efficiency’ – the consultants quantify the economic impact of energy efficiency. The analysis was prepared for the ‘Climate Week NYC 2013*’, an international summit for climate change experts, and therefore focuses on the US case, although the line of thought is applicable for most economies.
In the coming decades the demand for energy in the US is expected to grow by between 5 to 10 quads**, depending on the energy-scenario used***. Calculations from Ecofys and Philips show that a significant share of energy demand can be saved through the use of energy efficiency initiatives. The degree to which savings are undertaken can range from 10% up to 20% of total energy demand, depending on the impact of initiatives deployed and uptake from business and households. “Potential annual savings in US energy consumption could reach up to 11 quads in 2020 and between 16 and 22 quads in 2030”, researchers wrote.
The improved energy efficiency translates into massive economic benefits. As a result, it will reduce energy fuel bills by $300 billion per year by 2020 and even $550 billion by 2030. Two effects are at the foundation of this: decreased expenditure on energy and lower energy prices, as a result of lower global energy demand.
In addition, more than one million jobs can be created by 2030. “Improved energy efficiency has direct and indirect impacts on employment. Jobs are created directly in manufacturing and implementation. But there is also an indirect effect: energy efficiency saves costs and frees up money for other consumption and investment” according to Ecofys. Both effects together lead to an estimated employment impact of 750,000 jobs by 2020 and up to one-and-a-half million jobs in the US by 2030.
* During the global summit experts from governments, private-sector and academic institutions come together for 5 days to discuss climate change topics. The ‘Climate Week NYC’ is an initiated by The Climate Group and is will this year be celebrated for the fifth time.
** A quad is a unit of energy equal to 10 to the power of 15 British Thermal Unit’s (BTU).
*** In the study Ecofys uses three energy-scenarios as a basis for its calculations: Energy [r]evolution (Greenpeace), World Energy Outlook 2012 (WEO) and ACEEE - Phoenix scenario.