Commentary: Efficiency is a pro-jobs, pro-environment energy solution

Stacey Paradis
March 29, 2017

The presidential “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth” executive order signed on Tuesday was positioned as a way for the federal government to not be forced to choose between environmental protection and economic development. On Sunday, U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt prefaced the order’s release, saying the order and the policies it promotes would be “pro-jobs and pro-environment.”

If these are the goals, then the focus should be on recognizing the economic benefits of clean energy and, in particular, the thousands of good jobs that are created through energy efficiency.

The Midwest has become a great example of bipartisan cooperation in clean energy policy. In our region, state Republican political majorities dominate the landscape. At the same time, the Midwest has seen a 225 percent increase in electric energy efficiency investment since 2008; $1 billion was invested in electric and natural gas energy efficiency in 2010 and grew to $1.8 billion last year.

In 2016, MEEA commissioned The Cadmus Group to complete a modeled forecast of the economic impacts derived from 2014 utility investments in energy efficiency. The study focused on four areas: 1) MEEA’s 13-state Midwest Region; 2) Indiana; 3) Michigan; and 4) Ohio and identified the economic impacts from a single-year of investments during the first year and over the course of a 25-year forecast.

Over a 25-year period, the 2014 programs alone are estimated to:

  • Create nearly 105,000 Midwestern jobs
  • Increase regional income by almost $8.8 billion
  • Generate about $23 billion in regional sales
  • Add over $13.7 billion in regional economic value

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