INTRODUCTION OF THE SAVE AMERICAN ENERGY ACT -- (House of Representatives - February 4, 2009)
Mr. MARKEY. Madam Speaker, today I am introducing the "Save American Energy Act'' to obtain the significant benefits of cost-effective, environmentally friendly, energy efficiency resources. These energy efficiency standards will not only lead to lower global warming emissions but will also create jobs, reduce the need for new power plants, and save consumers money. As President Obama clearly articulated, energy efficiency is the cleanest, cheapest, fastest source of energy. The legislation that I am introducing today follows President Obama's stated goal of reducing electricity demand 15 percent by 2020 by creating an energy efficiency resource standard, EERS.
Reducing electricity consumption 15 percent by 2020 will save consumers $130 billion over the next 20 years and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 5 billion tons through 2030. The Save American Energy Act sets minimum levels of electricity and natural gas savings to be achieved through utility programs, building codes, appliance standards, and other efficiency measures. This legislation will initially create a modest savings requirement of 1 percent for electricity and three-quarters of a percent for natural gas and gradually build to a 15 percent cumulative requirement for electricity and ten percent for natural gas in 2020.
The benefits of energy efficiency standards are clear and far-reaching. First, energy efficiency standards will dramatically reduce the global warming emissions that are creating the climate crisis. Energy efficiency is the easiest and quickest way that we as a Nation can take action to reduce emissions. These energy efficiency savings would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 260 million metric tons per year by 2020--the equivalent of the annual emissions from 43 million automobiles.
Second, energy efficiency standards will create jobs and can help revitalize our economy. The Save American Energy Act will lead to the creation of 260,000 new green-collar jobs. These jobs will be everything from retrofitting buildings to weatherizing homes. At a time when the American economy lost nearly 2 million jobs in the last 4 months of 2008, according to the Department of Labor, passing an energy efficiency standard can help send people back to work doing the work that most needs to be done.
Third, energy efficiency standards will decrease peak electricity demand. Savings from efficiency can be done far more cheaply than bringing new generation online. New generation from conventional resources costs somewhere between $0.073 and $0.145 per kilowatt hour compared to $0.03 per kilowatt hour from energy efficiency savings. The Save American Energy Act will reduce peak electricity demand by about 90,000 megawatts in 2020. This reduction would eliminate the need to build 300 medium-sized new power plants.
Fourth, The Save American Energy Act will result in billions of dollars in consumer savings on their energy bills. This bill allows for numerous cost-effective efficiency savings in every area of the economy. The legislation that I am introducing today requires utilities to obtain energy efficiency savings that are available at a lower cost than traditional energy supply options.
Many States around the country have already implemented successful efficiency standards. Vermont and California are two of the States leading the way and and 15 States and the District of Columbia have put in place policies promoting energy efficiency. The Save American Energy Act would set a federal efficiency standard but allows States with programs that meet or exceed that standard to administer the program directly, fostering policy innovation and adaptation to local circumstances.
The Save American Energy Act will take advantage of the cost-effective, available energy efficiency opportunities that can be quickly put in place. Adopting a national energy efficiency standard will allow us to reduce carbon emissions, create new green jobs, and reduce the need to build power plants: all while benefiting customers. The time to act is now.