Speakers (l-r): Anne Pope, Ben Taube, Ryan Unger, and Jen Worth
Creating Jobs in Appalachia through Investments in Energy Efficiency
Thursday, November 5, 2009
2:00 - 3:30 p.m.
2318 Rayburn House Office Building
On November 5, 2009, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) held a briefing on the economic opportunities afforded by energy efficiency investments in Appalachia. The briefing focused on a recent report commissioned by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), entitled Energy Efficiency in Appalachia: How Much More is Available, at What Cost, and By When, and also discussed examples of successful programs and the role of community colleges. Speakers for this event included:
- Anne B. Pope, Federal Co-Chair, Appalachian Regional Commission
Presentation (pdf format)
- Ben Taube, Executive Director, Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance
Presentation (pdf format)
- Ryan Unger, Special Assistant to the Executive Director, SEDA-Council of Governments, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
- Jen Worth, Program Manager, Center for Workforce & Economic Development, American Association of Community Colleges
Presentation (pdf format)
Click here to download a summary of Appalachian Regional Commission energy efficiency projects.
Audio recording of the briefing (mp3)
Highlights from Speaker Presentations
- Energy efficiency is vitally important to the Appalachian Region because of the huge potential for creating jobs and making businesses more competitive.
- Reducing energy use, through energy efficient technologies and smarter practices, is the first step to energy independence.
- Energy efficiency is the “low hanging fruit” that will strengthen the Appalachian economy and make it competitive with the rest of the nation; it is cheaper, easier, and cleaner than building new power plants.
- The most intensive use of energy in the Appalachian Region is in the residential sector, but the commercial and industrial sectors are the most ripe for energy savings.
- Policies that would have the most impact include efficient commercial HVAC and lighting retrofit incentives, support for commissioning of existing commercial buildings, clean car standards, and residential retrofit and weatherization incentives.
- If Appalachia adopted these and other energy efficiency policies, energy savings by 2030 would offset 40 new coal-fired power plants and 182 million barrels of oil. These policies would save consumers $27 billion in energy costs by 2030 and $800 million in the first year of implementation.
- A bold energy efficiency initiative in the Appalachian Region could create more than 77,000 jobs by 2030.
- SEDA-Council of Governments, a regional association of 11 counties in central Pennsylvania, started the Energy Resource Center (ERC) to promote energy efficiency. Successful ERC programs include the LED Traffic Signal Conversion Project, Utility Bill Analyses for Municipalities, and Community-Wide Energy Independence Initiative.
- The LED Traffic Signal Conversion Project converted all traffic lights in the region to LED bulbs, saving $50,000 annually -- a significant amount of money in many small/rural community budgets.
- Workforce development and job training are an integral part of developing an energy efficient economy. This training is happening in community colleges today in conjunction with local industries and companies. Jobs include electrical technicians and linepersons, plumbers, pipefitters, welders, advanced manufacturing plant workers, contractors, installers, and office workers.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects the Appalachian Region’s energy consumption to grow 28 percent over 2006 levels by 2030, which is considerably higher than the 19 percent growth forecast for the United States overall. According to the ARC report, the EIA projects that coal will increase its share of energy use in the region if restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions are not mandated. Appalachia already employs two-thirds of the nation’s coal miners and produces 35 percent of the nation’s coal output. Clean energy job opportunities such as energy efficiency retrofits within the residential and commercial sectors offer an economic advantage to the region. Policy action aimed at developing energy efficiency potential could set Appalachia on a course toward a sustainable and prosperous energy future.
The Appalachian Region comprises 13 states, including parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, and all of West Virginia. The region was home to 23.9 million people in 2006.
The Energy Efficiency in Appalachia report was prepared by the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA), in partnership with Georgia Institute of Technology, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, and the Alliance to Save Energy.
For more information, contact Ellen Vaughan at (202) 662-1893 or evaughan [at] eesi.org.
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