Columbus, Ohio, May 21, 2012 — A new report released today reveals that Ohio’s existing energy efficiency standard has saved businesses and consumers statewide $100 million in utility costs, cut energy waste and created more than 4,000 new jobs in Ohio.
Job growth, according to the report, is on target to increase to 32,300 by 2025 as the energy efficiency standard is fully implemented, according to analysis ordered by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The House is expected to vote on possible changes to Ohio’s current energy efficiency policy Tuesday, May 22.
The data show that as Ohio‘s electric distribution utilities invest in promoting efficiency programs — an estimated $300 million through 2012 — consumer investments in energy efficiency upgrades also increase.
For example, in 2012, utility programs leveraged $300 million of investments from consumers, which are projected to reduce energy consumption by an additional 1.1 billion kWh. This reduced consumption means big savings. The energy efficiency technologies put in place under the standard will reduce Ohio’s energy bill by $3.3 billion by 2025.
Cost-effective efficiency programs redirect money from the job-poor electric utility sector into labor-intensive economic sectors throughout the rest of the state’s economy, thus stimulating employment opportunities. Data show that net gains in jobs have risen steadily since the implementation of the state’s efficiency program, from 1,800 jobs in 2009 to 4,250 in 2012. By 2025, the program is expected to account for 32,300 jobs.
The report, “Energy Productivity: Efficiency Benefits to Power Ohio Jobs and the Economy,” was authored by energy economist John A. “Skip” Laitner on behalf of NRDC and the Ohio Environmental Council. It assesses and projects energy productivity gains already achieved and the resulting number of jobs created since Ohio’s energy efficiency portfolio standard was implemented in 2009. It also forecasts potential gains and job creation through 2025 assuming full implementation of the current standard.
“The data we analyzed clearly show that Ohio’s energy efficiency standards are having a positive impact on the state’s economy,” said Laitner, the report’s primary author. “If the current policy is maintained, this trend will only continue, allowing utilities to meet their target energy savings by 22.5 percent by 2025, while at the same time redirecting billions of dollars within the state’s economy and creating thousands of jobs, particularly in high-growth sectors.”
For example, in 2010, Greg Smith started Energy Optimizers USA in Tipp City, a company that helps schools and government agencies save energy. He was a sole practitioner. His business has boomed in two years, and he now employs 18 people.
“Without question, Ohio’s energy efficiency policy is a job creator and economic stimulator,” said Smith. “It has incentivized utilities and consumers to find new ways to save energy and ultimately dollars, and it has opened the door for entrepreneurs like me to thrive. I am one of those job creators you hear politicians talking about all the time, and I will tell you that Ohio’s energy efficiency policies are what has helped me expand my business and hire on staff.”
Cleveland-area energy efficiency performance contractor Brewer-Garrett also notes the positive employment benefits that come with efficiency upgrades. “Energy engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, construction managers, project managers, electricians, laborers, and plumbers are some of the labor needed to complete most projects,” said energy service sales consultant Dan Mitchell. “This injection of labor in any community puts people to work.”
According to the report, the positive net gains in the state’s Gross State Product, which increased from $156 million in 2009 to $492 million in 2011 and is predicted to reach nearly $7 billion by 2025, is another indicator that Ohio’s economy has become stronger and will continue to gain strength under the current energy efficiency standards.
Possible changes to Ohio’s current energy efficiency policy could come through Gov. Kasich’s Substitute Senate Bill 315, which passed the Senate last week. If it passes the House in its current form, the legislation would allow combined heat and power and waste energy recovery projects to count toward electric utility energy efficiency targets under certain conditions. While CHP and WER projects should be developed, the legislature should in the future strengthen Ohio’s energy efficiency policies to maintain momentum.