Report: California Energy-Efficiency Policies = Major Job Growth
Members of industry have long contended that environmental protections are incompatible with economic growth. That was one reason the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act didn’t get passed this year.
But a new economic study released today crunches some numbers and finds that environmental and economic interests are often aligned.
In California, government policies promoting energy efficiency created about 1.5 million jobs and saved consumers about $56 billion in energy costs from 1977 to 2007, says economist David Roland-Holst of the UC Berkeley Center for Energy, Resources and Economic Sustainability, who conducted the study.
California was way ahead of most states in embracing energy-efficiency policies. These policies, adopted as early as 1978, have stimulated certain sectors of the state’s economy, according to the study.
Specifically, from 1977 to 2007, employee compensation in the state’s service sector increased by $17.8 billion, in wholesale and retail trade by $11.2 billion, in the financial and insurance sectors by $7.3 billion and in the light industrial sector by $1.2 billion — all because of the energy efficiency policies. Workers in the electric power industry were the exception — their compensation dropped by $1.6 billion.
When there’s less demand for electricity because of greater efficiencies, the study explains, consumers have more money to spend on other things and employers respond to the increased demand by creating more jobs.
Then there are the environmental of curbing climate change and reducing our dependency on foreign oil, which power generating plants. As Roland-Host told the AP, “If the country can follow California’s example, it will have a dramatic effect on our future emissions and energy independence.”