OBAMA ADMIN EXPECTED TO GET EFFICIENT IN ECONOMIC STIM
Building New Energy infrastructure without building in Energy Efficiency is like wearing heavy socks out into the cold without wearing shoes.
That’s why the Obama-Biden New Energy for America plan, soon to be funded with at least $150 billion of the urgently needed economic stimulus package money Congress goes to work on this week, is actually a New-Energy-and-Energy-Efficiency for America plan.
Otherwise, Congress could get cold feet about funding the plan. Funding New Energy (NE) and Energy Efficiency (EE) simultaneously attacks the energy crisis, creates blue collar jobs, puts the building industry back to work and infuses money where it will quickly be spent.
According to CNNMoney, the Energy Efficiency (EE) part of the plan the Obama administration will ask Congress to fund will be similar to the one introduced December 19 by the Alliance to Save Energy.
The Alliance to Save Energy plan calls for a $30 billion federal investment in EE:
(1) $3 billion for home retrofits (including rebates for efficient appliances);
(2) $3 billion for public building retrofits (including energy audit jobs programs and "smart-meter" installations);
(3) $3 billion in tax breaks for EE improvements by commercial building developers and builders;
(4) $3 billion for EE in schools;
(5) $3.5 billion to expand state EE programs;
(6) $5 billion more for states that pass stricter EE standards and implement utility conservation incentives (“decoupling”);
(7) $6 billion for state and local power plant/ transportation networks;
(8) $4 billion for “other” EE (grid improvement, military institution EE, home smart meter and weatherization programs).
The Alliance to Save Energy says its plan will create 190,000 jobs and cut U.S. energy consumption 0.5% per year for 20 years. That would reduce the $1 trillion per year U.S. energy bill by $5 billion, adding up to $100 billion over 20 years.
Another example of EE’s potential is demonstrated by noted architect Edward Mazria’s 2030 Challenge Stimulus Plan. Mazria, whose Architecture 2030 Challenge called on building designers and builders to fight global climate change by using innovative planning and materials, says that an investment of $171.72 billion over 2 years will produce $142.33 to 200.88 billion in consumer mortgage and energy savings, cut energy use and greenhouse gas emissions and, by moving the U.S. away from natural gas and oil use, put the country on the path to energy independence.
From the 2030 Challenge Stimulus Plan (click to enlarge)
The plan will also create 3.75 million direct jobs and over 4.5 million indirect jobs and thereby pay for itself through tax base growth.
Objectors to such ambitious plans for NE and EE – and doubters of the stimulus package in general – worry about how such programs can be ramped up, administered and controlled. That’s what troubled the people who backed the Hoover administration in 1930-’31-’32. As a result, Hoover refused to take action and the nation and the world slid into a depression.
As soon as the Roosevelt administration took office and took action, the slide began to slow. Only an attempt to back away from federal deficit spending - by cutting re-investment in the nation in 1936-37 - slowed the recovery. Federal stimulus spending bigger than anybody imagined, in the form of war preparations, finally broke the Great Depression’s momentum and turned the economy around.
Clearly, a federal stimulus package to match the audacity of the World War II ramp-up is what is now called for. How convenient that the energy crisis the nation faces, often called a moral equivalent of war, is demanding national attention. This presents urgent need and ample opportunity for an ambitious federal program. Mr. Obama will bring to Washington the only other necessary element: The courage to act.
Flaws and waste may later be discovered in the ambitious Obama-Biden programs. After all, the nation must go to war against recession with the stimulus package it has. It will not necessarily be avarice-proof.
After the stimulus has had a chance to rejuvenate the economy and put people back to work, there will still be time for a “surge” to make the plan work better.
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2030 Challenge Stimulus Plan Hits Capitol Hill
December 2008 (2030 Architecture)
Save energy, save the economy; The country may spend $30 billion on conservation in the coming year, but will that put people back to work?
Steve Hargreaves, December 24, 2008 (CNN Money)
Edward Mazria and Kristina Kershner, Architecture 2030 ; Kateri Callahan, president, Alliance to Save Energy; Brian Turmail, spokesman, Associated General Contractors of America
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Some question the effectiveness of investing economic stimulus money in EE programs. Both the Alliance to Save Energy plan and the 2030 Challenge Stimulus Plan demonstrate how strategic investment in EE can produce a powerful range of energy-saving, economic benefits.
- New Energy and Energy Efficiency are said to be first priorities of the incoming administration.
- The Alliance to Save Energy announced its plan December 19.
- The 2030 Challenge Stimulus Plan was presented December 12 and calls for investment over 2 years and returns accumulating over 5 years.
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The Mazria proposal indicates EE can benefit the entire U.S. and all income levels.
It also foresees investments in the the Building Sector affecting a wide range of products and services and all industries (e.g., steel, insulation and caulking, mechanical, electrical and solar equipment, glass, wood, metals, tile, fabrics and paint) and all sectors (design, engineering, banking and development, manufacturing, construction, wholesale, retail and distribution).
- EE has a top priority in the Obama stimulus plan because (1) it can be started quickly through existing state and regional agencies and (2) it reduces the amount of New Energy the U.S. must produce to cut emissions.
- The Associated General Contractors of America says every $1 billion spent on infrastructure (including EE) creates ~ 30,000 jobs.
- The plans create no new agencies but would develop programs through existing state, federal or regional agencies and utilities.
- The Mazria plan says spending on EE will create a $1.6 trillion market that will put the construction industry to work immediately.
- Mazria plan specifics: (1) At least 8.445 million new jobs and a 1.6 trillion renovation market; (2) savings of $142.33 to 200.88 billion; (3) 481.13 Million Metric Ton cut in greenhouse gas emissions; (4) 6.17 Quadrillion Btu cut in energy use; (5) cuts of 1.83 trillion cubic feet of natural gas consumption and 83.35 million barrels of oil.
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- From 2030 Challenge Stimulus Plan: “The simplicity of the 2030 Challenge Stimulus Plan, and its ability to have such a wide-ranging positive and immediate impact, has garnered a lot of attention on the Hill. The Plan is now being reviewed by the Transition Team.”
- Kateri Callahan, president, Alliance to Save Energy: "An economic recovery bill that includes significant investments in energy efficiency will not only create jobs immediately, but also and more importantly will bring American ingenuity and its 'can-do' spirit to a new, clean and sustainable energy future…"
- Brian Turmail, spokesman, Associated General Contractors of America: "Clearly, it will put construction workers back to work and put money in the economy…This is a tremendous opportunity."
- Rudolph Penner, senior fellow, Urban Institute: "How on earth can this thing be administered without generating a lot of waste…Some people would choose to insulate their homes anyway…For them, this would just be a windfall."