WASHINGTON – (RealEstateRama) — The Trump administration’s draconian cuts to energy efficiency programs in the budget proposal released Tuesday would undermine America’s global competitiveness while costing consumers and businesses billions of dollars, Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan said.
“Our organization has been around since the 1970s and we’ve never seen anything remotely like this, going back to Republican and Democratic administrations since Jimmy Carter,” Callahan said of the proposal that would slash efficiency programs at the Department of Energy. “This would effectively take the U.S. out of the game when it comes to advancing efficiency technology and improving productivity. We would be ceding the global leadership we have painstakingly built over the past 40 years to countries like China that are investing heavily in this area because they understand that it is an enormous economic opportunity – a way to make your economy more productive and competitive.”
“This is not the way to make America great again,” she added. “It’s the opposite.”
Energy efficiency is widely regarded as one of the smartest investments for achieving our energy, economic and environmental goals. According to DOE, energy efficiency supports nearly 2.2 million jobs across the country. It does so while saving consumers money, reducing pollution and strengthening grid stability and energy security.
The budget proposal would dramatically cut efficiency programs housed at DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. It would shutter several programs, including ENERGY STAR, the successful public-private partnership run by EPA and DOE.
Among the programs cut or eliminated:
Building Technologies Office (BTO): This office does critical work to improve efficiency capabilities in homes and buildings. This includes developing appliance and equipment efficiency standards, first implemented under President Ronald Reagan, that save the average household nearly $500 per year in reduced energy bills. BTO also does the research and technical work necessary for helping states and local governments develop improved efficiency codes for homes and buildings. Depending on the region, the average household saves $5,000 to $25,000 over the life of a mortgage through model building codes.
Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO): With a goal of spurring innovation in U.S. manufacturing, AMO works with industry partners, small businesses, universities, and other stakeholders to develop emerging technologies, including improved efficiency, with the potential to create high-quality U.S. manufacturing jobs and improve U.S. competitiveness.
ENERGY STAR (Proposed for elimination): ENERGY STAR is among the most successful public-private partnerships in U.S. history – a collaboration with more than 16,000 participating companies and organizations with enormous consumer awareness and support. Created in 1992 under President George H. W. Bush’s administration, ENERGY STAR costs about $50 million to administer yet delivered $34 billion in savings to American households and businesses in 2015 alone.
Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) (Proposed for elimination): WAP offers grant-based assistance to low-income families to improve the energy efficiency of their homes – helping families in need save money on their energy bills while also improving the health and safety of the home. Since the program began in 1976, DOE has helped improve the lives of more than 7 million families by reducing their energy bills. A typical year in WAP operations delivers $340 million in energy savings, supports 8,500 jobs, and has a program-wide benefit cost ratio of 4:1
State Energy Program (SEP) (Proposed for elimination): SEP provides states with financial resources, technical assistance, technology deployment, strategic partnerships and other resources. SEP also helps states develop energy emergency plans in preparation for natural disasters. Its major goals include increasing American energy efficiency, reducing energy costs, improving the reliability of energy services, developing alternative energy resources, promoting economic growth, and decreasing oil imports. For every $1 of investment the federal government provides to the SEP, $7.23 is saved from reduced energy bills, while every $50 million in SEP funding results in $585 million in economic development
DOE National Laboratories: DOE’s National Labs have been among the leading scientific institutions in the world since their founding more than sixty years ago. With an emphasis on translating basic science to real-world applications, they have played a key role in making the U.S. a global leader in innovation, scientific advancement and cutting-edge technology. This includes in energy efficiency. Labs such as Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Lab are not only leading us to the latest efficiency breakthroughs but are helping companies across the country become more productive and competitive.
Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) (Proposed for elimination): ARPA-E advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies, including for efficiency, that are too early for private-sector investment. After surviving a rigorous and competitive selection process, ARPA-E awardees work to develop new ways to generate, store, and use energy. In 2014, ARPA-E announced that twenty-two projects, which had received about $95 million in federal funding, raised over $625 million in private-sector investment, not including two major projects that went public.
Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO): VTO supports research, development and deployment of efficient and sustainable transportation technologies that will improve energy efficiency, fuel economy, and enable America to use less petroleum. These technologies include advanced batteries and electric drive systems, lightweight materials, advanced combustion engines, alternative fuels, as well as energy efficient mobility systems.
“This isn’t a bunch of paper-pushing,” Callahan said. “This work is having a tremendous impact on Americans’ everyday lives. Ending it, as these cuts would effectively do, would set us back years, and we urge Congress to maintain full funding based on this year’s spending levels.”
About the Alliance to Save Energy
Founded in 1977, the Alliance to Save Energy is the leading energy efficiency coalition in the nation – a nonprofit, bipartisan alliance of business, government, environmental and consumer leaders advocating for enhanced energy efficiency across all sectors of the economy. Our mission is to promote energy efficiency worldwide to achieve a healthier economy, a cleaner environment and energy security.