It seemed like every major environmental meeting was held yesterday. One that might not have gotten a lot of attention was the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE.) The group released a report, finding that North Carolina can create 38,000 jobs and save $3.6 billion in energy costs if a broad set of electricity, water, and transportation efficiency policies are implemented.
The report outlines a number of different policies that could increase the efficiency of our energy consumption, the major being to establish an Energy Efficiency Resource Standard(EERS.) Much like the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard passed in Senate bill 3, an EERS would set long term energy efficiency goals for investor based utilities. The easiest way to achieve these goals would be through energy friendly residential and commercial building codes.
ACEEE also recommends that North Carolina implement a statewide plumbing efficiency standard to reduce our water use. They estimate that this policy could meet 8 to 10% of the state's water needs in 2025. The analysis also suggests that through a number of transportation policies our gasoline and oil consumption can be reduced by 10% in 2025. One policy idea would set a clean car standard, although states cannot create fuel economy standards they can set greenhouse gas standards. Using this policy, California will achieve a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles by 2016.
North Carolina is poised to grow 33% by 2030, with this rapid population growth energy efficiency policies must be considered.