Wisconsin Environment: Johnson Controls, Wisconsin Environment and Office of Energy Independence call for strong energy efficiency provisions in federal energy bill

Contact: Dan Kohler, [email protected], (608) 628-2804

Madison, WI – As the U.S. Senate resumes work on energy and climate legislation, representatives from Johnson Controls, Wisconsin Environment and the Office of Energy Independence held a conference call with reporters today to call for strong energy efficiency provisions in the bill that they say will boost Wisconsin’s economy by creating thousands of new jobs and saving consumers money while drastically cutting pollution.

The speakers cited a new report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy which found that federal energy legislation with strong efficiency provisions would create 13,400 new jobs in Wisconsin over the next ten years and save Wisconsin households an average of $249 per year.

“A federal energy bill, with strong energy efficiency provisions, can help put thousands of people to work and save businesses and consumers money on their energy bills every year in Wisconsin,” said Clay Nesler, VP of Global Energy & Sustainability for Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls. “By supporting stronger energy efficiency components as part of energy and climate legislation, our senators can help improve the economy now when their constituents need it most.”

The report, Energy Efficiency in the American Clean Energy Security Act of 2009: Impacts of Current Provisions and Opportunities to Enhance the Legislation, also found that the efficiency provisions would prevent 9 million metric tons of global warming emissions, the equivalent of removing the pollution from 1.6 million cars from the road for a year.

“Wisconsinites understand that energy efficiency is the cleanest, quickest, cheapest way of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and keeping our air and lakes clean,” concluded Dan Kohler, Director of Wisconsin Environment. “Using energy more wisely means more cash in our pockets, along with a cleaner, healthier environment for future generations”

“Governor Doyle has worked to make Wisconsin a leader in clean energy,” said Judy Ziewacz, Director of the Wisconsin Office of Energy Independence. “By charting a clean energy future, we will save money, create jobs, help secure our world and improve our air and water. Wisconsin ranks high in the nation in energy efficiency because of the $90 million of ratepayer money invested in our Focus on Energy program and looks forward to federal legislation that will build on this success. We have demonstrated that significant investment in energy efficiency reduces our reliance on fossil fuels and pulls to market emerging technologies that create family-supporting jobs,” concluded Ziewacz.

By strengthening the bill, it would generate more than 569,000 clean energy jobs and save the average household $283 per year nationwide by 2020. These policy improvements would result in 48 percent more jobs and 32 percent more consumer savings than the efficiency measures in the House passed bill. In addition these improvements would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 480 million metric tons in 2020, equivalent to taking over 87 million cars off the road for a year.

“While the House bill is a critical first step in harnessing the power of energy efficiency, this report shows we can save even more money, create more jobs and reduce more pollution,” said Kohler. “Senators Feingold and Kohl should lead the fight for common sense energy efficiency policies and jumpstart the transition to a clean energy economy.”

Senators can maximize economic benefits to consumers by:

* Supporting a strengthened Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS) requiring utility companies to reduce their energy usage by at least 10 percent by providing incentives and assistance to help customers make their homes and businesses more energy-efficient (ACESA included a 5% EERS with an optional 3% increase).

* Modeling electric utility allocation on that of the natural gas utility allocation in ACES, by requiring that one-third be used for energy efficiency improvements.

* Extending the allocation of carbon allowance revenue to the State Energy and Environmental Development (SEED) provision.

The full report can be found at http://www.WisconsinEnvironment.org.