"How would you spend $50 billion, Part 2 — The Alliance to Save Energy Plan"
Part 1 reported that Obama and the Dems are planning a huge stimulus package with a big cleantech component and asked for ideas. Brian Castelli, Executive Vice President of the DC-based Alliance to Save Energy sent me their recommendations.
Brian has been a cleantech leader for over three decades. I got to know him at the DOE where he served as Chief of Staff to the assistant Secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, during which time we perfected our “bad cop – worse cop” routine. He has an MBA, served as a state energy director and has lots of other creds the world might know about if the link on ASE’s website to his bio wasn’t broken.
Here are the Alliance’s proposals:
Energy efficiency in state and local facilities
Appropriate $4 billion to DOE for grants for energy efficiency projects in state and local facilities including schools. The funding would pass through the State Energy Program using the existing distribution formula. Studies indicate that the potential for energy efficiency investments in the public sector is between $35 and $70 billion, and that less than 25 percent of all state buildings have had comprehensive energy-efficiency retrofits, which suggests that the potential for job creation and energy savings is quite large. Half should be distributed to states within 3 months of enactment based on the usual distribution formula; the remaining funds shall be available for 2 years after enactment and their allocation may consider evaluation of the initial funds The Program may retain 4 percent of the funds for administrative costs.
1. 24,000 job years (based on commercial building energy efficiency labor intensity estimate of 5.9 jobs per $1 million invested) on same timetable.
2. Energy savings will help strapped state and local governments, and result in air quality and other benefits. Energy savings could reach 36 trillion Btus (based on estimate of 9 billion Btu savings per $1 million invested).
Green jobs workforce training
Appropriate $250 million over two years to the Department of Labor for workforce training programs under the Green Jobs Act that was in EISA. The programs could be used to train displaced and unemployed workers (especially in the construction industry) to retrofit homes. These workers might be used to retrofit foreclosed homes owned by the federal government. Appropriate an additional $250 million over two years to DOE and EPA for programs that include training for industrial and building energy audits and building efficiency.
$100,000,000 would go to the Energy Star program at the Environmental Protection Agency to remain available for 2 years after enactment, including for training for the Home Performance with Energy Star and Energy Star New Homes programs. $100,000,000 to the Building Energy Codes program at the Department of Energy to remain available for 2 years after enactment. $50,000,000 for the Industrial Assessment Center program at the Department of Energy to remain available for 2 years after enactment.
Weatherization of low-income homes
Appropriate $1.4 billion over two years to expand the national Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). The funding will be used to expand infrastructure that is already in place to lower energy costs and thereby increase the purchasing power of low income consumers.
1. 11,500 job years (based on residential building energy efficiency labor intensity estimate of 8.1 jobs per $1 million invested) on same timetable.
2. Energy savings will directly benefit low-income homeowners, and will help them keep their homes.
Energy efficiency improvements in federal buildings
Appropriate $1.2 billion to DOE to fund audits, metering and energy efficiency improvements in federal buildings. The Department of Energy would retain 2 percent of the funds as a tariff to improve staffing and fund the administration of the program. The funds should be available to agencies on a first-come, first-served basis, and should be available for 24 months after the effective date of the stimulus bill.
1. 7,000 job years (based on commercial building energy efficiency labor intensity estimate of 5.9 jobs per $1 million invested) on same timetable.
2. Energy savings will help federal agencies and result in air quality and other benefits. Energy savings could reach 11 trillion Btus (based on estimate of 9 billion Btu savings per $1 million invested).
National consumer efficiency education campaign
Appropriate $90 million for the Public Information Initiative authorized in EPAct 05 for a two-year education campaign to help consumers to lower their energy bills. The campaign, which would be administered by the Department of Energy, would target the general American public, from students to seniors. It would encourage energy efficiency and conservation actions that can deliver work to home contractors, retailers, and manufacturers of efficient appliances and vehicles.
No-Cost (or Very Low Cost) Recommendations
Clear backlog of federal facility retrofit projects
The new Administration should take immediate administrative steps to direct DOE to clear the energy efficiency upgrade project “backlog” of $1.3 billion in major energy efficiency projects in federal facilities. In addition, Congress should consider providing a 25 percent match in Treasury funds if projects are implemented within 24 months of the effective date of the stimulus bill. In 2006, FEMP implemented more than $400 million in projects in a concerted six-to-nine-month “blitz,” so there is a precedent for concerted action to clear the pipeline, and a history of positive results.
1. 7,500 job years (based on commercial building energy efficiency labor intensity estimate of 5.9 jobs per $1 million invested) on same timetable.
2. Energy savings will help federal agencies and result in air quality and other benefits. Paybacks likely to average around 15 years, but no direct cost to the federal government as these projects would be funded through Energy Savings Performance Contracts.
Make energy tax credits refundable
Make the appliances energy efficiency tax credit refundable for twelve months; this will require a minor legislative change and will drive investment, employment and manufacture of appliances at the highest efficiency levels by providing cash-strapped manufacturers with funds to invest in improved efficiency. The score should be minimal as it mostly enables this year tax credits that were already scored when extended (most of the credit is capped for each manufacturer).
1. Thousands of jobs would be saved and created (based on manufacturer plans).
2. Would benefit consumers by increasing production and decreasing cost of very high efficiency refrigerators, dishwashers, and clothes washers.
Serious, practical stuff.
- Energy efficiency is THE core climate solution, Part 1: The biggest low-carbon resource by far
- Part 2: The limitless resource
- Part 3: The only cheap power left
- Part 4: How does California do it so consistently and cost-effectively?
- Energy efficiency, Part 5: The highest documented rate of return of any federal program