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Mar 222010

From Green Right Now Reports

North Carolina could benefit economically and add nearly 40,000 new jobs over the next 15 years if it follows a greener development path, according to a new study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

state-flag-north-carolinaThe ACEEE’s study looked at how North Carolina, one of the fastest growing states in the nation, could benefit from enacting policies that promote energy and water efficiency and that “lock in” energy savings by building energy-smart buildings and creating eco-friendly communities.

The analysis by the non-profit ACEEE found that:

  • Investing in a “broad set of electricity, water and transportation efficiency policies” could spur economic development, creating an estimated 38,000 jobs by 2025 and saving individuals and businesses $3.6 billion, gleaned from lower energy and water bills.
  • The state could meet 24 to 32 percent of its anticipated electricity needs by 2025 by  enacting a set of policies to boost electricity efficiency at electric utilities; at state and local buildings, and all other buildings (through stricter building codes).
  • Replacing inefficient plumbing and creating efficient irrigation throughout the state could help North Carolina meet up to 10 percent of its projected water needs by 2025.
  • Gasoline and diesel fuel consumption could be reduced by more than 10 percent by 2025 via transportation efficiency policies — such as encouraging more compact communities with public transit options — that go beyond the anticipated savings from the new federal fuel economy standards being activated over the next six years.
  • North Carolina could leverage its already considerable research institutions and green businesses to become a world leader in producing and deploying clean energy technology. These innovations can provide the state with cost-saving technology, serve as a source of local jobs and contribute to economic growth by becoming exporters of clean energy technology.

At the unveiling of the report last week, business leaders, utility managers and politicians, stressed the value of smart development to make sure the state reaps these potential rewards.

“If we make smart investments in energy efficiency today, we can create tens of thousands of jobs and save consumers a billion dollars in power and water bills over the next fifteen years. Improving energy efficiency is critical to North Carolina’s future,” said state Senator Josh Stein, a member of the North Carolina Senate Select Committee on Economic Recovery and the Senate Select Committee on Energy, Science and Technology.

Nor should it be terribly difficult to forge a more efficient, money-saving future, they said.

“This is not revolutionary stuff we’re talking about here, it’s just plain common sense. In North Carolina alone, if we continue supporting policies that boost energy efficiency we can save more than $3 billion in energy costs, put more people to work in jobs that can’t be outsourced, and strengthen our state as a national leader in the clean energy industry,” said Maria Kingery, Co-Founder of Southern Energy Management, which hosted the event.

To see the full report, visit the ACEEE website.