Obama and Clinton unveil a new energy savings plan in partnership with the private sector.
On December 2nd, President Obama, with the help of former President Clinton, announced an unprecedented initiative focusing on energy efficiency. This green initiative sets the attainable goal of improving energy efficiency by retrofitting and upgrading buildings across the United States. This will be a partnership between the public and private sectors, the U.S. government will put up half of the $4 billion price tag and 60 other companies will pick up the other half. An ambitious timeline for completing the work has been set, 2 years from the start date, with a 20% reduction in energy consumption when fully realized by 2020. The concept actually should cost American taxpayers nothing since it will be paid for by the reduced energy bills seen after the work is completed.
This green program is known as the Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPC) and has actually been in place since former President Bill Clinton was in office. Unfortunately, the program had not been used anywhere near its full potential, though with the recent economic downturn the ESPC can be a job creator. President Obama reiterated this in a statement, “Upgrading the energy efficiency of America’s buildings is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to save money, cut down on harmful pollution and create good jobs right now.” It is also possible that once these projects are noticed by the financial markets, investments in green products and services may rise. Offering proof of this is one of the 60 chief executives involved in the initiative, Dick Parsons – Citigroup Chairman, as he stated “the key is, we need to make sure that we can create the financial engineering that makes it work. We have to get financial markets comfortable with the models, and then we’re off to the races.”
Initiatives surrounding energy efficiency and sustainable living are not only good for the environment; they also can provide positive changes to the economy. The ESPC has already produced $6.66 billion in energy savings and supported numerous jobs in the emerging markets of renewable energy and green technologies. Hopefully programs such as the ESPC are just the leading edge of reform and once their positive effects hit the markets, companies and governments alike will take up the going green challenge.