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Today, the Arizona PIRG Education Fund released Building an Energy-Efficient Arizona: Opportunities to Save Money and Reduce Pollution, a report describing Arizona’s current energy portfolio, benefits of a transition to energy efficiency, and successful energy efficiency programs in use across the country.
According to the report, Arizona’s population has grown significantly over the past decade and utilities forecast that state electricity demand will continue to grow faster than the national average. By 2025, Arizona is expected to need an additional 16,000 megawatts of electricity: the equivalent of 32 large power plants. Instead of meeting the entirety of this energy load by building inefficient and expensive coal-fired, natural gas-fired, and nuclear power plants, the Arizona PIRG Education Fund says our state can reduce its electricity needs by embracing energy efficiency.
According to Ben Kitto, representative of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, “Arizona has a chance to greatly reduce the financial burden of high electricity bills by instituting energy efficiency programs that benefit residential, commercial, and institutional consumers. Energy efficiency is a proven, immediate, and reliable way to reduce energy consumption—and with it, electricity bills—without reducing service quality.”
The report highlights education and rebate programs that have saved residential customers from New York to California hundreds of dollars per year on average. The report also identifies business and industrial energy efficiency programs that have saved tens of millions of dollars on a yearly basis. The report stresses that Arizona could reap similar benefits, and others, from effective energy efficiency programs.
“Every dollar invested in energy efficiency represents a $1.67 investment in the local economy. With other energy resources, the impact is closer to $0.33,” said Kitto. The report indicates that energy efficiency benefits the local economy by keeping energy expenses in-state and by creating engineering and construction jobs that Arizonans can do with minimal retraining.
The report encourages utilities to work collaboratively with elected officials in Arizona to establish and implement effective energy efficiency programs to benefit all Arizona electricity consumers. Kitto concluded, “Efficiency is a vast energy resource available to Arizona, and the collective efforts of citizens, businesses, utilities, and regulators are needed to tap into its potential to solidify Arizona’s intertwined energy and economic futures.”
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