Democratic Presidential Debate: Energy Productivity Wish List

Democratic presidential hopefuls are gathering in hopes of garnering additional national attention before the rapidly approaching primary season. In this debate, we hope to hear an emphasis on the importance of doubling energy productivity in order to advance a modern American energy economy. Here are some points we would like to hear brought up:

“The U.S. must invest in our own long-term energy productivity and demonstrate through research and development innovative transportation, buildings and manufacturing technologies.”
  • All three Democratic candidates have expressed the importance of investing in energy efficiency, but we would like to see the candidates touch on the importance of driving energy productivity, particularly in the sectors that consume the most energy. Buildings and transportation use roughly 70 percent of our nation’s energy. Transportation and the built environment – our ability to transport goods, provide services and conduct our daily business in a safe and efficient manner – play a critical role in U.S. commerce and competitiveness. Increasing energy productivity not only has the potential for large cost savings for households and businesses, but also offers an effective route to reduce environmental impact from energy consumption and lessen overall dependence on foreign energy sources.
“The federal government can support increasing energy productivity, but our level of success will depend on significant contributions from decision-makers at all levels of government and across the private sector.”
  • As demonstrated in the Energy 2030 Strategic Roadmap, there are opportunities in every single sector of our economy to improve energy productivity. We would certainly like to hear the Democratic candidates discuss bolstering the role of the federal government in long-term energy productivity investment through R&D, setting and updating vehicle and appliance standards and providing information to consumers. However, the Alliance recommends that candidates make a direct call to the private sector, as well as state, local and tribal leaders to facilitate energy productivity efforts in their own spheres of influence. If we want to increase our nation’s energy productivity, we must see more collaboration between the public and private sector.
“Doubling energy productivity in the U.S. will allow us to power more homes, manufacture and deliver more goods and create more American jobs.”
  • Increasing energy productivity means doing more with less: generating greater economic output for the amount of energy used. The Energy 2030 Strategic Roadmap concludes that doubling energy productivity could increase U.S. GDP to $22.5 trillion and cut energy use by 24 percent by 2030.
“As a nation, we should make substantial investment in the next 15 years to deploy and develop technologies. This is how we will achieve the target of doubling America’s energy productivity.”
  • Doubling our nation’s energy productivity would create jobs, save money and protect our environment. Martin O’Malley’s energy platform calls for a national goal of doubling energy efficiency within 15 years. The Alliance appreciates O’Malley’s understanding of the benefits associated with doubling energy efficiency, but we would like O’Malley and his Democratic counterparts to go one step further and discuss energy productivity and how increased efficiency can help save consumers money and create jobs. In this debate, we would like to hear more from candidates on measures to achieve this goal, including setting “miles per gallon” standards for new buildings, requiring greater transparency in energy costs and retrofitting federal buildings. We would be especially pleased to hear the candidates discuss the importance of increasing investment towards this ambitious target.