02/29/16 : David Caughran

What Can the Next U.S. President Do for Energy Efficiency?

With the race to succeed President Obama in full swing, we want to reflect on all that his administration has done to advance energy efficiency: enactment of S. 535, Energy Efficiency Improvement Act Of 2015; the establishment of aggressive appliance, equipment and fuel economy standards; new requirements for federal building efficiency improvements, and a landmark emissions-reduction plan.

Looking ahead, we see three major ways the next president could build upon the current administration’s energy efficiency accomplishments and, in turn, help the country find common ground, increase national security, reduce carbon emissions and more. As we peer into our “crystal ball”, we can imagine the outcome of positive energy efficiency actions the next administration could take.

1.The next president rallies bipartisan and widespread support for energy efficiency—our cleanest, cheapest and most reliable energy resource.

In the most impactful moments, such as the general election victory speech or the State of the Union address, the next president could help find common ground by emphasizing a determination to build strong bipartisan national energy efficiency policy that everyone can agree on. What better way to start off one’s tenure than by bringing people together around policies that are good for the economy, the environment and our national security?

2.The next president invests in our nation’s infrastructure by modernizing our aging electric power grid.

Electricity use accounts for roughly 40 percent of the nation’s primary energy consumption, making the grid a key component of driving transformational change in energy productivity. Our next President could help make our grid more resilient to outages and security threats, lower operating costs for utilities, and allow the integration of cleaner power sources by making a strong push to bring our power grid into the 21st century.  

3.The next president positions the U.S. as the global leader in energy efficiency.

The next President commits to U.S. leadership in creating a better, healthier planet for the next generation through innovation, investment in clean energy and carbon reduction across sectors. The president could work with U.S. companies to improve energy productivity in their own facilities and factories, ushering in a new era defined by using American ingenuity to meet environmental challenges and businesses focusing on sustainable practices to improve their bottom line. The benefits will extend beyond U.S. borders, promising clearer air, cleaner water and a healthier environment for all.  

Let’s face it: We don’t need a crystal ball to tell us that energy policy will be a major area of focus for the next president. And it’s safe to say that energy efficiency will be a prominent issue for whomever takes the oath of office.