The energy efficiency industry has been severely impacted by COVID-19. The Alliance’s proposals can help workers get back on the job quickly while addressing long-term recovery.
Responding To The COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused lasting health and economic consequences that require sustained recovery efforts. Even as businesses reopen, unemployment rates remain high, particularly for low-wage jobs and for Black and Latino workers. In the energy efficiency sector alone, nearly 272,000 jobs were lost in 2020 – the hardest hit clean energy sector due to the in-person, capital-intensive nature of the work. As energy efficiency was producing more new jobs than any other energy sector in 2019, this decline threatens to set the sector back for years to come without targeted recovery measures.
While we will support a number of policy solutions, including longtime priorities such as expanding weatherization programs and federal financing opportunities, we have developed four priorities focused on stimulating economic activity and creating jobs: modernizing energy efficiency tax incentives, creating a federal grant program for small business energy efficiency retrofits, launching a campaign to retrofit critical public buildings, and expanding investments in efficient transportation and infrastructure.
We will continue to update this page with the latest information and efforts, so please continue to check back.
Expansion of Energy Efficiency Tax Credits
As was done under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we are working to modernize and expand energy efficiency tax incentives for homes and buildings. This would include, for example, increasing the incentive cap for the Sec. 25C tax incentive for homeowner efficiency improvements to stimulate homeowner investments in the future, and expanding the Sec. 179D buildings incentive to drive deeper retrofits.
Read a recent letter sent to the Hill signed by more than 1,000 organizations calling for the expansion of the Sec. 25 C tax incentive for homeowner energy efficiency
Learn more about Alliance tax priorities
Main Street Efficiency Act
Small businesses are the backbone of our nation’s economy, but were the hardest hit by the pandemic’s impact. Up to 34% of small businesses remain closed compared to January 2020. To offer these businesses a permanent reduction in their operating expenses and support long-term financial stability, we developed a proposal for a federal grant program that would provide these businesses with low- and no-cost energy efficiency upgrades. Legislation based on this proposal was introduced in August 2021 as the Main Street Efficiency Act by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.).
- Have your business or organization sign on to our letter urging Congressional leadership to move forward with the Main Street Efficiency Act
- Find out more about the Main Street Efficiency Act and additional resources
- Watch a Sept. 2021 policy perspectives session with Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and other Main Street Efficiency Act supporters on the importance of the legislation
- Read stories of how energy efficiency benefits small business owners
Open Back Better Act
We have also developed a proposal for funding retrofits in public buildings that would improve the safety and resiliency of critical spaces while locking in decades of energy cost savings and emissions reductions through efficiency measures. Legislation based on this proposal has been introduced by Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) and Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) as the Open Back Better Act, with 40% of funding dedicated to environmental justice and disadvantaged communities.
Find out more about the Open Back Better Act and additional resources
Watch Rep. Blunt Rochester explain the need to Open Back Better in an EE Global Forum 2021 session.
Transportation and Infrastructure Investments
We are working with our 50x50 Transportation Action Network to identify opportunities for transportation infrastructure investments that will create jobs and deliver a more efficient and sustainable transportation sector. For this work, we are drawing on priorities developed by the 50x50 Commission on Transportation Sector Efficiency from 2017-2019, including investments in electrification infrastructure, port and airport modernization, public transit, and emerging technologies and trends.
- Find out more about the Transportation and Infrastructure Proposal
- Read our blog on What Does A Biden Administration Mean For Efficient Transportation?
- Report: A Stalled Recovery Hinders America’s Largest Clean Energy Sector, Alliance blog (Oct. 5, 2021)
- Expanding The 25C Tax Credit Is A No-Brainer For Climate Action, Alliance guest blog by NAIMA President and CEO Curt Rich (Oct. 5, 2021)
- Your Primer For What To Expect In The Budget Reconciliation Process, Alliance blog (Sept. 9, 2021)
- Funding needed for small businesses – the economy's backbone, op-ed in the Wilmington Star News by Alliance Board Member Adam Procell and local business owner J. Michael Hutson (Sept. 3, 2021)
- All You Need To Know About Energy Efficiency In The Bipartisan Deal, Alliance blog (Aug. 19, 2021)
- From Paula Glover: What You Can Do To Help Build Back Brighter, Alliance blog (Aug. 10, 2021)
- How Congress Can Save Taxpayers More Than $100 Billion On Infrastructure, Alliance blog (July 27, 2021)
- The Clean Energy Economy Has A Diversity Problem. Let’s Change That As We Build Back, op-ed in Canary Media by Alliance President Paula Glover (July 23, 2021)
- We're overlooking one of the best solutions for creating clean jobs, op-ed in The Hill by Alliance President Paula Glover (April 16, 2021)
- The Lessons We Can’t Forget From One Year of COVID-19, Alliance blog (March 18, 2021)
- Energy efficiency should be baked into pandemic recovery, op-ed in The Hill by Alliance President Paula Glover (Jan. 22, 2021)
- Open Back Better Act legislative text
- Main Street Efficiency Act legislative text
- Letter to Congressional leadership on infrastructure and budget reconciliation (Oct. 1, 2021)
- Build Back Better budget reconciliation factsheet (Sept. 15, 2021)
- Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act factsheet (Aug. 10, 2021)
- Written Testimony to Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy (Feb. 18, 2021)
What We're Reading
Read about the global implications of the pandemic via the IEA's COVID-19 Hub.
- His climate push stalled, Biden looks to infrastructure law, E&E, Feb. 22, 2022
- 'Nobody is ready:' Many U.S. cities lack resources to chase $1 trillion infrastructure windfall, Reuters, Feb. 10, 2022
- Americans' satisfaction with energy policy is at its lowest in two decades. Blame gas prices, CNN, Feb. 2, 2022
- Inflation means some are getting big heating bills this winter. How to stay warm and keep costs down, CNBC, Jan. 31, 2022
- Biden resets BBB: 'I think we can break the package up', Jan. 20, 2022
- Emissions set to rise with global power demand - IEA, Reuters, Jan. 14, 2022
- What's ahead for 'Build Back Better': 4 scenarios, E&E, Jan. 3, 2022
- Manchin Pulls Support From Biden’s Social Policy Bill, Imperiling Its Passage, New York Times, Dec. 19, 2021
- Senate Democrats release updated reconciliation tax plan, E&E, Dec. 13, 2021
- Chart: Surprise! Energy efficiency is the climatetech employment giant, Canary Media, Nov. 19, 2021
- House Passes the Largest Expenditure on Climate in U.S. History, New York Times, Nov. 19, 2021
- Schumer eyes pre-Christmas vote on reconciliation bill, E&E, Nov. 17, 2021
- Biden signs infrastructure bill, promoting benefits for Americans, New York Times, Nov. 15, 2021
- How the infrastructure bill will fight climate change and advance clean energy, Canary Media, Nov. 8, 2021
- Winter Heating Bills Loom as the Next Inflation Threat, New York Times, Nov. 8, 2021
- Latest National Climate Plans Still Fall Far Short, U.N. Report Warns, New York Times, Oct. 26, 2021
- 'Brown recovery' wipes out hopes that pandemic stimulus would drive climate spending, POLITICO, Oct. 19, 2021
- White House economists say a clean energy transition will lower consumer costs, CNN, Sept. 16, 2021
- The House’s big budget reconciliation bill would be a bonanza for clean energy, Canary Media, Sept. 12, 2021
- The Infrastructure Plan: What’s In and What’s Out, New York Times, July 28, 2021
- Only 2% of the pandemic recovery spending is going to clean energy, Fast Company, July 20, 2021
- Energy efficiency's job potential, POLITICO, June 22, 2021
- EV Charging Stations Can Benefit Local Economies, Governing, June 11, 2021
- Biden decarbonization focus shifts to buildings, with goal to triple efficiency, see up to $200B in savings, Utility Dive, May 19, 2021
- Biden: Climate action anchors domestic, global agenda, E&E, April 29, 2021
- As Biden touts clean-energy jobs, here's what employment in the field looks like today, CBS News, April 22, 2021
- The Pandemic’s Toll on Clean Energy: More Than 300,000 Lost Jobs in 2020, Morning Consult, April 19, 2021
- Environmental Justice Plays a Key Role in Biden’s Covid-19 Stimulus Package, Inside Climate News, March 14, 2021
- Study: Equivalent of COVID emissions drop is needed every 2 years, Grist, March 8, 2021
- 2020 Green Stimulus Spending in the World’s Major Economies, Rhodium Group, February 4, 2021
- Biden wants millions of clean-energy related jobs. Can it happen?, CNN, February 2, 2021
- Pandemic delays leave many nations facing climate action catch-up in 2021, Reuters, January 8, 2021
- Funding challenges limit minority-owned businesses' access to energy efficiency, Energy News Network, January 4, 2021
- Clean Energy Can Power America’s Economic Recovery, Greentech Media, December 18, 2020
- Lessons from the Great Recession for COVID-19 green recovery, GreenBiz, December 10, 2020
- Energy Efficiency Led US Energy Job Growth is a Best Bet to Lead Sector’s Recovery in 2021, Boston Real State Times, November 19, 2020
- Smart cities: A key element for the green recovery, GreenBiz, September 29, 2020
- 10 Charts Show the Economic Benefits of US Climate Action, World Resources Institute, July 28, 2020
- Energy Efficiency Key To Covid Recovery, BloombergNEF, June 26, 2020
- Energy-efficiency industry group presses for tax credits, Roll Call, June 4, 2020
- Nearly 800 businesses request expanded home upgrade credit, E&E News, June 4, 2020
- Efficiency sector gets creative to stem COVID-19 job losses, maintain energy savings, Utility Dive, April 13, 2020
- Energy Efficiency Industry Seeks Aid as House Panel Seeks Ideas, Bloomberg Environment, April 10, 2020
- Energy efficiency can boost economies quickly, with long-lasting benefits, IEA, April 8, 2020
- 'Horrible.' Coronavirus unravels energy efficiency industry, E&E News, April 7, 2020
- Energy efficiency efforts are shutting down due to COVID-19, threatening jobs and savings, Utility Dive, April 6, 2020
- US Coronavirus Response: 3 Principles for Sustainable Economic Stimulus, World Resources Institute, March 20, 2020
- Put clean energy at the heart of stimulus plans to counter the coronavirus crisis, IEA, March 14, 2020
- Responding to Coronavirus: Low-carbon Investments Can Help Economies Recover, World Resources Institute, March 12, 2020
Read about the global implications of the pandemic via the IEA's COVID-19 Hub.
COVID-19 Response RESOURCES
Help the Alliance advocate for policies to use energy more efficiently – supporting job creation, reduced emissions, and lower costs. Contact your member of Congress.
Energy efficiency is smart, nonpartisan, and practical. So are we. Our strength comes from an unparalleled group of Alliance Associates working collaboratively under the Alliance umbrella to pave the way for energy efficiency gains.
The power of efficiency is in your hands. Supporting the Alliance means supporting a vision for using energy more productively to achieve economic growth, a cleaner environment, and greater energy security, affordability, and reliability.