Increasing Local Jobs and Prosperity of our Communities
Through Energy Efficiency

The emerging evidence is beginning to document a highly disturbing fact. Rather than the use of more resources, it is an ongoing pattern of greater energy and resource efficiencies or productivities that will more likely maintain a robust and resilient local economy. Alternatively, it might be said that the continued inefficient use of energy and other resources may actually erode the economic vitality of any given region or nation. And the bad news? Neither the United States nor the global economy is especially energy or resource-efficient. Whether electricity, natural gas, or gasoline, for example, the American economy wastes about 85 percent of all the energy it now consumes. While there are nations such as Germany and Japan, which are marginally better, the sheer magnitude of waste within any region imposes a huge array of costs that, in turn, constrains the overall vigor of any city, county, state or national economy.

The questions we ask here: if energy prices prove more volatile, if energy supplies are disrupted, or if energy expenditures continue to rise slowly because of more consumption and greater costs, how might these “stresses” impact local businesses and consumers as well as industrial operations and governmental services? And. . . How might those disruptions, in turn, affect local jobs, economic productivity, and overall economic well-being? As but one example, in an assessment done for a region of 4 million people in northern France, the Energy Stress Test™ suggested that a slow steady increase in energy costs over the years 2020 through 2050 might lead to an erosion of 70,000 jobs over that period. On the other hand, more productive energy investments could actually lead to a net gain of 100,000 jobs in that same time frame.

The Energy Stress Test™ is a tool that can provide business and community leaders with new insights and information to suggest ways that minimize future economic stresses. It can even estimate quantitatively and qualitatively the range of net economic development benefits which might flow from improvements in the overall energy productivity within a given economic region. The resulting analysis and report will characterize the financial and economic impacts on the regional economy, and on utilities as well as energy suppliers and their customers. The Energy Stress Test™ can be applied further to other resources such as materials, water, soil, and municipal solid waste. The analytical techniques can also be used to assess the robustness of individual businesses and natural gas and electric utilities. Ask us how!

— Economic and Human Dimensions Research Associates