It has been written in the media recently that the Legislature is experiencing its first Summer recess in six years thanks to passing a budget on time contrary to our protracted budget negotiations from the last several years. This has provided a perfect opportunity to work on my main passion – producing jobs for California.
As Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Energy Efficiency, I conducted Stakeholder Meetings with high-level decision makers to determine the wisest policy solutions that will dramatically accelerate commercial retrofit activity in California. With a clear understanding of these issues, we can increase investment in energy efficiency and provide savings for building owners, that will help clean the environment, and, most importantly, create tens of thousands of jobs.
I invited key energy efficiency industry representatives from the commercial building industry, energy efficiency supply chain – from manufacture to install, the capital markets, and energy service providers. These focus group meetings aimed to quickly identify challenges and key solutions. My hope is to create an array of solutions and let the market determine which will be most successful. My Senate Bill 343 is designed to be the vehicle for these solutions and I intend to send it to the Governor before this legislative session ends in September.
To give you an idea of the impact from energy efficiency retrofit activity in commercial buildings, if every commercial structure in California were part of a 10-year retrofit program, the annual energy savings in this state would be worth approximately $4.3 billion every year, and would result in the equivalent of reducing the import of foreign oil by 2.3 billion gallons a year. That is the greenhouse gas emissions reduction equivalent of removing 70% of the cars from our roads.
But the most critical benefit is in terms of jobs creation. An investment in energy efficiency as opposed to other energy sources provides a much greater return.
• For every $1 billion invested in a natural gas power plant, 870 jobs are created
• For every $1 billion invested in solar photovoltaic, 1,500 jobs are created.
• But if that same amount of money was invested in energy efficiency retrofits, we would be creating 6,700 jobs.
I will continue to work with all these industry leaders to make sure we put in place solutions that don’t burden existing businesses but create opportunities for them to save energy and for thousands of Californians to be put to work.