Energy efficiency + renewables = jobs, studies say

A pair of studies released Monday point to potential jobs created and cost savings for utility customers if Florida pursued aggressive policies to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Georgia Tech and Duke University researchers, who released a report “Energy Efficiency in the South,” said adoption of nine energy efficient technologies and practices in Florida over the next 10 years could create 65,300 jobs, conserve 8.6 billion gallons of water and save $7.4 billion for residential, commercial and industrial consumers. The nine technologies and practices include more aggressive building code enforcement, incentives for energy-efficient appliances and expanded home weather-proofing assistance.

“There is a lot of evidence we (in the South) are far behind but poised for action and ready to improve,” Marilyn Brown of Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy told reporters on a conference call.

In Florida, a proposed committee substitute for SB 992 by Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami and chairman of the Senate Committee on Communications, Energy and Public Utilities, would allow utilities to charge customers in advance for projects to produce up to 700 megawatts of renewable energy.

A study by the Washington Economics Group said that measure would create 40,000 new jobs and increase economic activity in Florida by $8.1 billion. SB 992 is similar to EUP6, which received initial approval Friday from the House Energy & Utilities Policy Committee.

(Story content provided by the Current, produced by The Florida Tribune. Story copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and Do not copy or redistribute without permission.)