Commission lays out U.S. energy efficiency roadmap through 2030

Thu Feb 7, 2013 3:54pm EST

* Panel wants energy savings to be considered in mortgages

* Efficiency has bipartisan support in Congress - lawmaker

* Report says measures would increase GDP by up to 2 pct

By Ayesha Rascoe

WASHINGTON, Feb 7 (Reuters) - The United States can double energy productivity over the next 20 years by boosting investments in energy efficiency, reforming tax credits for energy savings and engaging state and local governments, a report released on Thursday said.

With a new session of Congress beginning, the report laid out a sweeping vision for cutting the energy used to support a growing U.S. economy by 2030.

"This is an issue we can get done," Senator Mark Warner, co-chairman of the Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy set up by the Alliance to Save Energy, said at a news conference.

Energy efficiency is one of the few areas of energy policy that analysts say might gain traction among deeply divided lawmakers this year.

Warner, a Virginia Democrat, said there was bipartisan support for efficiency measures in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Members of the panel were scheduled to meet officials at the White House on Thursday to discuss the report.

The commission, made up of a broad coalition of corporate officials, politicians and environmentalists, said energy and transportation savings should be included in mortgages backed by federal agencies.

Tax credits for energy efficiency should be reformed and extended, while federal investment in research and development should increase, the report also urged.

Another measure outlined in the report is a "race-to-the-top" style competition in which states would be rewarded with funding and technical assistance for adopting policy and regulatory reforms.

The costs associated with some of these recommendations could face resistance given the tight federal budget, but the report stressed the reforms would ultimately cut average household energy costs by more than $1,000 a year and increase the Gross Domestic Product by up to 2 percent.

The report said the measures could also add 1.3 million jobs to the U.S. economy by 2030 and reduce carbon emissions by a third.

"What this report says is there is a false choice between investing in more efficient energy ... and a growing economy," said former New York governor George Pataki, another member of the commission.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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