[Editor's note: Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., is guest-moderating and providing the question this week.]
Increasing energy efficiency can be a powerful catalyst to turbo charge our economy and make us more competitive. Efficiency and productivity gains have a long track record of helping consumers and businesses reduce the amount of energy they are using. In fact, without efficiency the U.S. would need nearly 50% more energy than we use today, according to the Alliance to Save Energy. Until now, most of the attention has been paid to how we can save energy, rather than how we can get more out of the energy we use, and how increasing energy productivity can boost the economy. Understanding how to leverage efficiency gains to create a more productive energy economy is something that can yield huge benefits.
The Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy has been studying various technologies and policy options to create a set of policies that would provide a blueprint to double energy productivity over the next 20 years. On February 7, I will join my fellow commissioners in unveiling recommendations on how to achieve this goal and "get more bang for our energy buck". This "Energy 2030" plan provides policy solutions through investments, modernization, and education and includes an in depth analysis that shows how these gains in energy productivity can increase U.S. GDP up to 2%, create annual savings of $327 billion, and save the average household $1,039.
Energy efficiency is also one area in energy policy which has a long history of bipartisan support. In the final days of the last Congress, lawmakers approved energy efficiency advancements and voted to extend energy efficiency tax relief through 2013. I hope that this Congress can work together in a bipartisan manner to produce a robust energy efficiency plan that will result in positive impacts across our economy.