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Ameresco President Sakellaris Tells Congress Energy Efficiency Projects Could Produce 3 Million Jobs

Published 05-19-08

Submitted by Ameresco

FRAMINGHAM, MA (May 19, 2008) - Ameresco President and Chief Executive Officer George Sakellaris Thursday told members of a congressional committee examining Global Warming that investments in energy efficiency projects would not only reduce the effects of Climate Change, but also serve as an engine of economic growth creating over three million American jobs.

Sakellaris testified at a recent hearing of the U.S. Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming entitled "Negawatts: The Role of Efficiency Policies in Climate Legislation." The hearing was part of Congress' consideration of cap-and-trade legislation to address climate change and technologies to achieve emissions reductions.

Framingham, Massachusetts-based Ameresco is currently the largest, privately held, independent energy services company (ESCO) providing energy savings performance contracting (ESPC) services in North America with offices throughout the United States and Canada.

The chairman of the Select Committee, Massachusetts U.S. Congressman Edward J. Markey invited Sakellaris to speak about the scale of opportunities for energy savings - and related cost-savings and greenhouse gas emissions reductions - from efficiency measures on a national basis.

In his testimony, Sakellaris stated that the opportunity for energy efficiency saving in the United States is enormous.

"The United States is currently using approximately 47 million barrels of oil equivalent per day or 17.155 billion barrels of oil equivalent per year," Sakellaris told members of the committee. "Based upon on our experience that we have developed over the past 30 years, I believe we as a nation can save at least 20% of that usage."

Sakellaris also shared his position on energy efficiency investments and job growth potential from expanding support for energy efficiency projects.

"If we assume that we can conserve 20%, then the total US productivity improvement is equal to 3.43 billion barrels of oil equivalent savings per year," he said. "At a cost of $100 per barrel, the resulting savings is $343 billion per year. Assuming a seven-year simple payback, a total investment of $2.4 trillion would be required to achieve these savings. Assuming a 15-year plan of implementation $160 billion of investment would be required each year, while creating over 3.2 million jobs."

Greenhouse gas reductions from the current baseline of 5,890 million metric tons should approach 20% or 1,178 million metric tons.

Sakellaris shared a few examples of the type's projects Ameresco has implemented including a $30 million comprehensive energy efficiency project for the Chicago Housing Authority. These projects typically yield 30% to 40% energy savings by implementing building envelope, lighting, heating, and cooling and appliance energy saving measures.

In 2005, the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) hired Ameresco to save 5 MW for its customers who use 145 kW more of power. In two years, working with local contractors, Ameresco saved 5 MW of capacity from a broad mix of customers, e.g., supermarkets, retail stores, parking garages, manufacturers, office buildings, warehouses, etc. Savings were demonstrated through measurement and verification procedures using the International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol required for federal ESPC projects and approved by LIPA.

"Congress should include energy efficiency as an integral part of any climate change legislation," Sakellaris said. "The legislation should include Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS) that include quantitative end use energy savings targets, to accelerate the implementation of energy efficiency equipment, the federal government should require all retail sellers of energy (e.g., electric utilities, gas utilities, oil dealers, etc.) to make investments such that 1.6% of their current energy sold is saved every year.

Sakellaris further stated that allowances should be held in trust for the public good.

"We are opposed to the grandfathering of emissions allowances to firms based upon historical emissions," he said. "The allowances should be sold through public auction. The Congress should prescribe how the proceeds from the auction should be distributed. We recommend that at least 50% of the proceeds be dedicated to energy efficiency investments. By investing in energy efficiency the Congress can reduce overall energy costs for individual consumers, businesses and institutions. These investments will also reduce energy demand, emissions and mitigate the overall cost of a cap and trade program."

Ameresco provides a full array of services to clients that include energy conservation measures, alternative forms of energy through our renewable division and solar electric systems, known as photovoltaic (PV) technology

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Ameresco, Inc., is the largest independent comprehensive energy solutions provider in North America. Headquartered in Framingham Massachusetts, Ameresco utilizes innovative strategies, systems, and technologies for renewable and sustainable energy generation and infrastructure renewal, thereby reducing operating expenses, increasing energy reliability and enhancing the environment. With over 30 years of history, Ameresco’s projects represent nearly $4 billion USD worth of energy projects worldwide.

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