The brainiacs at Google and manufacturers in Wisconsin came up with similar conclusions in different studies. Google gazed into the future and predicted the potential for billions in new GDP through green energy. The localized Wisconsin study reviewed a pilot program in place and found millions saved in energy costs and millions in new revenue.
What does all this mean? I'll let the Wisconsin authors respond in a quote from their report:
"The obvious potential for economic growth, environmental impact reduction and job creation simply cannot be ignored...The results clearly establish that economic growth and improved environmental outcomes are not mutually exclusive."
Here is a link to the Wisconsin report, which highlights the Wisconsin Profitable Sustainability Initiative launched in April 2010. Cost-analysis studies of 87 projects and 45 manufacturers calculated $4.1 million in annual savings (projected to $26.9 million over 5 years), $23.5 million in increased/retained sales and a 31-1 return on investment. Here's more.
This study by Google is a bit over my I-barely-made-it-through-geometry head, but I understand the conclusions: Innovation + clean energy policies = a major league economic boon.
Google, in its official blog, summarizes the study, which used McKinsey's Low Carbon Economics Tool to assess economic impacts. Conclusion: Billions in new GDP by 2030; at least 1.1 million new full-time jobs per year; reduction of nearly $1,000 in average annual household energy bills and a decline in U.S. oil consumption of about 1.1 billion barrels per year.
Google, which has invested millions in renewable energy and efficiency programs, also found that sooner rather than later is key, and that strong energy policy combined with innovation speeds up and expands results:
"...A mere five-year delay (2010-2015) in accelerating technology innovation led to $2.3-$3.2 trillion in unrealized GDP, an aggregate 1.2-14 million net unrealized jobs and 8-28 more gigatons of potential GHG emissions by 2050," the report states.
These studies are further evidence that a strong clean-energy program, which should include efficiency as well as innovation, could do wonders, or should I say "trillions," for deficit-wracked budgets.
Increasing revenue and cutting costs. What better budget plan is there?
(Photo of Madison, WI., by plasticboy)