From a news release issued by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission:

MADISON – A report, commissioned by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) and prepared by the Energy Center of Wisconsin (Energy Center), shows that by 2012 the state could generate $900 million in net energy cost savings for each year energy efficiency program investments are made. The report addresses opportunities for electricity and natural gas savings across the residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural sectors.

The report states that annual reductions in electricity usage could reach 1.6 percent per year by 2012 while meeting needs of economic growth. Electricity usage in the state has grown roughly 1.2 percent per year since 2000. Annual reductions in natural gas usage could reach 1.0 percent by 2012. Natural gas consumption has declined since 2000 by 0.1 percent per year.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for Wisconsin to grow the economy,” said Governor Doyle. “When energy costs are low, it frees up money for consumers to spend elsewhere and helps businesses to save money and so they can grow.”

“The study shows that it is possible to generate economic growth and change the trajectory of our energy use,” said PSC Chairperson Eric Callisto. “This study showcases the multi-faceted benefits of energy efficiency as a strategy.”

Savings from efficiency efforts for both electricity and natural gas would generate between 7,000 and 9,000 net jobs in Wisconsin. Susan Stratton, executive director of the Energy Center, agrees. Most important, she noted is the compounding effect of the economic benefits over time. “Each year that we invest in efficiency programs the dollars saved continue to accrue, economic development and job opportunities grow and greenhouse gas emissions drop further.”