Can rebuilding our cities and transportation system be part of this green gold rush?
The Berkeley study is different in that it focuses as much on historical data as on modeling the future. California’s energy-efficiency policies were adopted in 1978, long before the widespread push for greenhouse-gas reductions, but the data they provide is highly relevant to the current economic debate.
Professor Roland-Holst said that he based his calculations on residential spending on electricity over the last 30 years, factoring in both the decrease in per-capita demand for electricity — now 40 percent below the national average — and the increase in California’s electrical rates, which were about 40 percent above the national average in June, the latest month for which data is available. Household spending represents more than 70 percent of the gross state product.
Historically, Professor Roland-Holst said, the decrease in per-capita demand for electricity outstripped the increase in rates. Much of the economic growth, the study said, was driven by both efficiency standards for large appliances like refrigerators and for residential and commercial buildings.
In an interview, Professor Roland-Holst said, “What I wanted to do to support the forward-looking vision is go back and look at the evidence we have in front of us.”
New York Times