Energy: The challenge in numbers

Why a better future rests on a better energy system

Coal-burning power plant.

Coal-burning power plant.

The environmental costs of energy are high — and getting higher

  • 65% of global warming pollution is estimated to come from energy generation and use.1

We’re paying in dollars, too

  • $25 billion paid by consumers every year for electricity estimated to be lost to inefficient transmission and distribution.2

  • $150 billion lost every year to power outages and blackouts in the U.S.3

We can do better with smart, clean energy

Energy efficiency: what if we just didn’t throw energy away?

  • $108 billion spent each year on energy bills for commercial buildings.4

  • 30% of energy used by commercial buildings could be cut through investments in energy efficiency.5

Smart grids will help us manage energy flow

We’re about to spend $1.5 trillion to upgrade and expand the electric grid over the next 25 years.6 What if we make the grid smarter? (Here’s what a smart grid is.)

  • 30% cut in global warming pollution from the electric sector with a fully deployed smart grid.7

  • 25% cut in global warming pollution from transportation with a fully deployed smart grid.8

Clean energy is part of a bright economic future

  • 3.7% total job growth from 1998-2007.9

  • 9% growth in clean energy jobs from 1998-2007.10

From the field: Austin, Texas

Austin and other cities are piloting new systems that mix solar energy, smart appliances and better data.

See how the smart grid is coming to life »

Video: See how clean energy strengthens our economy, creates jobs, allows energy independence and lessens our carbon footprint.

  1. EDF calculations based on World Resources Institute Climate Analysis Indicators Tool (subscription required); includes emissions from land-use change and forestry.
  2. National Energy Technology Laboratory, Modern Grid Benefits [PDF] (August 2007) 14.
  3. Data from U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Annual 2009 - State Data Tables (2011).
  4. Energy Information Administration, Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS): Table C2A. Total Energy Expenditures by Major Fuel for All Buildings, 2003. (September 2008).
  5. Flex Your power, Commercial sector.
  6. The Brattle Group for The Edison Foundation, Transforming America’s Power Industry: The Investment Challenge 2010-2030 [PDF] (November 2008) vi.
  7. EDF estimate based on studies by Pacific Northwest National Lab and Silver Spring studies as well as U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2010; Electric Vehicles in the United States: A New Model with Forecasts to 2030," Becker, Thomas A., ,Ikhlaq Sidhu, Burghardt Tenderich, Electric Vehicles in the United States a New Model with Forecasts to 2030 [PDF]; and Austin Energy, 2010 Annual Report of System Information.
  8. Ibid.
  9. The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Clean Energy Economy: Repowering Jobs, Businesses and Investments Across America [PDF] (June 2009).
  10. Ibid.