WHAT IS NC SAVE$ ENERGY?

NC SAVE$ ENERGY is an initiative by a growing number of organizations to create a statewide, independent (non-utility) energy efficiency program. It will keep savings on energy bills in the hands of residential customers, while serving those who can least afford rising energy costs.                                                         NC SAVE$ ENERGY would create a publicly-managed, independent fund to pay for energy efficiency projects for homes, local government buildings, hospitals, and schools. This program will create good North Carolina jobs, save people money, protect the environment, and ensure healthy, safe homes and buildings across the state.                                                                                        NC SAVE$ ENERGY is based on the experiences of six other states’ cost-effective independent energy efficiency programs.

Energy Efficiency Creates FAR More Jobs Than the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Could

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), a proposed 42 inch high pressure natural gas line planned to run through 8 eastern NC Counties (Northampton, Halifax, Nash, Wilson, Johnston, Sampson, Cumberland and Robeson), presents serious economic, environmental justice and safety concerns—and all to supposedly meet energy needs for which there are far better solutions. The lead pipeline builders, Dominion Resources and Duke Energy, contend that the ACP is needed in order to supply Eastern NC with its growing energy demand, but there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary. While Duke Energy has projected 1.4% growth annually in electricity demand, actual growth has been less than 0.5% and with far more cost effective and job creating energy efficiency spending, that growth could be flattened or gradually reversed.

Natural gas extraction from the Marcellus Shale is already declining. It’s very likely that natural gas in this shale basin will run out long before the contract with the pipeline company ACP LLC (owned by Duke Energy and Dominion Resources) is completed, meaning that NC and VA electric customers would be stuck paying for a stranded asset on their Duke and Dominion electric bills. The existing Transco Pipeline, which runs past Charlotte and Greensboro, carries more than enough natural gas for NC in the years to come. We need to be working to reduce our fossil fuel consumption to stabilize energy costs and slow climate change.

The ACP would only create 18 permanent jobs in NC!  Energy efficiency has the ability to create thousands of locally based jobs in NC that pay better than a living wage. Even with limited funds available to help drive the market toward energy efficiency, moderate efficiency initiatives would still create between 1,600 – 12,800 jobs statewide, paying between $22,500-45,000. Notablly, energy efficiency also offers good paying jobs in low income rural areas, where jobs are scarce.

Many businesses and homes in NC desperately need energy efficiency upgrades, not just to save energy, but to save money. Each household that participated in the Weatherization Assistance Program in NC saved an average of $173/month on their electric bills. This program aims to add more installations in homes, from insulation to  incorporating energy efficient lightbulbs and windows.

The natural gas needed to fuel proposed gas-fired power plants in NC is already flowing through the existing Transco Pipeline, but even gas powered plants release high levels of methane, a far stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. We should be phasing out ALL uses of fossil fuels, for our health, for our economy and to slow climate change. Energy efficiency will create far more permanent jobs than the ACP, and those jobs will be more evenly spread to rural, low income areas. Instead of building another pipeline, NC must focus on energy efficiency initiatives and renewable power generation to replace fossil fuel plants, a far better plan for our future.

Federal Cuts to Energy Efficiency Deepen Economic Injustice

Federal energy efficiency programs and funding are on the chopping block for budget cuts in 2017 and 2018. Low income folks are more at risk from these budget cuts as HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) will be cut by 6.2 billion dollars, a cut of 13%. Communities will lose funding they need to repair and build affordable homes as funding will be eliminated for the Weatherization Assistance Program and HUD Community Development Block grants. Thousands of skilled construction and weatherization jobs will be eliminated–jobs that provided a living wage to many residents in rural communities.

Rural folks will be severely impacted by budget cuts to important programs, including the Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions grants, which helps rural electric co-ops finance energy efficiency and other cost-saving measures for residents they serve. Small business will also lose out on financial help with energy efficiency upgrades as funding for the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development budget will be slashed.

Energy efficiency programs help to save low income residents money, and provide respectable, permanent jobs to local workers. Please join NC SAVE$ ENERGY to advocate for protecting critical energy efficiency funding!  Contact your Congressional Representative today, and tell them that you don’t agree with the budget cuts that will impact energy efficiency programs!  Use this to find your Representative’s contact info: (http://whoismyrepresentative.com/)

This information is based on a blog post by ACEEE (American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy), linked here: http://aceee.org/blog/2017/03/energy-efficiency-budget-cuts-could.  ACEEE is a nonprofit organization that focuses on advancing energy efficiency policies, programs and technologies.

 

We are revitalizing the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Alliance to advocate for protecting and restoring funding and programs for the most cost-effective, job-creating and environmentally just energy spending of all—ENERGY EFFICIENCY for homes, institutional buildings and businesses!

 

Energy Efficiency: The Investment for Future Jobs and our Climate

Energy efficiency is far and away the most cost-effective and job creating way to free up energy resources that would otherwise be wasted. There is a mad dash going on to build natural gas pipelines in order for utilities and pipeline companies to cash in on up to a 14% rate of return allowed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for pipeline projects. This rush to build is apparently responsible for more incidents on recently built pipelines on average than those built before 1940!

About 40% of our energy is wasted simply in the use of fossil fuels, made worse by the relatively low efficiency (typically about 35%) of electric generating plants that depend on coal, oil or natural gas. Relying solely on renewable energy, we’d be far more efficient than using natural gas as a “bridge fuel.” Gas extraction and pipelines releases large quantities of methane which contributes more powerfully than carbon dioxide to climate change, especially in the near term. This means the time to switch directly to efficient lighting, heating and other uses and to renewable energy is now! Building pipelines only interferes with investments in cost-effective, job creating renewables and infrastructure.