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'Energy Efficiency Vital to Energy Strategy'

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Nevelyn Black's picture
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Nevelyn Black is an independent writer with a background in broadcast and a keen interest in renewable energy.  In the last few years, she transitioned from celebrity interviews and film shoots...

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Texas broke its record demand for electricity last weekend; energy efficiency and curbing energy demand are smart and necessary investments at this time,” said Councilman Mario Bravo (D1).  Not to ‘mess with Texas’ but Sunday’s triple-digit temperatures pushed electricity demand to 74,917 megawatts, which topped the previous record of 74,820 megawatts set on August 12, 2019. 

With record-breaking demand, UT engineer professor and energy expert Michael Webber said there are three things that need to happen.  In an interview with Texas Standard he explained, (1) to meet growing demand more power plants are needed. (2) power plants at the end of their life should be retired and (3) growing electrification like transportation will require building up the infrastructure at a much quicker pace.  While his plans require investment and time, energy efficiency and conservation also play a prominent role in meeting demand.

“We know now we’ve got to do better,” said CPS Energy interim CEO and President Rudy Garza.  The utility has been working with city officials to reach an agreement on their energy efficiency programs.  Garza explained the original plan was designed to save megawatts, however the new program was designed with customer equity in mind. “This new proposal addresses bill savings, equity, emissions reduction, technology innovation to help business and homes, and demand response which supports reliability and resiliency,” said Garza. “We got to market the programs in a different way. We got to do outreach, door to door, to get to those folks.”

Supporting underserved communities by helping identify high-impact energy efficiency solutions builds customer equity and ‘saves megawatts.’  The Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize, launched by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity (ED) with additional funding from the Office of Technology Transitions, is supporting teams of entrepreneurs, community organizers, nonprofits, and academic institutions working to achieve energy justice in the national transition to clean energy.  “Delivering an equitable clean energy transition means we must tear down the structural barriers preventing those most impacted by climate change from receiving the support they need to develop solutions for their communities, said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.

In 1995 the International Energy Agency (EIA) reported: “Energy efficiency is a vital component of the Nation's energy strategy. One of the Department of Energy's missions are to promote energy efficiency to help the Nation manage its energy resources. The ability to define and measure energy efficiency is essential to this objective.”  While a lot has changed since 1995, their mission hasn’t. However, the need for energy efficiency is growing at the same rate as record-breaking demand.  How will utilities keep up?

 

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