In the past 10 days I have talked to several people who referred to the “grief counseling” that they have been doing with friends, family, and colleagues around the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). I was recounting to one of them that when I started my career in energy efficiency – about a dozen years ago – we talked primarily about climate change mitigation, but that over the past several years the language has changed to climate change stabilization and resilience. Our industry has known that this news was coming.
So what can we do?
We can mourn the climate stability that we have lost. We can fear for our children’s future. We can be angry at our collective indifference to a crisis that was identified almost 50 years ago. And then we can get to work. Addressing this crisis will give us a chance to rethink our systems, to reallocate resources differently, to build a clean energy future in which the benefits flow more equitably than they do in the carbon economy.
NEEP’s mission is to accelerate regional progress to reduce the amount of energy we consume and to advance the decarbonization of our homes, buildings, and communities. We have always focused on energy efficiency as the foundation of a clean, resilient, and equitable energy future. In light of the urgency that the IPCC report highlighted, reducing consumption and shifting demand so that we can equitably decarbonize our economy is more important than ever.
Energy efficiency reduces emissions now, even as we race to develop and deploy more carbon-free sources of energy. Efficiency measures like home weatherization and grid-connected buildings enhance climate resilience and protect human health in the face of a more hostile climate. Energy efficiency lowers bills, and provides stable, good-paying, local jobs which can support an equitable economic recovery.
NEEP works across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, covering 12 states and the District of Columbia – jurisdictions that lead the nation in policy solutions, energy efficiency and electrification programs, and “bending the curve” – to keep energy consumption flat as economic growth continues.
NEEP’sin September will focus on real solutions that these states, cities, and industry are implementing successfully now, such as changing the way efficiency programs are structured to incorporate goals around climate stabilization and equity and adapting concepts of resiliency to the COVID era. Anne McKibbin, Director of Policy at Elevate Energy, will speak with practitioners about how their work drives equity in energy efficiency program and funding models, bringing the benefits of efficiency and electrification to historically underserved customers. The sessions will include deep dives into what individual communities and states are doing to accelerate progress in energy efficiency and decarbonization. I will be speaking with Anna Maria Garcia from the Department of Energy and Maggie Molina from the Environmental Protection Agency, exploring how their agencies are partnering with state and local communities to drive the Biden Administration’s climate and clean energy goals.
The sessions will also include discussion about game-changing ideas, including a closer look at the potential, and potential pitfalls, of green hydrogen. Smart Electric Power Alliance’s Jared Leader will discuss how a microgrid can serve an underserved community with activist Maria Belen Powers. Rich Sedano, President of the Regulatory Assistance Project, will explore how collaboration between energy and environmental experts can break open new policy models to address climate change.
These solutions are imperfect, messy, slow, and incremental, but they are real, and they are addressing our climate crisis and our inequitable carbon economy head on, in a community like yours. For 25 years, NEEP has accelerated regional progress in energy efficiency by fostering collaboration and innovation. With the 2021 Summit Sessions, our goal is to inspire action by highlighting what’s working now and what’s on the horizon that can move us closer to a clean, equitable, healthy, resilient energy future.
now to join us at NEEP Summit Sessions 2021: Reimagining & Rebuilding Communities.