Yesterday the Obama Administration released the final Clean Power Plan. This plan represents a historic step in our nation’s response to climate change. Those who work in this industry know that a changing climate is leading to more extreme weather, drought, and more sever wildfires. It is also having a direct impact on human health, increasing rates of diseases like asthma, and putting those who are most at risk directly in harms way.
The Clean Power Plan addresses a key loophole in our nations carbon emissions. While we have addressed vehicles, buildings, and other sources of pollution, we have ignored our nation’s largest source of carbon pollution – that which results from the generation and use of power. Specifically the rule aims to reduce carbon emissions by 30% from a 2005 baseline by 2030.
For those of us in the energy efficiency industry the Clean Power Plan presents an opportunity. While the EPA removed energy efficiency as one of the blocks for setting state targets, states can use energy efficiency as a compliance tool. This change was meant to protect the act from state law suits which might have contended that “consumer oriented efficiency” what not something a state has control over and therefor should not be included in their baseline. That noted the plan does cite energy efficiency as a key tool in state plans with a particular focus on programs and approaches that addresses energy efficiency for low-income households and customers.
Our future, this is why we do what we do.
As an industry we need to be sure we do not waste this opportunity. Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and while it is exciting to see the Clean Power Plan finally pushing for action on this issue, it is incumbent upon us to not let this opportunity go to waste. Both as professionals and citizens we need to make sure that the lowest cost kWh, those that are driven through efficiency, are a key component of addressing the global challenge we face today.
It is time for us to make some noise and to make it clear that what we do is a proven and relevant solution.
At ILLUME, we recognize that we are not just doing this work to count efficient widgets, to understand the impacts of behavior change, or to use analytics to better target and speak to customers. We are doing this because we believe we have an obligation to leave a healthy and thriving planet for our children and our society. Not one that just meets carbon goals, but one that fosters the dreams and aspirations of all human beings on this planet.