It’s been a tough couple of years for many states. Coping with an economic recession, unemployment, and budget shortages has left some states anticipating an austere future. As states attempt to sort out a financial future that makes sense, they are searching for the lowest cost approaches to provide basic resources to their citizens, including affordable power and clean air.
For some, the coupling of affordable power and clean air seems as unlikely to succeed as that unlikely movie couple, Harold and Maude. The problem with this way of thinking, though, is the failure to recognize the lynchpin that can move us towards a future with both. Energy efficiency is the low-cost energy resource that meets the needs of customers while reducing the pollution that comes from the power sector. In fact, energy efficiency reduces all the key pollutants that are generated by power plants and is a resource large enough to offset dozens of old coal-fired power plants. While energy efficiency isn’t flashy and may be a bit of a wallflower in the energy sector, its potential is startling.
So this Valentine’s Day we have a gift for optimists and romantics everywhere. Today ACEEE is publishing a new tool dedicated to helping states and their citizens flourish. The tool is an easy-to-use calculator that lets users get an idea of the costs and air quality benefits of some basic energy efficiency policies and allows them to compare those options with more piecemeal approaches to reducing air pollution. In the coming months, we will provide additional materials, information, and support to folks working on these issues. We invite you all to keep an eye on our evolving web page and let us know what else you would find useful.
This is our Valentine to air, utility, and energy regulators and anyone else who believes in happy endings. We want to allow people to explore a new and different path where both clean air and affordable power can coexist and the success of one strengthens the other. Because the truth is, they fit together perfectly.