Groups Agree: Strong Energy Efficiency Program Ready to Go
Environmental organizations today reached an agreement with Duke Energy Carolinas and North Carolina Utilities Commission Public Staff under which the company agrees to meet an aggressive energy savings target and cap earnings from energy efficiency programs at levels that protect customers’ interests in fair rates while still encouraging strong performance.
Consistent with the recommendations of national efficiency experts, the agreement sets a target to reduce energy demand by almost 2 percent within four years—compared to only 1.2 percent in four years under Duke’s original proposal–with the potential to achieve energy savings of over 8 percent within 10 years. If Duke Energy achieves its target, the cumulative energy savings impact will reach almost 6,800 gigawatt-hours by 2020–slightly more than the annual output of an 800-megawatt power plant like Cliffside.
An agreement in principle was also reached to file a similar agreement in South Carolina this summer.
Energy efficiency is the cleanest, cheapest way to defer or avoid the need for expensive, polluting new power plants, protecting the climate, public health and customers’ wallets. The agreement provides Duke Energy with a strong incentive to achieve energy savings while ensuring that customers benefit financially through low-cost energy efficiency measures rather than paying for expensive new power plants.
Today’s agreement also provides for a strong stakeholder advisory group composed of environmental, consumer, low-income and business interests to ensure transparency and encourage new ideas.
The groups opposed Duke Energy’s original “Save a Watt” proposal because it would have yielded meager energy savings while charging customers too much.
Today all parties to the agreement–Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, the Southern Environmental Law Center, North Carolina Utilities Commission Public Staff, and Duke Energy Carolinas–jointly filed the settlement agreement with the North Carolina Utilities Commission for approval.
The South Carolina agreement in principle includes the same environmental organizations, along with the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League. The agreement in principle lays the groundwork for settlement in South Carolina after further negotiations with Duke Energy Carolinas and other parties in South Carolina. The groups plan to file an agreement with the South Carolina Public Service Commission this summer.
The Southern Environmental Law Center is the only regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC's team of 40 legal experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use.
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization working to promote responsible energy choices that solve global warming problems and ensure clean, safe, healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Please visit www.cleanenergy.org.
A leading national nonprofit organization, Environmental Defense Fund represents more than 700,000 members. Since 1967, Environmental Defense Fund has linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental problems. For more information, visit www.edf.org.
The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists, served from offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beijing. www.nrdc.org
The Coastal Conservation League is a grassroots non-profit conservation organization, founded in 1989 to protect the natural environment of the South Carolina coastal plain and to enhance the quality of life of our coastal communities. The League works with individuals, businesses, and government to ensure balanced solutions.