Energy efficiency: The cleanest, most affordable resource

The smarter, more modern way to meet our energy needs

As we work for a cleaner and lower carbon energy future, maximizing energy efficiency—using less energy to perform the same function—is one of the easiest, cleanest and most affordable resources to achieve this goal while meeting our current and future energy needs.

Energy efficiency helps to defer or avoid the need for expensive new power plants, reduce carbon emissions and other air pollution, and create local jobs. Yet utilities in the South lag behind the rest of the country in making energy efficiency more widely accessible to customers. 

Our strategy for the South’s transition to a cleaner energy future includes promoting energy efficiency for its many benefits, making the business case to utilities and regulators, and working with utilities to create financial models that remove disincentives to pursue efficiency and encourage customers to save energy.

Alleviating energy burden

Southern households pay some of the highest monthly energy bills nationwide. Energy efficiency is the most effective way to provide relief to hard working families and elderly people with fixed incomes who are struggling to manage monthly bills and energy use.

Expert analysis shows Duke Energy could save its customers in North Carolina billions of dollars by adding more energy efficiency and solar and wind energy to its mix. Increases in these clean energy resources would alleviate the need for costly new power plants.

Gudrun Thompson, senior attorney and interim leader of SELC’s Clean Energy and Air Program

Through energy savings measures—increasing efficiency of lighting, appliances and other end uses, and other home efficiency upgrades including installing insulation, weather stripping, and sealing leaky air ducts—customers can better manage their energy use and save money on electric bills, while driving down costs across the board for all users.

Advancing energy efficiency 

We advocate for robust, inclusive energy efficiency programs and policies, with the goal to reduce residential electricity consumption by 1 percent every year in our region. We believe every utility in our region should provide customers with access to robust energy efficiency programs and other offerings with the necessary funding and resources.

We are focused on achieving greater energy savings from utility efficiency programs, including new programs to address gaps and important enhancements to existing programs (increasing individual utilities’ energy savings targets, increasing program budgets, etc.) by advocating with utility commissions, legislatures and the utilities themselves, to ensure that all customer sectors are able to reap the benefits of efficiency.

Our team works with decision makers at the local, state, and federal levels to design and implement policies, regulations, and legislation to promote efficiency, such as regulatory reforms to align utility business models with the pursuit of efficiency, efficiency building codes or tax breaks for energy efficiency upgrades.

Setting higher energy efficiency standards or regulations to promote efficiency ultimately creates large impacts in reducing energy waste in mass scale, lowering customer bills, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

We advocate for comprehensive utility programs and policies to provide customers with opportunities and incentives to upgrade lighting, heating and cooling systems, and insulation. We work to implement programs, policies, and regulations that allow Southern communities to more widely reap energy bill savings and other benefits of energy efficiency.

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