Energy Efficiency has big potential to create jobs, decrease electricity demand

CW Blower Door

How$martKY’s Chris Woolery conducts a blower-door test to determine from where air is leaking in the home.

MACED’s second strategy brief, “Energy Efficiency,” is out today.

It’s a strategy that’s been gaining steam recently across eastern Kentucky, and one that MACED has touted for years through its How$martKY and Energy Efficient Enterprises programs. Among all the strategies MACED will discuss in its strategy brief series, energy efficiency perhaps has the greatest potential right now for large impact because of its current trajectory.

From the brief:

Sixty-seven percent of homes in Appalachian Kentucky were built before 1990, and 25 percent are mobile homes. This creates an enormous opportunity for energy efficiency retrofits to create jobs and save ratepayers money. Studies have shown that investments in energy efficiency across all of Appalachia could create 77,000 jobs and save more than $21 billion in energy costs. This opportunity and need will continue to grow as rates rise.

Amazing things are already happening in the energy sector in eastern Kentucky that have great promise: the expansion of How$martKY, utilities increasing efficiency programs, post-secondary schools across the region increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy classes. But, as MACED points out in its brief,  much more could be done to maximize the impact of energy efficiency, including investing more in energy efficiency programs to bring them to scale and passing legislation that supports energy efficiency, like the Clean Energy Opportunity Act.

Eastern Kentucky has led the nation in energy production for decades, and while that era in the region is swiftly coming to an end, a new age of being an energy efficiency and renewable energy leader could begin. There needs to be more investment of all kinds in the sector from all levels to make it happen.