Category Archives: Energy Efficiency

Time to Salute Our Military as They Save the Kilowatts

U.S. Army Major General Dana J.H. Pittard, Fort Bliss commander, gives a speech during the ribbon cutting for the solar panel project at Fort Bliss, Texas housing communities, Feb. 26, 2013. Source:

U.S. Army Major General Dana J.H. Pittard, Fort Bliss commander, gives a speech during the ribbon cutting for the solar panel project at Fort Bliss, Texas housing communities, Feb. 26, 2013. Source: defenseimagery.mil

In light of yesterday’s commendable day, the Defense Energy Summit (DES) is hosting its second annual forum in Austin, TX, and EDF is a proud sponsor once again. One of the goals for this conference is to build the foundation for a new Defense Energy Center of Excellence (DECE), which would enable Central Texas and military communities to create a test bed of clean energy technologies and policies. The DECE will help the Department of Defense (DoD) with its energy defense policy, organizational structure, education and training, manufacturing, logistics, personnel, and financing.

Texas’ capital is a logical spot to house the DECE, as Texas is home to 22 military installations – including five bases within 90 miles of Austin. Plus, the DECE could tap into the brain power at Texas universities, which are already charging forward with innovative clean energy solutions.

Leading the Charge

Although the DoD is the single largest consumer of fuel in the United States, the military has taken a significant interest in its energy footprint for one primary reason: energy security.

Transporting fuel is one of the riskiest operations when fighting on the front lines. Last year alone, the U.S. military consumed roughly 90 million barrels of oil. By powering military bases and equipment with solar energy, as well as reducing demand through energy efficiency, the military can help protect the brave men and women serving in our armed forces. The DoD can then use those avoided fuel costs for other projects, such as research and development, to meet the needs of its most critical missions. Read More »

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Three More Reasons to Cheer Clean Energy Job Growth in North Carolina

powerplantruleBusiness-friendly clean energy policies in North Carolina continue to support the success of clean energy companies – boosting job growth and economic development.

In the past 30 days alone, three corporate announcements illustrate the power of the state's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, which requires utilities to expand their use of renewable energy and energy efficiency, and North Carolina’s renewable energy tax credit, which rewards companies for investing in clean energy.

Strata Solar

Strata Solar announced it has invested $1 billion in North Carolina solar energy, including 65 solar facilities in 40 counties, and employed 2,000 workers during the past five years.

The Chapel Hill-based company has the attention of Governor Pat McCrory, who praised its investment: Read More »

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EDF Energy Efficiency Initiative Goes International with Investor Confidence Project Europe

By Panama Bartholomy, Director, ICP Europe, with contributions from Steven Fawkes, Senior Advisor, ICP Europe

andy darrell at icp europe

EDF's Andy Darrell, Chief of Strategy, US Climate and Energy and New York Regional Director, at the ICP Europe launch in Brussels

Environmental Defence Fund’s signature energy efficiency initiative has gone international. EDF Europe/UK today rolled out the Investor Confidence Project Europe (ICP Europe), aimed at boosting private sector investment in European energy efficiency renovation projects in the building sector.

As Director of ICP Europe, I was thrilled to introduce the initiative with leaders from the financial, engineering, and government communities at an event in Brussels during a week when two of Europe’s largest energy efficiency events are being held: Renovate Europe Day and Building Performance Institute of Europe ‘s Efficiency Investors Day.

The potential for renovating existing buildings in Europe to reduce the impacts of climate change, generate financial savings, and create jobs is considerable – and largely untapped. Estimates say that large-scale energy efficiency efforts in Europe could reduce carbon emissions by 932 million metric tons, equivalent to taking nearly 200 million cars off the road, and create more than 1 million new jobs in the building industry by 2050. Read More »

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5 Energy Trends that will Change the Balance of Power

Neon FlagBy: Dan Upham, Editor

We no longer fret over taxes on tea, but there’s another American Revolution forming in our great nation today. Like the colonist uprising 241 years ago, it’s fueled by a need to stand up against an outdated system that threatens our way of life.

It’s a battle over the future of American energy and our antiquated electric grid. And it centers around the way consumers, utilities, and investors interact with this vast network of powerlines, substations, and plants.

As Cheryl Roberto, who leads Environmental Defense Fund’s Clean Energy program, notes, “The U.S. is poised to spend around $2 trillion over the next two decades replacing our outdated electric infrastructure.”

That’s a lot of coin and a tremendous opportunity. Read More »

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USDA Loan Improves Energy Efficiency in Rural North Carolina

carolina houseA rural electric cooperative in North Carolina is one of the first in the country to receive funds from a new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on-bill finance program that will help customers improve energy efficiency, lower utility bills, and reduce carbon pollution. Roanoke Electric Membership Cooperative, which serves 14,ooo rural customers, is in my home state.

Roanoke Electric’s membership base is similar to other economically distressed rural areas, which have a growing elderly population and residents with homes that need energy-saving upgrades.

The cooperative diligently promotes energy efficiency, yet there are still customers with utility bills that are higher than their mortgage payments some months. Securing upfront capital to finance home improvements can be challenging. Read More »

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5 Reasons Virtual Net Metering is Better than Plain Ol’ Net Metering

solar gardenSeveral states have embraced net metering in order to encourage the adoption of solar energy and other distributed generation. Sometimes referred to as “running a meter backwards,” net metering allows people to generate their own electricity, export any excess electricity to the grid, and get paid for providing this excess energy to the utility who may use it to power nearby homes or manage overall electricity demand.

Net metering leads to lower – or in some cases negative – electricity bills without having to invest in expensive batteries to store excess energy, which can be cost-prohibitive. By generating energy on-site where it’s consumed, net metering also reduces the strain on distribution systems and cuts the amount of electricity lost to long-distance transmission and distribution (estimated at seven percent in the U.S.). Net metering, moreover, tends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by incentivizing people to adopt renewable energy and become more aware of energy-saving opportunities. Read More »

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