Rural electric cooperatives have the ability to be transformative influences in rural communities by providing clean, affordable energy to their members, building sustainable workforces and expanding internet access to meet demand in hard-to-reach areas deemed unprofitable to for-profit utilities. However, many electric cooperatives do not take advantage of their unique potential.
To change this, our Energy Savings team provides resources to electric co-op members and empowers them to take an active role in the decision-making processes of their electric co-ops through skills trainings, research and public education. We also provide electric cooperative management with tools and data for implementing new programs.
Most southern states rank in the bottom half for energy efficiency performance. That’s the bad news. The good news is that as a result, the region holds about one-third of the nation’s energy savings potential, presenting us with a major opportunity to reduce energy consumption, lessen the health and environmental impacts of relying on dirty fossil fuels, and generate new economic opportunities in our communities.
Energy efficiency enables families to lower their electric bills, but too often the upfront cost of making improvements remains a barrier, especially for lower-income citizens. Appalachian Voices’ Energy Savings for Appalachia initiative promotes financing programs that help rural mountain families save energy and money while strengthening the region’s local economies.
Much of rural Appalachia gets electricity from member-owned electric cooperatives. But few of these co-ops provide upfront, low-cost financing for home energy efficiency improvements. We’re working with co-ops and a variety of other stakeholders to develop “on-bill financing” programs that pay for the improvements and allow families to re-pay the cost a little at a time on their monthly bills.
While benefiting families, ramping up energy efficiency programs will also bolster local companies that provide energy services like energy audits, weatherization, and energy efficient appliances. For every $1 million invested in efficiency, five to ten new jobs are created and more than $3 million in economic output is generated.
We’re working collaboratively with local, state and regional partners to promote strong policies aimed at enhancing the region’s energy efficiency. These efforts to reduce residential electricity demand and kickstart new businesses in rural Appalachia will require working closely with electric co-ops and empowering local citizens and businesses to become advocates for energy efficiency policies and programs.
We’re working to bring affordable energy efficiency programs to members of electric co-ops in western part of the state, currently focused on the Blue Ridge, French Broad and Surry-Yadkin electric cooperative service areas. MORE
Our Tennessee campaign is focused on providing assistance to state agencies and local electric co-ops as they develop energy efficiency programs that help residents of all income classes. MORE
Learn about the benefits of energy efficiency and how you can implement it in your home or business. MORE
Videos, checklists, and links to other websites that provide additional info on energy efficiency and tools to share with others MORE
Get the latest news and information from our Energy Savings for Appalachia team. MORE