The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is in the middle of a series of informal listening sessions on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan to cut carbon emissions (greenhouse gases) from existing power plants that generate electricity from fossil fuels.
The following remarks will be delivered at the Fairfax session tonight by the Chair of VAEEC’s Governance Board; similar remarks have been and will be delivered by Governance Board members at other session. There are three remaining sessions (September 30, 2015, Henrico, VA; October 1, 2015, Big Stone Gap, VA; October 6, 2015, Portsmouth, VA).
“I’m Cynthia Adams, and I am Chair of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council. I’ve also been appointed by Governor McAuliffe to the Virginia Energy Council and to the Governor’s Executive Committee on Energy Efficiency. In my professional life I’m the co-founder of a business which focuses the residential energy efficiency market. So from all of these perspectives, I am here tonight to advocate for energy efficiency having a central role in Virginia’s Clean Power Plan Compliance.
The Clean Power Plan affords Virginia an opportunity to make sensible energy decisions now that will benefit the Commonwealth for generations to come.
Energy efficiency is one of the primary tools available to help states meet their targets, and when approached from a performance-based perspective can be counted on to lower carbon emissions.
Energy efficiency is the least expensive resource option to meet our energy supply needs. Plus it saves consumers money with lower energy bills.
Energy efficiency is the cleanest option as it represents energy that doesn’t have to be created or consumed, and its implementation reduces multiple pollutants created by other fossil fuel sources.
Energy efficiency is the safest, most reliable option because through demand reduction it improves our energy security by reducing risk and increasing reliability.
Energy efficiency promotes local economic development and job creation. A recent industry census by the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council documented a $2.2 billion energy efficiency industry in Virginia. This industry supports at least 13,000 jobs at more than 500 firms.
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy has found that for every $1M spent in building efficiency improvements, 20 jobs are supported. And for every $1M in avoided consumer energy costs, another 17 jobs are supported.
The Virginia Energy Efficiency Council strongly encourages Virginia to include a robust role for energy efficiency in its compliance plan as a way to meet federal guidelines while generating significant economic and environmental benefits for our fellow citizens.
We strongly advocate for a role for the private market to play in helping the state meet its goal, and we stand at the ready to be a resource to the DEQ should the agency have a need.”