If you ask the average home or business owner about energy efficiency improvements, she will most likely say something about turning off lights or replacing an older appliance. She might even discuss a recent energy audit or the installation of programmable thermostats. But few property owners will be able to detail the deep energy efficiency retrofits that are needed or planned for their building. And even fewer will be able to tell you how to finance the cost.
An understanding of the depth and value of possible energy efficiency measures and how to finance them are two of the largest barriers facing the energy efficiency industry today – particularly in the Southeast, where high utility bills disproportionally impact low- and moderate-income families. Something must be done to bring the energy efficiency industry together to educate, share best practices and pilot innovative ideas to maximize the impact of energy efficiency investment in the Southeast. That something is the Southeast Energy Efficiency Finance Network.
How financially healthy are the municipal residential electric utilities in North Carolina? That is a broad question, and one of keen interest to many customers of those utilities. This is especially true at a time when Duke Energy Progress and the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency (NCEMPA) are discussing the possibility of Duke Energy Progress purchasing NCEMPA’s electric generating assets, and where rate payers may be wondering what such a sale could mean for their future electric rates, as discussed in this previous blog post on affordability of residential electricity in N.C. Continue reading
The Future of Environmental Finance: Strategies for Financing Current and Future Environmental Challenges
May 5th, 1:30-4:30pm in Chapel Hill, NC
Free and Open to the Public. Live Web Streaming Available.
Who Pays? With What Money?
The costs of environmental services, programs, and infrastructure continue to rise. At the same time, the individuals, communities, and governments tasked with paying for environmental protection are experiencing significant financial challenges. Whether a billion dollar effort to restore a region’s polluted water supply, a $4,000 project to weatherize a financially disadvantaged family’s home, or a program to replace a small town’s 50-year-old water treatment plant, all environmental initiatives share a common challenge: who will pay and and with what money? Without implementing fair and sustainable solutions to these environmental finance questions, the most brilliantly conceived environmental technology or program will likely fall short of achieving its goals.
This public forum will feature engaging presentations from prominent environmental finance experts and innovators from a variety of perspectives that cut across sectors and issues. This event will foster discussion and identify emerging trends, strategies, and ideas that will help answer the basic “how will we pay” questions at the heart of successful environmental protection.
David Tucker is a Project Director at the Environmental Finance Center at UNC Chapel Hill.
How affordable are electric rates for “average” or “typical” residential customers in North Carolina? That is a complicated question to answer, and this article represents only a beginning to that investigation. Continue reading
Image courtesy of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund
Jen Weiss is Senior Finance Analyst at the Environmental Finance Center.
Sustainability on college campuses is on the rise. More than 675 colleges nationwide have become signatories of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, a network of college and university presidents and chancellors dedicated to promoting sustainability efforts on college campuses. Today, 22 colleges and universities in North Carolina – including UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University and NC State – are part of the commitment. But it’s not just the large universities that are focused on sustainability. Increasingly, small liberal arts colleges are becoming leaders in sustainability and are searching for innovative ways to invest in energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on campus. Continue reading