About Our Energy Efficiency Campaign
The West Virginia Sierra Club wants our economy to use energy as efficiently as possible to create jobs, save money, and reduce pollution. West Virginians will be healthier, wealthier, and have more jobs available if our businesses, government, and, especially, electric utilities aggressively pursue energy efficiency.
Energy efficiency is a way to cut wasted energy and wasted money while providing the same or better service. For example, switching an old light bulb to a newer, more efficient one will still light your living room, but will cost less money because the new bulb uses less energy to provide the same function.
Investing in energy efficiency creates more jobs per dollar spent than an equivalent investment in any other part of the economy. Not only does investing in efficiency create jobs upgrading buildings and installing modern appliances, but the money that would have been wasted on high utility bills can be invested in other parts of the local economy. Businesses can hire more employees, governments can hire more teachers, and parents can do more for their kids. At the same time, energy efficiency cuts harmful pollution from dirty power plants that puts our kids’ and families’ health at risk. Using less energy protects our air, water, and land, so we can all breathe easier.
An aggressive expansion of energy efficiency in West Virginia has the potential to create thousands of jobs and put West Virginians to work while saving $800 million for utility customers, according to a study released in 2012 by Optimal Energy.
What We Are Doing Statewide
West Virginia Sierra Club members are taking action right now to win better energy efficiency policies from our electric utilities and government while also working to implement energy savings in our communities. Our members have come together to form the WV Chapter’s Energy Efficiency Campaign Team (EECT) as the volunteer body that is guiding our campaign. This Team has a vision of West Virginia as an energy efficiency leader where residents and businesses can aggressively pursue the bill savings and job-creation benefits of energy efficiency.
Our Energy Efficiency Campaign is putting our vision into action by working for pro-energy efficiency policies needed to spur the industry statewide. Our current campaign is focused on winning the strong integration of energy efficiency into the long-term plans, known as Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs), that our electric utilities submitted at the beginning of this year. These IRPs will guide the path of our utilities: whether they move towards clean, efficient, increasingly affordable energy; or continue to use polluting, wasteful, and increasingly expensive energy. Integrated Resource Plans that incorporate energy efficiency offer great potential to create thousands of jobs and save hundreds of millions of dollars on electric bills statewide.
We have launched a statewide PR campaign to fight FirstEnergy’s proposal to transfer ownership of a coal-fired power plant to Mon Power. FirstEnergy’s IRP failed to consider any new energy efficiency programs that would help minimize its projected demand growth. Instead, FirstEnergy wants West Virginia ratepayers to subsidize more dirty, overpriced, coal-fired power. Find out more about why we must stop this pending power plant transfer!
We continue to lobby for passage of legislation authorizing Local Energy Efficiency Partnerships (LEEPs) in West Virginia. LEEP legislation would allow local governments to create a funding mechanism for local businesses and property owners to make energy efficiency upgrades to their buildings. This bipartisan legislation is good for communities, business, and the environment.
What We Are Doing Locally
Leaders within our Energy Efficiency Campaign are building their local efforts for real energy savings in their communities. Leaders are coming together to encourage their local city and county governments to cut their energy bills by investing in energy efficiency measures. City Councils, County Commissions, and Schools Boards in many cities and counties across West Virginia have already started reaping the benefits of these investments. We have published a public guide to the actions that local governments have already taken and the taxpayer dollars that are already being saved through their investments. Members are engaging their local governments to work with public officials to ensure these cost saving measures can be implemented to lower government bills, create local jobs, and reduce pollution.
Residents of Harrison County organized a two-part series of public forums on Jobs and Policy in the New Energy Economy. Experts and policy makers discussed how energy efficiency and renewable energy can drive economic productivity and create new job opportunities in West Virginia.
Residents of Preston County held a series of energy efficiency workshops to spread knowledge of how to save energy to help prevent high winter energy bills .
Residents of Jefferson County partnered with the State's E3 Program to conduct energy audits of five community building and have helped implement two groundbreaking community-financed solar projects with Solar Holler .
Residents of Morgantown are working with their City Council to expand the energy savings from Morgantown's "performance contract" through reviewing creative ways of cutting energy, including efficient street lighting.