With a harsh, divisive election season behind us, the voters have spoken, and change is a coming to America. But what kind of change? What will a Trump administration mean for our children, our nation and for the clean energy future that so many of our region’s state and local leaders have committed to?
Like many of you, I spent the days after November 8 pondering how the election results will impact the work so many of us care about. For those involved with NEEP, this includes our regional collaborations to accelerate energy efficiency as a core strategy to reduce carbon emissions and foster the clean energy economy.
What We Can Say
While prognosticators including ACEEE, Utility Dive, and Greentech Media try to gauge what the impact of the elections will be on federal energy policies and markets, there are a few things I feel are certain at this time of transition:
1. Efficiency, clean energy leadership, and advances at the state and local levels will be even more important.
2. Regional collaboration — to advance common solutions and engage markets for efficiency innovation— will be even more important.
3. The role of clean energy associations and partnership groups — that build knowledge and capacities to deliver clean energy at scale — will be even more important.
4. The role of non-profits and foundations to support leadership to continue the rapid pace of efficiency and clean energy advances will be even more important.
What does this mean for NEEP and our partners?
I take comfort in a few things:
1. State and local leadership for energy efficiency and clean energy in the Northeast is strong and growing.
2. Our clean energy sector is an engine of economic growth and a center for talent and innovation.
3. By working together, we can leverage resources, share ideas and keep making progress on things like integrating efficiency and demand response, strategic electrification of the grid and transportation, energy storage and grid modernization, and advances in high efficiency products, services and programs.
The day after the election, I joined 100 school and community representatives and energy professionals at NEEP’s summit on High Performance Schools at the Kingswood Regional High School in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. I was reminded that saving energy and money while creating valuable jobs — instead of sending our dollars out of region to pay for oil and propane — is something that has broad appeal.
Then on Thursday, I attended NEEP’s first-ever Home Energy Information Rating Exchange (HELIX) Summit in Boston. Hosted by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, the Summit brought together real estate professionals, state agencies, and efficiency professionals from seven states and the U.S. Department of Energy to lay the groundwork for energy efficiency ratings to be a standard part of residential property listings. I was reassured that advancing such market development through collaboration cuts across ideology to practical solutions that many value.
The Future of A Region
Our region is a national leader for energy efficiency because it simply makes sense. It creates jobs. It reduces our energy bills. It reduces harmful pollution. It drives innovation and business development. It is step #1 in climate change mitigation and resiliency strategies. In short, efficiency is the base of a vibrant, clean energy economy that makes our region a compelling model for others to learn from and follow. Federal leadership can help expand the benefits nationally, and we are so grateful for the partners and support we’ve had in Washington. But there is no dialing back the progress we’ve made as a region; efficiency and clean energy are an integral part of who we are and how we do things.
We at NEEP feel privileged to continue our work to help accelerate efficiency and clean energy, and to have so many of you as our partners. At this time of tremendous change at the federal level, we want to hear from you about how we can strengthen our partnership with you to continue the powerful market transformation to an energy efficient, clean energy economy in the Northeast. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Meantime, I think a little extra kindness and compassion towards ALL Americans — as well as time with those dear to us, time in nature, and time unplugged — will do us all a bit of good as winter and the holidays draw closer. Let’s stay connected in this time of change and transition. Let us know what you think!