Like many in Asheville, I support a transition to clean energy. Thus, I joined the Community Engagement Working Group of the Energy Innovation Task Force. The EITF’s’ primary goal is to avoid construction of a new small gas-fired “peaker” plant that would cost a lot but only be used during high energy-demand times. The second goal is to transition to a “cleaner, affordable and smarter energy future,” including renewable energy.
Duke says we need to reduce peak demand by 17 megawatts on dark, cold winter mornings in order to avoid the peaker plant. According to the EITF, the “low-hanging fruit” to tackle first is increasing energy efficiency in both commercial and residential buildings.
Duke has engaged a top marketing firm to build a campaign to get the word out on its existing residential energy-efficiency programs. That sounds good. The problem is that, as they exist today, Duke’s EE programs and website are inferior, confusing and not at all user-friendly. Duke’s EE program rated No. 22 out of 32 utility companies in the U.S. Utilization of the programs is low, and the waiting periods are high.
It has been suggested that Duke license and implement the eScore program, which was highly successful for the Tennessee Valley Authority. EScore is attractive to both homeowners and participating contractors for its ease of use and effectiveness. The integrated online program leverages technology, making the system cost-effective and customer-centric.
It’s time Duke retired its old EE programs and offered Asheville a viable path to meet the required peak demand reduction.
For more information or to get involved with the EITF: http://avl.mx/3p4.
— Debbie Resnick