Energy efficiency is less expensive, yields larger economic returns, results in greater social benefits, and promises superior environmental performance to all other available energy resources. Just as importantly, it has been consistently demonstrated in the marketplace to be effective. Because energy efficiency can also meet the majority of the South Carolina’s foreseeable energy needs, it should be the centerpiece of a comprehensive state energy policy.
Although South Carolina currently ranks 46th nationally in energy efficiency, recent studies from Georgia Tech and Duke University, as well as the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (links below), project upwards of 20,000 local jobs and billions of dollars in both rate payer savings and increased gross state product would accrue from more aggressive energy efficiency policies.
As South Carolina grapples with rising energy rates, high unemployment, and economic stagnation, energy efficiency offers an opportunity to reduce the burden of high energy costs, create jobs, and increase state revenues.
A collection of recent studies focusing on energy usage in the Southeast and South Carolina provides a starting point for identifying policies that can reduce energy demand in ways that make sense for our environment and our economy. These policies include updated building codes and appliance standards, financing mechanisms and improved incentives for building retrofits, workforce development initiatives, and mandatory efficiency targets for electric utilities.
Recently, South Carolina’s electricity providers began launching more aggressive energy efficiency initiatives that expand the progression of energy demand reduction across the state. Duke Energy, Progress Energy, SCE&G, and Santee-Cooper now offer a suite of options to aid their customers in reducing electricity use, and the Electric Cooperatives of SC have adopted an ambitious energy efficiency initiative aimed at retrofitting 220,000 homes over the coming decade.
Learn more about energy efficiency in SC:
SCETV’s The Big Picture takes a closer look at energy efficiency potential in SC