As Obama’s first term comes to a close, the stimulus money directed toward reneweable energy, conservation, and weatherization programs is under scrutiny. Experts are trying to figure out if the money created jobs and/or set the United States on a course for energy independence. A short time will tell what worked and what did not, but the one thing that has happened is the public’s awareness of weatherization, insulation and energy savings.
The big gonverment energy allianances or groups that handle the distribution of the money are a tangled group of mean-well oranizations who were not prepared to deal with the challenge of combining building science, installation of product, and government regulation. The alliances and groups are struggling to survive, most working on plans on how to be self sufficient as funding ebbs and flows under any administration. Through all the web of confusion and dissaray, energy saving jobs were completed and results are astounding. Test in and test out procedures have proved some home utlity costs being reduced by 50%. There is no dispute that air sealing, duct sealing and other energy saving techniques are drastically reducing bills and improving comfort all over the United States.
No one is more aware of these results than the power companies. If a governement program can make serious reduction in homeowner usage, how much more can an organization that has a relationship with the homeowner do with its own energy reduction program. The power company is also not going to use government money to fund it, they will use their own. They now understand that it is more cost effective to pay to upgrade a customer’s insulation than build a new power plant. They also avoid the substantial investment of getting a power plant approved, approval odds are at best 50/50. The power plants that they currently have will be able to service more customer’s because the existing draw on the plant is less. This is due to a well implemented conservation and weatherization plan where they partner with vendors in the local community to raise awareness and get the work done. This will lower their overhead over the years, and allow them to steadily raise rates as naturally any business should.
The wheels of this movement are moving. This promising potential win fall strikes at the core of the United States energy dependence. The private sector will lead this charge and worthy goverment agencies will continue to support energy sustainability and reduction. A formula that should appeal to all political parties- Reduced Pollution+Reduced Dependence on Foreign Oil+More Jobs- seems to good to be.