Talking Equitably in Energy
BLOG POST . | SEPTEMBER 4, 2018 – 3:30 PM
By: Dana Harmon, Executive Director
I’m excited about the momentum building around of equitability in energy. The fact that you’re reading these words right now shows interest… thank you.
The transition towards a cleaner and more efficient energy system is underway, and there’s an opportunity before us to ensure that Texas’ most underserved communities are the beneficiaries. We want to build an engaged and informed network of collaborators that can make it happen.
37% of Texans are considered low-income. As a respected colleague, Dr. Heath Prince, once told me “poverty is a complex and multi-dimensional phenomenon.” A myriad of factors inhibit prosperity in economically disadvantaged communities – from housing to education, hunger to economic development. TEPRI is here to generate discussion, innovation, and demonstration projects that position thoughtful use of energy as a resource that provides financial, social, and environmental benefits in vulnerable communities. We believe that by asking the right questions, collecting the right data, and bringing the right stakeholders together, we can reduce energy burdens and increase access to clean energy for all.
Over the next several months, we‘ll distribute carefully curated content to help keep you informed on low-income energy issues. We’ll talk about what energy poverty looks like in Texas, the untapped potential for energy efficiency, and the stories of vulnerable consumers. We’ll cover energy literacy, behavioral economics, and consumption drivers such as quality of housing. We will explore lessons learned from around the nation and around the world. We hope you’ll join us in our effort to inspire lasting energy solutions for low income communities.
To get started, here are some recent studies that have influenced our thinking on energy and poverty in the US:
- With our large low-income rural population, this ACEEE study highlights the impact potential in our state: The High Cost of Energy in Rural America: Household Energy Burdens and Opportunities for Energy Efficiency
- TEPRI is actively engaged in advancing low-income solar projects in Texas. We found this study very helpful in framing our approach. Colorado Energy Office Study Insights from the Colorado Energy Office Low-Income Community Solar Demonstration Project
- Here is a good example of several states investigating the energy efficiency potential for LI households. We think it would be helpful to have a similar understanding of the potential in Texas: APPRISE Low-Income Energy Efficiency Opportunities Study
- And in case you missed it, please check out TEPRI’s Energy Poverty Landscape Analysis, which reveals that reinventing consumer engagement is the most glaring and broadly agreed upon opportunity to improve energy service to low-income consumers.