From Paula Glover: Reflecting on a Historic Year for Efficiency

From Paula Glover: Reflecting on a Historic Year for Efficiency

Let's Save Energy

Alliance to Save Energy's Blog

01/12/22 / Paula R. Glover

From Paula Glover: Reflecting on a Historic Year for Efficiency

Alliance to Save Energy 2021 Year in Review

The following blog is an excerpt from the Alliance’s 2021 Year in Review report. Read the full report here.

It’s hard to believe that just one year has passed since I first got to introduce myself as president of the Alliance to Save Energy. The start of 2021 was an uncertain time: we didn’t know what the next phase of the pandemic would bring, the pace at which our economy would recover, or even the final balance of power on Capitol Hill. And for me, personally, I did not know what to expect as I stepped into big shoes at an organization with a storied history of delivering on energy efficiency.

What I found was this: While the one constant this year may have been change, the Alliance had exactly the right people – and exactly the right mission – to not only manage the uncertainty, but to come out ahead with one of the most notable years for energy efficiency since our founding.

We hit the ground running by working closely with a new administration eager to advance efficiency policy. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, passed into law with bipartisan support, underscored the importance of building 21st century infrastructure efficiently by investing billions of dollars in key efficiency programs. The Build Back Better Act, despite an uncertain path forward, marks the largest proposed investment in climate action in U.S. history, including top Alliance priorities on investing in critical public facilities, accelerating electric vehicle deployment, and expanding efficiency tax incentives. Getting the bill across the finish line will be a priority for our team in early 2022. And between legislative wins, behind-the-scenes work with the Department of Energy, and original research, we made great progress toward an Active Efficiency future that centers efficiency solutions for the energy transition. 

While at times in recent years the Alliance has fought tooth and nail just to maintain efficiency funding levels and avoid harmful backsteps, 2021 finally featured some of the ambitious progress we know is necessary for a brighter energy future.

The challenges along the way were no small matter, but I was nothing less than inspired to see the way this coalition navigated them. We valued bipartisanship in a time of political division. We valued teamwork and building lasting relationships even when nearly half of our team consisted of newly on-boarded leadership and staff who could not work together in-person. And we sought to be reflective and remember our work’s impact on communities and the planet in a year where the pace of decision making would wait for no one.  

The historic successes in the face of these challenges are truly a testament to the adaptability of our team and the resilience of this organization as it enters its 45th year. And adaptability and resilience are two good qualities to have in this business – as they increasingly represent efficiency’s role in our changing energy system. When the Alliance was founded in 1977, the core purpose of efficiency was to secure the nation’s energy supply. In the years since, the economic benefits of reducing costs and the environmental benefits of cutting pollution have become the primary drivers. Now, as the grid becomes more complex with new clean energy technologies coming on board every day, energy efficiency is the cross-cutting solution we need to make the clean energy transition reliable, affordable, and equitable. If supply becomes more variable, efficiency will be there to make demand more flexible. If energy prices go up, efficiency will help bring energy burdens down. As the energy sector changes, efficiency will create opportunity as the jobs and economic powerhouse it has always been.

Whether we’re talking about traditional efficiency methods like better windows and insulation in a home or Active Efficiency opportunities presented by digital technologies, efficiency offers stability even when – or perhaps especially when – we know “the only constant is change” will be a recurring theme of the years ahead.

And there is much more in store. We won’t be taking any breaks while we have a Congress and administration hungry to deliver on a just energy transition, and the Alliance will be fighting for 2022 to be an even more memorable year for efficiency. Priorities will include getting the efficiency provisions of the Build Back Better Act to the President’s desk, bringing efficiency to the nation’s small businesses, and ensuring efficiency technologies are accessible and adoptable by everyone.

I’m so proud to be president of this diverse coalition, and so proud of this team’s adaptability through adversity. No organization, and no cause, could be better positioned for what lies ahead. I truly believe there’s nothing we can’t work through – and I couldn’t be prouder to work with all of you because there’s still so much more to do.

Read the Alliance to Save Energy’s 2021 Year in Review report.




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