In rural communities, electricity use and the resulting electricity charges impact a wide range of critical community investment and economic development potential. Particularly in low-income rural communities with higher than average electricity rates, the impact of electricity expenditures can have game-changing effects on household discretionary income, small business investment, and manufacturing employment. By reducing residential, commercial and manufacturing expenditures on electricity, investments in energy efficiency free up dollars that can be re-invested in the home or business, spent on local services, or saved for the future expansion.
The EFC and its partner, the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA), are developing resources to empower rural town administrators to create sustainable energy efficiency programs for communities throughout the Southeast. These resources will educate building owners on the benefits of energy efficiency, expand the financial expertise of the contractor workforce, and provide viable financing alternatives for energy efficiency initiatives.
Through this project, the EFC will support energy efficiency initiatives and contractor training in Eastern North Carolina, specifically in the service area of the Roanoke Electric Membership Cooperative and in three rural towns (Edenton, Hertford, and Columbia). These communities will receive customized trainings, technical assistance, and contractor training to leverage energy efficiency programs to grow business and increase program participation. All program development and training materials will be shared with other local government and nonprofit organizations through the EFC website and the Southeast Energy Efficiency Finance Network.