2020 - 2022 Strategic Plan

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2020–2022 STRATEGIC PLAN


INTRODUCTION The Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Established in 2007, SEEA is the only regional energy efficiency organization serving eleven states across the Southeast, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. SEEA works to ensure people have the knowledge, resources, and opportunities in order to use energy more efficiently. We do this by advancing effective state, local, and utility policies, supporting the implementation of strong building energy codes, expanding availability and access to resources to address energy efficiency in buildings, and supporting equitable engagement in energy planning processes across all communities.

Our Mission

To optimize the use and impact of energy to enhance the quality of life in the Southeast.

Our Vision

All people in the Southeast live and work in healthy and resilient buildings, utilize clean and affordable transportation, and thrive in a robust and equitable economy.

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THE CHALLENGE The Southeast continues to lag behind other regions with respect to economic opportunity, income equality, public health, housing, and infrastructure. These historically pervasive issues will only increase as climate change adds to the region’s environmental, economic, and social strain. It is within this context that the region’s energy sector is grappling with changes in technology, culture, and demographic makeup. There are more diverse stakeholders engaging in energy policy making than ever before and advanced

energy technology is rapidly outpacing traditional regulatory frameworks and utility service models. Communities, utilities, and businesses are responding to these changes at their own pace. Some are shooting out ahead, some are plodding along, and some are drifting backward. There are citizens demanding major changes to how we generate, distribute, manage and regulate our energy resources. There are also those who believe that our system is fragile, and prudence demands we slow the pace of change and protect established and familiar models. Differences in these views aside, change is underway.

U.S. Poverty Rates

U.S. Poverty Rates i. Source: http://www.ruralhome.org/ ii. Map Link: http://www.ruralhome.org/storage/documents/ts2010/poverty-map-web.pdf

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U.S. Energy Burden

U.S. Energy Burden Map iii. Source and Methodology: https://lead.openei.org/assets/files/LEAD-Tool-Methodology.pdf iv. Map Link: https://www.energy.gov/eere/slsc/maps/lead-tool

Climate Change Finacial Impact

Climate Change Financial Impact Map v. Source: http://www.impactlab.org/research/estimating-economic-damage-from-climate-change-in-the-united-states/ Citation: Hsiang, S., Kopp, R.E., Jina, A., Rising, J., Delgado M., Mohan, S., Rasmussen, D.J., Muir-Wood, R., Wilson, P., Oppenheimer, M., Larsen, K., and Houser, T. (2017). Estimating economic damage from climate change in the United States. Science. doi:10.1126/science.aal4369

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THE OPPORTUNITY The Southeast has a significant opportunity to reduce costs, and improve public health and environmental outcomes by optimizing energy performance in homes and buildings. This can be realized through increased electrification of buildings and transportation, broad and equitable deployment of advanced energy technology, and revisions in public policy to enable and sustain progress in these areas. These strategies are already being deployed by homeowners and developers, private businesses, as well as state and local government. At varying scales, we are seeing increased investment in infrastructure to improve energy management, resilience, and security. Not content to wait on state or federal leadership, cities are working

to craft policy mechanisms that are responsive to their community’s challenges and to make smart investments that save money, create jobs, increase resiliency, and improve public health. Electric cooperatives are demonstrating innovative business models to diversify services and drive economic development in struggling rural communities. Business leaders are raising their voices to demand that policy makers acknowledge the impact of climate change and make real investments in mitigation and resiliency. After decades of being mired in a “why bother” mentality about energy efficiency, we are excited to see the Southeast moving into a “what’s possible” mentality.

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OUR ROLE SEEA works to move the energy sector forward so that all people in the Southeast can live and work in healthy and resilient buildings, utilize clean and affordable transportation, and thrive in a robust and equitable economy. We believe utilities need to rethink how they make investments to meet our energy needs. Regulators need to take a broader view of social, economic, and environmental impacts when evaluating our options. Most importantly, voters and policy makers need to reconsider the outcomes we prioritize when making choices. In our role as a regional convener, technical assistance provider, and education resource, SEEA is well positioned to advance this kind of change throughout Southeast.

Looking forward, SEEA will continue to educate regional leaders and policymakers to advance innovation and evolution within the energy industry, and to support grassroots and community stakeholders so that all can be effective agents for change. We will seek to empower those in poverty by securing their seat at the table in energy planning processes and by increasing access to resources that can alleviate financial burden and spur economic growth in their communities. We will work to bring energy efficiency and resilient buildings to the forefront of regional plans to mitigate and adapt to climate change. We will strive to gain broader recognition and investment in the public health benefits of energy efficiency as a prescriptive and preventative strategy.

OUR ORGANIZATIONAL VALUES TAKE INITIATIVE We take responsibility for realizing a better quality of life in the Southeast. VALUE OTHERS We seek, respect, and promote diverse perspectives. EARN TRUST We pursue our work with benevolence, competence, and reliability. PURSUE EQUITABLE SOLUTIONS We recognize, acknowledge, and account for a history of prejudice and inequality in Southeastern communities and the role it plays in the issues we address. Strategic Plan

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Our Commitment to Diversity, Integration, and Inclusion Changing our approach to energy management requires us not only to think differently about how we make choices, but also to change the makeup of the organizations making those choices. Increasing diversity, inclusion, and integration throughout the decision-making process, and within the businesses and institutions that make up the energy sector, is foundational to realizing meaningful, systemic change. Addressing diversity is often referred to as a journey, and every journey starts at home. SEEA is committed to aligning our staff, our intentions, and our processes to achieve our DII goals. To model the change we wish to see, we have worked hard to cultivate and maintain racial and gender diversity on our staff. SEEA realigned our internal organization to remove hierarchy and create a collaborative decision-making process. These efforts have strengthened organizational culture, increased efficiency, and supported better decision making across the organization. We are committed to providing regular training to staff and board to increase awareness and offer engagement opportunities around diversity, inclusion, and integration. We recognize that it is not enough to only focus this effort inside our organization, we must also nurture a culture of change with our partners. Just as we are committed to supporting our member organizations as they navigate technological change our energy system, we are equally committed to supporting our members, our partners, and the communities we serve as they navigate cultural change. In the years ahead, SEEA will be exploring new ways to support diversity, inclusion, and integration among our member organizations through training, networking, and, as always, making spaces for people to work together to find our way forward.

Our People & Partners Our Staff SEEA operates with 13 full-time staff members and a regular complement of interns to support our work. The SEEA staff is a team of dedicated and passionate professionals whose backgrounds span multiple disciplines including state and local government, higher education, law, economics, science, sustainability, marketing, and finance. Our Board SEEA is grateful to have a very engaged board of 24 voting members and 6 advisory members. 100% of board members pay dues and many sponsor events and projects annually. SEEA’s board is comprised of representatives from electric and natural gas utilities, manufacturers, service companies, nonprofits, and government. As representatives of a broad field of expertise and engagement in energy issues, our board members are key allies helping SEEA to forge new relationships and establish effective partnerships across the region. Our Members SEEA is supported by a network of more than 70 member organizations from across the country and representing all aspects of the energy services field. Our members include utilities, manufacturers and service providers, state and local government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. They provide deep knowledge and experience to help inform our strategic direction and ground our work in the real-world experiences they see in the field.

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HOW WE WORK In order to achieve our mission, we administer a broad portfolio of work to support a range of energy efficiency objectives across the region. While the topics we address may evolve with the shifting priorities and opportunities of the field, our work can be summarized by the following strategies: Present Regional Intelligence We share information on regional trends, opportunities, and challenges related to energy efficiency in the Southeast with policymakers, business leaders, and funders. This regional context empowers them to make informed decisions on where to invest their time, resources, and influence. Develop Model Policies and Practices We consult with a variety of stakeholders on how to effectively develop and deploy energy efficiency policies and programs. We draw upon best practices and a collaborative approach to develop solutions that are equitable and lead to meaningful change. Support our Energy Efficiency Workforce We provide access to informational materials and trainings for builders, code officials, architects, and other professionals to ensure that our communities have the trained and skilled workforce needed to achieve their energy efficiency goals. We work with utilities, manufacturers, service providers and other professionals to understand their needs and provide resources and forums that will help them be successful.

Build a Network of Partners We facilitate connections among a diverse array of stakeholders from across the region to promote idea sharing, strategy alignment, and opportunities for innovation. These connections provide greater capacity to address increasingly complex and interconnected issues related to energy efficiency. Increase Access to Capital for Energy Efficiency We work with policymakers, utilities, and financial institutions to grow both public and private sector investment in energy efficiency in order to expand access to financing solutions for consumers at all economic levels.

AREAS OF FOCUS SEEA directs a broad portfolio of projects to support our mission. While specific projects are often unique to the needs and context of the location we are working, SEEA focuses on four core avenues for advancing energy opportunities in the Southeast; Energy Efficiency Policy, Energy Efficient Transportation, Built Environment, and cultivating private sector efforts through our Membership Program. SEEA’s work in each of these areas is designed to create favorable nearterm and long-term outcomes such as smarter energy policies, stronger local energy codes, resources to upgrade the existing building stock, and opportunities to provide equal access to affordable energy for all communities.

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Energy Efficiency Policy Traditional utility policy is increasingly challenged by, and often at odds with, technological advancements and a shifting social consciousness on the role of energy in our society. Public awareness of the impacts of fossil fuel generation are reducing community willingness to bear the risks to environmental quality and public health for the promise of pennies per kilowatt hour. What’s more, customers are eager for utilities to provide

services beyond the meter. They seek help navigating their path to on-site generation, energy storage, smart home management, and electric transportation. Finally, the private sector is enthusiastic about utilizing renewable energy and battery storage systems that will provide the level of control and autonomy over their energy supply that they enjoy with other key operational inputs.

GOALS 1. Policymakers make decisions with the best available information on energy efficiency. PURPOSE Help leaders make energy policy decisions that will reduce energy burden in the Southeast.

2. Energy policy decisions reduce social inequity. 3. Policymaking is a collaborative process among stakeholders. 4. Energy efficiency programs and resources are delivered through new and diverse channels.

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For years, SEEA has been tracking these developments. We have seen diverse, multi-stakeholder movements calling for a re-invention of the energy utility, accelerated by the rapid development of the technology that can enable it. Utilities in the Southeast continue to announce carbon reduction strategies, increase their renewable energy portfolio, and explore new service offerings. Reams of state policy proposals, as well as executive orders in North Carolina and Virginia, reflect a growing political will to reduce or eliminate carbon from the power sector while enabling more consumer choice. Yet, without mindful intention and diligence, these developments will not benefit everyone. As a wave of new technologies that promise more energy independence, cleaner environments,

and new job opportunities continue to roll out, low income consumers and communities of color worry that they will again be left behind. Concerns about processes and policies that will result in continued inequities have emerged as a fundamental issue in the region’s utility sector evolution. With the accelerating pace of change, efforts to enfranchise those who have been traditionally left out of these processes will require dedicated attention and an influx of new resources. Our work is driven by the belief that inclusive policy can be transformative for everyone in the region. Accordingly, SEEA is committed to helping the Southeast navigate a path towards our energy future, with an emphasis on our most underserved communities.

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Energy Efficient Transportation Industry trends project that by 2040 more than half of all vehicles sold will be electric powered. As passenger vehicles, buses, and other modes of transit become increasingly electrified, transportation will play a growing role in our energy infrastructure. This transition creates opportunities for new innovations in utility services, expands applications

PURPOSE Expand availability and access to energy efficient transportation technologies to transform, connect, and optimize mobility in our communities.

and storage capacity for renewable energy, and supports pro-growth strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increased air quality. With these opportunities comes the challenge of updating public policy and regulatory frameworks to effectively prepare for and enable this transition to clean and affordable mobility solutions.

GOALS 1. Allied and organized stakeholders collaborate to advance energy efficient transportation in the Southeast. 2. Southeast states have policies and initiatives that advance adoption of electric transportation. 3. Policymakers are engaged and actively working to advance transportation electrification. 4. Private businesses utilize electric transportation technology and are champions for increasing its use.

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Adapting our energy system for the future of electric transportation necessitates new thinking in utility operations, planning, and program design. Utilities and regulators must develop innovative solutions that ensure energy infrastructure and regulatory policy do not hinder growth. Rather, they must utilize new technologies to make energy systems more dynamic and resilient. Policymakers must also ensure that this transition is fair and equitable. Transportation electrification is an avenue to create jobs,

reduce poverty, alleviate the environmental and social injustices of the past, and lay a foundation for a better future for all people. SEEA is committed to realizing the transformative potential of energy efficient transportation in the Southeast. We look forward to working collaboratively with state and local government, community advocates, utilities, manufacturers, and service providers to tackle the challenges ahead and move transportation forward.

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Built Environment Commercial and residential buildings consume more than 40% of all energy produced in the United States. However, almost a third of that energy is wasted due to inefficient buildings and systems. This is waste that the Southeast cannot afford. Nearly 84% of persistent-poverty counties – where at least one-fifth of the population has lived in poverty over the past 30 years – are in the Southeast. Low-income households in aged

and inadequate housing can spend 40% or more of their pay on energy bills, creating a burden that drains already scarce funds for other needs. Research also shows that inefficient housing can exacerbate chronic illnesses like asthma, especially for children and the elderly. These strains will only increase because of the region’s vulnerability to climate change and extreme weather.

GOALS 1. A thriving workforce driving the development of next generation building stock across the Southeast. PURPOSE Reduce energy bills and provide comfortable, healthy indoor environments where people work, live, and play.

2. Increased programming and investments to support improvements in existing building stock in the Southeast. 3. Energy efficiency is fully integrated into climate change resilience and reconstruction efforts. 4. Energy efficiency investments are leveraged to address public health issues.

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A variety of stakeholders are actively working to develop and implement solutions to these pervasive problems. Recognizing the need for a fundamental transformation in new construction standards, International Code Council voters supported forward-looking standards for the 2021 energy code, including pathways to zero energy, preparations for building electrification, more efficient insulation, home charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, more stringent lighting requirements, and first-of-their-kind standards for water heaters. Utilities and financiers are seeking new models to expand access to capital for retrofitting existing buildings. Across the country, housing authorities and healthcare professionals are seeking pathways to leverage investments in

energy efficiency as a cost-effective investment in preventative care. Local leaders are pursuing strategies to integrate energy efficiency into storm recovery and resiliency plans. SEEA is committed to enhancing the quality of the Southeast’s homes and buildings. Capitalizing on the opportunities to utilize energy efficiency in buildings to address regional issues will require the cooperation of policymakers, utilities, and builders in partnership with consumers and voters. We look forward to working with our partners to identify new and innovative approaches to cut waste, lower costs, and elevate the quality of our built environment.

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SEEA Membership Program SEEA members represent a respected network of companies and organizations committed to applying new business approaches, advanced technologies, and market-proven products and services to maximize our energy productivity and economic prosperity. Our members’ experience grounds SEEA’s work in real-world problems in search of solutions that take a realistic approach

PURPOSE Bring together advocates, industry, and policymakers to move energy efficiency forward in a purposeful way.

to moving the energy sector forward and respect the impact these changes have on people’s lives. It is our members who remind us that energy efficiency is about innovation, entrepreneurship, and investing in outcomes that enhance the quality of life for all people.

GOALS 1. SEEA members represent a diverse network of stakeholders and service providers. 2. SEEA members promote inclusive and innovative energy efficiency solutions across a variety of sectors. 3. SEEA members find value and benefit from their continued participation in SEEA’s Membership Program.

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SEEA is committed to supporting our members’ success. We give them the knowledge, insight, and opportunity to grow their business and be a force for good in the communities they serve. SEEA empowers our members with information. Our team of experts provides not just news, but detailed analysis, and one on one consultation on emerging developments. We want our members to thrive, to produce and spread economic opportunity across the Southeast. SEEA creates space for our members to connect with peers and cultivate business opportunities.

We believe that manifesting big changes to our energy system means nurturing lots of small changes throughout the system. SEEA will continue to cultivate this theory of change by convening industry leaders, traditional and non-traditional stakeholders, and creating opportunities to give thought to innovation and expand the way we look at energy efficiency.

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SEEA members represent a respected network of energy efficiency stakeholders who are committed to building a brighter economic future, more resilient cities, and equitable solutions for all. Contact us to learn more about becoming a member.

50 Hurt Plaza, Suite 1250 404-856-0723 info@seealliance.org seealliance.org