Advanced Energy’s North Carolina Impact
As you flip through Advanced Energy’s early annual reports, it is wonderful to be reminded of all the ways we’ve helped North Carolina use energy more efficiently. Back in 1983, we worked with farmers to identify cost-saving opportunities and set up energy-saving demonstration sites at low-income farms. In 1985, we partnered with Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA to make energy improvements that resulted in savings of $22,800 in the first year. In 1987, we collaborated with Crescent Electric Membership Corporation in Statesville to test a 500-kW battery that stored power to use during times of high demand. In 1989, we held our first residential energy summit that led to standards, educational programs and marketing efforts for new home construction. These are just a few examples of the hundreds of Advanced Energy projects that have made an impact in North Carolina.
“In establishing the Alternative Energy Corporation [now Advanced Energy], we have taken a decisive step toward a secure energy future.” – North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt, 1981
The cover of Advanced Energy’s first annual report says, “A non-profit corporation assisting North Carolinians to a better energy future.” We are proud to have held true to that vision for the past 37 years. Working with our local member utilities, government, schools and more, we have been able to promote energy efficiency in the residential, commercial and industrial, motors and drives, solar and electric transportation sectors. We are constantly looking for new ways to help North Carolinians benefit from more efficient and cost-effective energy use.
“Advanced Energy is able to make a positive impact due to our long-term partnerships with policymakers, power utilities, environmental-related organizations and diverse industry members.” – Brian Coble, Senior Vice President
One way that we make an impact in North Carolina is through statewide programs. These programs provide us with an opportunity to be the “boots on the ground.” We form close relationships with organizations and stakeholders to make a difference in specific areas where we have recognized a need. Unlike our one-time projects, these North Carolina-based programs have been sustained for years and will continue into the future.
Formed in 2001, our SystemVision program has positively contributed to the state’s affordable housing market. Through a partnership with the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, SystemVision helps ensure that both new and existing homes are healthy, safe, comfortable, durable, energy efficient and affordable.
Practical solutions and simplified processes support developers and builders in designing, constructing and marketing affordable homes, and program standards and quality processes ensure the program succeeds. Standards cover air tightness, ventilation, moisture management, insulation and more, and low-tech and achievable building practices make the work easy to implement and maintain. Furthermore, quality processes are integrated into every aspect of the build cycle. Design reviews, contractor checklists and ongoing technical support are some examples of how we make sure the work is done correctly and successfully.
“SystemVision has guaranteed the heating and cooling usage of over 4,800 homes in North Carolina. That’s 4,800 low-income households that have more predictable energy bills, while living in a comfortable, durable home.” – Maria Mauceri, SystemVision Manager
In 2003, we founded NC GreenPower, a nonprofit that seeks to improve North Carolina’s environment by supporting renewable energy, carbon offsets and solar installations at K-12 schools. Through voluntary contributions, NC GreenPower helps make solar, wind, landfill methane, small hydro and biomass projects feasible. Beginning with just a handful, NC GreenPower has since supported more than 1,000 projects across North Carolina.
In 2015, NC GreenPower launched Solar+ Schools, an educational program that provides grants for the installation of small solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays at North Carolina schools. Solar+ Schools also supplies real-time monitoring equipment, a curriculum and lesson plans for educators, making it a true hands-on solar experience for students. The program recently kicked off its third year.
“NC GreenPower’s Solar+ Schools program has helped bring solar PV and educational packages to almost 8,000 students in six counties in North Carolina so far, with more to come!” – Katie Lebrato, Marketing Communications Director, NC GreenPower
Plug-in NC is a program that supports the growth of electric vehicles in North Carolina, helping the state become a leader in electric transportation. Founded in 2011 — around the same time electric vehicles were reintroduced into the U.S. — Plug-in NC works to spread awareness and education about the vehicles, reduce barriers to adoption and conduct research to help integrate them into our communities.
The program is guided by a steering committee consisting of individuals from a variety of EV-related organizations throughout North Carolina. This committee directs Plug-in NC’s activities and events — which include workshops, test drives, presentations and working groups — and helps connect with communities across the state. Individuals, businesses, organizations and communities can get involved with Plug-in NC to show their support for driving electric in North Carolina.
“Plug-in NC is the go-to resource for electric transportation initiatives in North Carolina. It provides a communications and connections platform for consumers and industry stakeholders alike, offering a neutral environment to discuss, understand and address the challenges and opportunities of an electrified transportation future.” – Lisa Poger, Plug-in NC Manager
SystemVision, NC GreenPower and Plug-in NC are examples of programs that Advanced Energy works through to better North Carolina’s energy future. Even though we continue to expand our reach nationally and internationally, we always strive to have a positive and lasting impact here at home, and we are encouraged to see the assistance we provide continue to improve North Carolinians’ lives on a daily basis.