This past Friday a wide array of citizens, businesses, non-profit organizations, and trade groups shared their views on the direction for New Orleans’ 20-year energy plan, known as the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), with members of the City Council and their staff. Strong public support for implementing such a plan was coupled with specific comments about affordability for low-income families and the elderly, lack of renewable resources, and inadequate levels of energy efficiency in the plan. For everyone who attended the meeting, A BIG THANK YOU. If you were unable to attend, IT IS NOT TO LATE TO SUBMIT COMMENTS. For more information, read on…
The meeting started with an overview presentation by City Council technical advisors, Legend Consulting Group, highlighting key considerations including whether energy efficiency levels are too low, finding the right balance between short and long-term expenditures, and deciding the best method for compensating the utility company – including consideration of decoupling. The presentation also asked whether the Council should integrate the NOLA Wise and Energy Smart energy efficiency programs.
When the floor was opened for public comment, there was strong general approval for the Integrated Resource Plan, but many raised concerns about the details and methods. John Luther, a representative from the Homebuilder Association of Greater New Orleans, and Howard Rogers, from the New Orleans Council on Aging, both expressed concern about how the new plan will impact low-income costumers and the elderly.
The complete lack of renewable energy in Entergy’s proposed plan was another frequently expressed concern; with many people indicating that New Orleans should be diversifying it’s energy mix. In addition, the amount of energy efficiency is still considered too low by many present at the meeting. Forest Bradley-Wright, of the Alliance for Affordable Energy, says the City should aim for 2% energy efficiency per year.
Many also spoke about the economic benefits of the program. Kirk Williamson, of Mr. Green Jeans Insulation, supports Energy Smart and believes that energy efficiency programs have a positive impact on small business and low-income individuals. CORE USA’s CEO Tilman Hardy echoed these sentiments and noted the significant economic benefits and jobs creation that results from energy efficiency programs.