It’s a fitting phrase considering the huge undertaking of global decarbonization. On the surface, the world’s countries, cities, and businesses are vying to be part of the solution. China – the world’s largest polluter by gross weight of emissions – has announced plans to become carbon neutral by 2060. From Walmart to Ford, and from the transportation industry to the energy industry, it seems most everyone is committing to a zero or near-zero carbon emission goal.
Setting goals is a good start. The next step is finding the best path to reach them.
At NPPD, we know solutions must include efficient electrification, energy efficiency and carbon-free energy generation. It also must maintain our focus on improving the quality of life for Nebraskans, now and in the future, while ensuring affordable, reliable, sustainable, resilient electricity supply to our customers.
It can be easy to lose ourselves in the enormity of it all.
But, what if we took a step back and realized the impacts we as individuals can have on these global concerns can be just as powerful?
My wife, Dacia, and I, have been living in our new home for little more than a year. Throughout the year, we got to know our local heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technician, who came out several times to fix our 16-year-old HVAC system. It was inconvenient and frustrating, until we recently made the decision to install a new high efficiency air source heat pump utilizing an energy efficiency incentive available through our local utility. (View all of NPPD’s EnergyWise℠ incentives here.)
We had already purchased a Ford Mustang Mach-E – an electric vehicle with all the performance and safety features I could imagine and want (I’ll speak more to this in my July blog). And, as I commit to reducing my own carbon footprint and impact on the environment, I’ve come to realize each of us has the ability to come up with a personalized decarbonization plan.
I recently learned that 24% of the energy used by Nebraska’s single-family homes could be saved through cost-effective efficiency improvements. That equates to $320.7 million in utility bill savings, including 15.6 trillion British thermal units per year in gas, propane and fuel oil and 1.6 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity.
Like me, you might have an opportunity to exchange old HVAC systems or appliances with efficient and ENERGY STAR versions (think: heat pumps, water heaters or induction stovetops). Many of you may be waiting for an all-electric version of a pickup truck or SUV. Based on my own experiences, I only have this to say: Take the plunge!
Or, you might consider participating in a community solar program. (Learn more about solar options.) It could even be as simple as hang drying clothes, turning off lights when you leave a room, enjoying the cross-breeze by opening a few windows, or planting a tree (or two).
Read my January blog post to learn more about NPPD’s own efforts to reduce carbon emissions, from exploration of alternative fuels, including biofuels, to projects relating to carbon capture and sequestration, battery storage, efficient electrification and more. From emission reduction strategies that will fit into our upcoming Integrated Resource Plan to yearly tree planting ceremonies in our retail communities, NPPD is committed to providing our customers with the affordable, reliable, sustainable and resilient electricity supply they expect, while reducing our operational impact on the environment.
We are also proud to be part of the Electric Power Research Institute’s Low Carbon Resource Initiative to conduct research, development and demonstration activities revolving around low- and zero-carbon energy technologies that will help enable economy-wide decarbonization by 2050.
Remember those near or zero-carbon goals I mentioned previously that so many communities and companies have? The Low-Carbon Resources Initiative will help identify our current state of efforts, technology needs, and remaining gaps to drive action and investment in decarbonization forward – together.
We all can play an important role in this overall effort, and it’s up to each of us to decide how deep we want to dive into solutions we are most passionate about. Our actions can and do cause a ripple effect in our lives, communities, and the world – the likes of which are just the tip of the iceberg.