Center for a Better South. All rights reserved.
a Better South
P.O. Box 22261
Charleston, SC 29413
states use much more electricity per capita than other states. This is
partly because of the region's hot, muggy summers, but it also flows from
differences in state policies, practices and economies. For instance,
Kentucky homes and businesses use 73 percent more electricity per capita
than the national average, but Floridians use only 7 percent more. The
chart to the right highlights Southern power consumption per capita, according
to 2003 U.S. Department of Energy figures.
South grows and changes, its energy policy should also mature. Modern
economies increasingly place value on exactly the resources degraded by
our current power generation system-clean air and water and a healthy
environment for children, workers and seniors. As the global economy develops,
clean energy solutions will be in increasing demand. Many states, including
in some cases Southern states, have tested proven ways to reduce pollution,
avoid the need for so much power generation and to shift generation to
renewable technologies. Southern communities and states should adopt these
policies, adapting them for specific needs, and build on them to become
clean energy leaders.
5: Each Southern state should create a Public
Benefits Fund that invests 2 percent to 3 percent of utility
bill charges into strategies that boost energy efficiency, generate more
renewable energy and provide low-income energy assistance.
6: Adopt energy-efficient appliance standards so consumers aren't
forced to buy outdated technology.
7: Southern states should set a "Renewable Energy Standard"
that requires utilities to get an increasing share of energy from renewable
states are power hungry - - Southerners have a higher per capita use
of electrical power than people in any other region.
Southern power rates are relatively low compared to the rest of the
country, Southerners pay more in per capita annual spending on power
than most other Americans - - because they use so much more electricity.
the cost of power has been relatively inexpensive, Southern states haven't
pushed to generate energy savings. In fact, they've been clinging to
outmoded ways of generating power. Now is the time for the South's energy
policies to mature.
if states would focus on reducing energy consumption, such as by adopting
stronger appliance efficiency standards, residents would save money
and cut pollution. Adopting such standards in the South would save as
much energy as that supplied by 10 average power plants.
states could focus on new strategies to save energy. One example is
use of a Public Benefits Fund, which would allow states to pool a small
portion of consumer utility bills into a fund to reward energy efficiencies,
generate more renewable energy and provide low-income energy assistance.
could also emphasize renewable energy by requiring utilities to get
an increasing share of its energy from renewable sources.
renewable energy requirements would work in the South, which generally
hasn't tapped into major resources of wind, solar and other types of
renewable energy. By using these sources of energy, the South wouldn't
have to build as many power plants, which would cut future pollution
in a big way.
state governments, local governments can get into the act by adopting
energy standards and efficiencies, and by focusing on renewable energy
As this chart from Chapter
3 highlights, most Southerners pay more per year for energy per capita
-- even though their rates are relatively low. Bottom line: Southerners
have a lot of capacity to realize savings through efficiencies and othe
Sign up to
up today to receive a periodic newsletter from the Center for
a Better South.
latest from our ThinkSouth