Governors’ administrations to engage in discussion regarding regional energy efficiency efforts in the Greater Cincinnati area
CINCINNATI – The Offices of Governor Ted Strickland and Governor Steve Beshear have called for a briefing on the regional collaborative efforts that have taken place in Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky that have led to the creation of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance (GCEA). GCEA is a non-profit organization that provides educational, project management, and financing services for energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades. GCEA’s initial focus is on the residential, non-profit, and small commercial building sectors.
GCEA received grant funding from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and Duke Energy Foundation to incubate the business model, and has been able to leverage that investment into over $1.6 million, which is focused on serving the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region. The City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County in Ohio, the cities of Covington and Florence and counties of Boone, Kenton and Campbell in Kentucky are contributing a portion of their Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funds, enabled through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009. And recently, the Department of Energy released their “Recovery Through Retrofit” $390 million competitive grant, the guidelines for which are well-aligned with GCEA’s effort.
“The collaboration and commitment shown by the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance and its regional leaders in developing their current energy efficiency program is exactly the type of partnership that can accelerate our nation’s advanced energy industry,” Ohio Governor Ted Strickland said. “We believe this foundation positions the Alliance’s work to be a model for communities around the nation.”
GCEA’s effort has had a regional focus from the onset, recognizing that the Ohio River is an asset to the community, and that working together across political jurisdictions develops economies of scale that drives greater benefits to the residents of the participating communities.
“I commend the leadership of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance and its partners who have developed this concept in advance of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, allowing it to serve as a sound financial investment that leverages public money with private capital to generate a more significant economic impact,” said Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.
This roundtable briefing will also discuss regional workforce developments efforts that have taken place, convened by the Greater Cincinnati Workforce Network, partnering with organizations such as Cincinnati State, Gateway Community College, Laborers’ International Union of North America, AFL-CIO, Southwest Ohio Regional Workforce Investment Board, Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency, LISC of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, Allied Construction Industry, YWCA, Urban League, and others.
Kathy Merchant, CEO of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, remarked “As the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance works with partners and the community to build demand and financing mechanisms for energy efficiency work, it’s essential to ensure we have career pathways to provide a highly skilled workforce. The Greater Cincinnati Workforce Network intends to continue to support the workforce development community to increase capacity and get residents of our community good-paying jobs.”
The opportunity for energy efficiency as a significant economic driver cannot be understated. Duke Energy has a business model in place that supports their customers upgrading to energy efficient technologies, and they are working in conjunction with GCEA to maximize the investment opportunities in retrofitting the building stock.
“We are proud to be a part of this local partnership to advance energy efficiency with our customers and improve the environment,” said OH and KY Duke Energy President Julie Janson.
GCEA intends to change the perception of energy efficiency, why it’s important to the community, and how it saves the customer money. This will be accomplished through neighborhood outreach programs and the development of innovative financing mechanisms to make the retrofit process simple and affordable for everyone.
Andy Holzhauser, Executive Director of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, commented that, “We are all in this together. The success of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance is only as good as the community in which it works. Street by street, block by block, we will bring a message to residents of Greater Cincinnati. One that helps them save money on their utility bills while creating demand for the services of local contractors, preserving the integrity of our historic building stock, and reducing our country’s dependence on foreign oil as well as the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It’s a win for everybody.”