Creating sustainable solutions for energy efficiency and renewable energy benefits the environment, strengthens the nation's energy security, creates jobs, and improves our economy.
Transforming the way we use energy requires strategic collaborations and partnerships to integrate resources, education and outreach to accelerate adoption of energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean energy technologies, and evidenced-based practices. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Rural Development partnered with U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to develop a nationwide State Energy Extension Partnership (SEEP) through local collaboration of the Land-Grant University System, Cooperative Extension Service and State Energy Offices. This partnership facilitates nationwide community-based education and outreach programs that support energy, and provide environmental and economic advantages for individuals, communities, businesses and government.
There are currently 3 projects funded through the SEEP program which build state-wide capacity to solve energy efficiency and renewable energy challenges at the local, regional, and state levels.
Kentucky CES and EDI to Manage Energy Efficiency
In Kentucky, the Energy Efficiency Awareness and Action (EEAA) program is a result of a long-standing, successful partnership between the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Department for Energy Development and Independence and the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. Through a four-phase approach, EEAA will expand the network of extension agents engaged in energy efficiency actions within the Commonwealth, and also deepen their technical expertise to meet what is expected to be a rising demand for information on managing energy bills in both the residential and commercial sectors. The program will also introduce a significant number of 4-H youth to tools they can use to assist their own households to become more energy efficient.
NE SEEP Enhances Energy Efficiency Practices
The Nebraska Energy Office created a State Energy Extension Partnership (SEEP) with the University of NE-Lincoln (UNL) Extension to enhance adoption of energy efficiency practices. Their collaborative project, Nebraska Energy Extension Partnership – Agricultural Efficiency Nexus: Energy, Water, and Food, includes improved communication and planning between the Energy Office and UNL Extension to develop a Nebraska SEEP strategy. The strategy focuses on leveraging existing state and federal energy program resources; increasing energy efficiency through educational projects; and learning activities that increase transformational behavior change in Nebraska communities, local governments, businesses, farms, and individuals. Project activities integrate a continuum of outreach, educational media, technical assistance, training, workshops, and educational experiences. These efforts enhance overall outcomes, including reducing the use of energy in homes and businesses; increasing the number of homes and businesses that use emerging energy technologies; increasing consumer awareness of energy issues when making large and small purchases; and increasing compliance with the current building energy code.
WI SEEPI Advances Bioenergy Deployment
The Wisconsin State Energy Extension Partnership Initiative (WI SEEPI) is a collaborative project between the Wisconsin State Energy Office and University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension. The objectives of WI SEEPI are to: (1) increase state and local community policy development; (2) increase the understanding of energy systems and renewable energy sources by local governments and local businesses (farms); (3) create demonstration projects that address efficient energy use and conservation; (4) increase on-farm agricultural conservation, energy audits, and energy use in the production of food and fiber; and (5) increase biofuels and bioeconomy systems support. WI SEEPI creates an enduring partnership that provides a clearinghouse of information on conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and bioenergy opportunities; technical assistance for local units of government and locally owned businesses (including farmers); facilitation assistance on the creation of energy planning processes; and information about enduring funding sources for energy projects. Other major stakeholders in Wisconsin will also engage with WI SEEPI to improve energy awareness and create transformational community change in the State of Wisconsin.