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2020

SUSTAINABILITY

REPORT

Sustainability has become a bit of a buzzword within the last several years, and if you ask around, it probably looks a little different to everyone. To us here at EnergyUnited however, sustainability is more than just green initiatives and eco-friendly behaviors—it’s about making long-lasting choices that benefit our communities and our cooperative for years to come. It’s about making savvy business choices so that your bills stay low and our operations stay efficient. But most importantly, it’s about keeping your Every Day, Empowered.

In this year’s Sustainability Report you will see a breakdown of energy mix solutions, Net Zero initiatives, and waste reduction efforts, as well as opportunities for you, our member, to integrate sustainable practices into your own life.

EMPOWERING
TOMORROW,

TODAY

As an energy services provider, we have an innate responsibility to provide our members with reliable electricity at a sustainable cost, with the future of our planet and our co-op ever at heart. That is why we continue to invest in renewable and low-carbon energy initiatives to diversify our energy portfolio while keeping our planet, and your pocketbook, green.

2020 RECAP

1

DC

FAST CHARGERS

Received grants to install two new DC fast chargers within our 19-county service area.

2

EV

FLEET

In 2020 we added a second Tesla Model 3 to our company fleet with plans to further expand our electric vehicle footprint in 2021.

3

GOOD

Behavior

This last year we awarded participating members over $71,000 in energy efficiency rebates for installing eco-friendly heat pumps. We also introduced our Beat the Peak and Peak Time Perks programs and grew our paperless initiative to include over 33,300 members, showing that actions that are great for the planet can be great for your wallet too!

4

Community

SOLAR

We are looking at even more ways to include members in our locally generated, locally produced, and locally used solar. More opportunities to come in 2021!

5

TechnologY

ADVANCEMENTS

Our AMI smart meters and Smart Grid initiatives help us minimize wasted time and energy and get your power on sooner. These technologies allow us to pinpoint the exact outage issue and give us a more holistic view of energy usage when peak times occur. This real-time feedback is the backbone of our Demand Response programs.

6

Net

Zero

In a continued effort to look out for our community, we set a firm goal of reaching Net Zero by the year 2050. In doing so, we enacted plans to retire coal plants from our energy portfolio and work toward leaning more on renewables in the future.

7

COMMUNITY

First

Last year we emphasized work-from-home to keep employees and members safe while maintaining efficiency and low costs.

Our brick and mortars have always been a fixture in the communities we serve, but in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve made the switch to remote working. This choice, though originally founded in the need to keep everyone safe, has shown cost benefits for our co-op as well, and in turn proved to be a more sustainable choice for our employees and our member base. We feel proud that we’ve been able to transition to a new transactional service delivery model which has helped all of us stay healthy, happy, and available to provide our members with reliable and affordable energy.

OUR 2020

ENERGY MIX*

*Does not include off-system sales.

NUCLEAR

Nuclear power reactors do not produce any carbon emissions, which offers a huge advantage over more traditional energy sources. Plus, nuclear energy is incredibly reliable and has the ability to produce energy nonstop.

Our Co-op

Community

It’s not just our wonderful members who are getting involved with energy savings, but also our business partners across our service area. For example, when United Methodist Church Western NC Conference Center wanted to break ground on their new structure, they knew that they wanted it to be crafted with sustainability in mind, to minimize any negative environmental impact.

The 30,000-square-foot center serves over 1,000 churches and approximately 30,000 members across the state. Together we helped facilitate the interconnection of the panels to the grid and set them up on a net metering rate to help them receive an optimal return on the investment in their rooftop solar array.

Putting the Power

in Your Hands

Often, at the mention of “sustainability” or “eco-friendly efforts,” individuals either feel paralyzed by choice and a lack of direction or feel the overwhelming sense of urgency to “be green” ASAP. Luckily, little changes can make a big difference, and our website, emails, and other communications are all great places to get ideas on how to start your relationship with sustainable living.

BEAT THE PEAK & PEAK TIME PERKS

Beat the Peak is a free and voluntary program that notifies members via text and/or email when there are forecasts for extreme temperatures, a.k.a. peak times. Peaks occur when the demand (and cost) for electricity is the highest. When you receive an alert, you’ll be encouraged to adjust your thermostat and lighting and to shift the time you use large appliances in an effort to hold down the demand for power. In turn, you’ll save money by decreasing your power usage, and we will be better able to manage our costs by limiting how much additional energy we have to purchase during the peak!

Enrolling in our Peak Time Perks program allows us, your energy services provider, to automatically adjust your smart thermostat to balance our energy savings. At any time during this event of course, you can choose to manually change the temperature, but allowing us to turn your thermostat up or down a couple notches can help our energy grid in meaningful ways. Not to mention, participants are credited $50 on their electric bill when they sign up and an additional $20 each year after that.

COMMUNITY SOLAR

No roof? No problem! You can still enjoy the benefits of using solar energy for your home by relying on our community solar program. This initiative gives members of our community the opportunity to share the benefits of solar power even if they cannot or prefer not to install solar panels on their property. Project participants benefit from the electricity generated by the community solar farm and help ensure a more eco-friendly future.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

EnergyUnited is a member of Plug-In NC, a statewide advocacy group that supports plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) adoption and raises awareness of the environmental benefits of driving an electric vehicle. In the past year we’ve grown our EV infrastructure base to better support electric vehicles added within our member base every year. Curious if an electric vehicle is right for you? See why it makes sense: https://www.ncdriveelectric.com/co-ops/energyunited/

That Lightbulb Moment

Sustainability doesn’t have to mean installing solar panels on your roof, or composting every food scrap that you produce—and it certainly doesn’t have to be expensive. You may not be able to afford solar panel installation, but you can likely afford a ceiling fan to keep air circulating effectively on hot days, or a tube of caulk to seal windows from the outside air.

Even behavioral changes, which are totally free, can add up to energy and cost savings: like paying your bill online, remembering to cut the light off when you leave a room, taking a shorter shower, or opening the windows on a nice day instead of relying on your thermostat. And if you have trouble remembering tips like this, our Connect membership newsletter, website, and emails are full of cool programs to help inspire positive behaviors for both you and the planet.

What

LIES AHEAD?

While we are very proud of the sustainability efforts that we’ve made over the past year, we know that there are still plenty of positive changes that lie ahead. We have no doubt that together, we can chart a more sustainable path for many years to come. After all, an empowered future starts today.

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