Catalyst for Collective Climate Action: NOPEC’s Role in Strengthening Communities

by | May 6, 2024 | Stories

In the face of the escalating climate crisis, collective action is imperative. As the proud Host City Sponsor of the 2024 Climate Leadership Conference in Cleveland, the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) plays a pivotal role in propelling communities in this region and throughout the state towards a sustainable future.

Serving over 2 million Ohioans across 240 communities, NOPEC is one of America’s largest nonprofit governmental energy aggregators. As the inaugural Director of Resiliency & Sustainability at NOPEC, I can attest to the critical role we play in shaping the energy future of our region. As we convene for the annual Climate Leadership Conference, my NOPEC colleagues and I look forward to facilitating and engaging in discussions on regional collaboration, integrated climate solutions and influencing environmental policies.  It is crucial to recognize the efforts of The Climate Registry (TCR) in supporting and providing platforms for Northeast Ohio regional leaders. TCR enables leaders to share and accelerate collective action towards ambitious climate adaptation and implementation strategies. As part of TCR’s initiatives and their global leadership convening subnational delegations at the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) COP (Conference of the Parties) TCR has effectively amplified the voices of the sub-national and regional actors. Notably, in 2022 and 2023, TCR convened multi-sectoral delegations to COP 27 and COP 28, representing Northeast Ohio with executives from local and county governments, chambers of commerce, green banks, philanthropic organizations, and grassroots leadership.

NOPEC’s mission is grounded in three key pillars: aggregation, education, and advocacy. Through these, we empower consumers and communities to effectively navigate their energy needs while supporting members in their sustainability and resiliency efforts. As an energy aggregator, we leverage our bulk buying power to secure competitive energy rates and terms, ensuring access to affordable and sustainable energy solutions, thus alleviating financial burdens while advancing environmental goals. Under the education pillar, NOPEC equips communities and residents with essential knowledge on energy conservation, resiliency, and sustainability. Our Sustainable Technical Assistance Resources (S.T.A.R.) pilot initiative, offers funding and technical support for local governments to conduct carbon accounting for municipal buildings and site evaluations for solar development, fostering informed decision-making and aiding their municipal decarbonization pathways. As ardent advocates for consumer-focused legislation, NOPEC actively lobbies at the state and federal levels, amplifying community voices on issues like community solar, Ohio-based renewable energy, and consumer protection.

NOPEC acknowledges and embraces the diverse needs of the communities it serves. Whether steadfast in their commitment to sustainability, just beginning their climate action journey, or focusing on energy efficiency for cost savings, this diversity drives NOPEC’s commitment to meet each community where they are in their resiliency and sustainability journeys.

Going beyond conventional energy supply, NOPEC empowers communities to effectively navigate their energy needs providing innovative solutions tailored to meet the unique requirements of each community. Examples include providing access to 100% renewable energy through green-e certified renewable energy credits (RECs), offering energy efficiency low-interest Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans, and our annual awarding of $4-$5M in energy efficiency community grants – among many other programs. These tangible initiatives contribute to the region’s progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure), SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), and SDG 15 (Life on Land), while also indirectly supporting SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being) and SDG 13 (Climate Action).

NOPEC is pleased to support and engage with The Climate Registry, a globally recognized leader that has been instrumental in advancing climate initiatives at the national, sub-national and regional levels as a lead sponsor of the Climate Leadership Conference in Cleveland. This commitment not only enhances our climate action efforts, but also advances our goal to foster open dialogues and share best practices across sectors. With a steadfast commitment to working towards a net-zero target by 2050, NOPEC stands ready to lead, collaborate, and work towards a more sustainable and resilient region for generations to come. We are proud to partner with our current energy supplier, NextEra Energy, the global leader in renewable energy generation, and the first US utility company to commit to a real zero goal by 2045. These efforts, though local, contribute to a broader collective vision for sustainability, where NOPEC plays a pivotal role in mobilizing communities and driving collective climate action.

*The opinions expressed within the content are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of The Climate Registry.