By: Dr. Timothy D. Unruh
When I last wrote to readers of Energy Services Media, COVID-19 was just beginning to truly impact life here in the United States. In hindsight, I can neither say exactly how I expected this new disease would impact me and my loved ones, nor can I recall what changes I anticipated it would bring to our global communities and economies.
What I can say for certain today, however, is that the profound, incredibly complex challenges posed by COVID-19 have not only transformed nearly every aspect of our daily lives, but as a result, are necessitating our adaptation to an unprecedented reality.
We at the National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO) understand that our members, partners, affiliates and other stakeholders in the U.S. energy efficiency industry know this all too well. More than 620,500 U.S. clean energy workers lost their jobs in the 12 weeks since my last note, and more than two-thirds were employed in the energy efficiency sector. Collectively, our industry has shed the most jobs of any clean energy sector for three consecutive months, according to a recent analysis.
We can attribute these regrettable circumstances and setbacks to the disruptive effects of COVID-19. The necessary strictures of social distancing and lockdowns have, understandably, also made it more difficult for our member and non-member energy service companies (ESCOs) to commence and, in some cases, complete their projects. Add to this COVID-19’s depression of U.S. investor and consumer confidence, and the casual observer might conclude that today’s energy efficiency sector has little reason for optimism.
But we at NAESCO see it differently. For decades, our organization has advocated on behalf of ESCOs, witnessing firsthand the simultaneous evolution of the energy savings performance contract (ESPC) model and the maturation of its associated marketplace for energy efficiency and infrastructure improvement services. Our organization understands that this industry has its origins in devising unique, innovative solutions to critical building performance issues, saving customers hundreds of millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions and billions of dollars in energy costs.
Today, NAESCO is as it has been since its inception: dedicated to supporting its members and partners with the common goal of ensuring performance contracting remains at the fore of our collective effort to modernize America’s building infrastructure. There are numerous sectors of our economy for which our guiding principle – BUILD BACK BETTER – assumes a whole new meaning. The institutions that comprise our healthcare, education, and federal, state and municipal government sectors are made functional in part by the U.S. public buildings in which they operate. Yet, COVID-19 puts tremendous additional pressure on the mission critical infrastructure of these essential institutions. Therefore, we at NAESCO know that our members must be a vital part of the solution. It is clear that, against the backdrop of a global pandemic, our mission is more relevant today than ever before.
The National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO) has been advancing the energy efficiency industry for more than 35 years. NAESCO is the leading national trade organization representing and promoting the energy efficiency industry in the energy marketplace, the media and the government both at the state and federal level.
Dr. Timothy D. Unruh is the Executive Director of the National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO). In this role, he manages the representation of its member Energy Service Companies. NAESCO provides advocacy for the industry at the Federal, State and Local levels, and provides for member company Accreditation. Prior to this role, Dr. Unruh was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Renewable Power at the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Office of the US Department of Energy (DOE).
As the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Dr. Unruh managed the nation’s renewable power research, while also providing oversight to the Grid Modernization Initiative. Also while at the DOE EERE, Dr. Unruh directed the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP). As FEMP Director, Dr. Unruh oversaw the implementation of policy and actions that resulted in energy efficiency implementation, renewable energy adoption, and reductions in energy and water use in Federal government operations. Dr. Unruh coordinated with DOE national laboratories and other Federal agencies in that capacity.
During his career, Dr. Unruh has performed numerous assessments, project analyses, and energy engineering services for an array of facility types. He is involved in the development of electrical power quality standards with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Power Quality Subcommittee. Dr. Unruh has doctorate, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering from Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas.
Upcoming NAESCO Events:
A Conversation with Public Facility Executives – A 3-Day Virtual Event
August 18-20, 2020 – Virtual Meeting