March 17, 2023
The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) is a public-interest organization promoting greater energy efficiency and clean transportation in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming founded in 2001. They sought out to improve lagging efficiency efforts as areas in these states grew rapidly and experienced the threat of air pollution. Due in large part to the efforts of WRA’s sponsor SWEEP, the region has made great strides in advancing energy efficiency over the past 20 years.
SWEEP focused initially on utility energy efficiency policy and programs. Programs on buildings, industries, and transportation efficiency were then subsequently added. In 2010, SWEEP initiated a new program to provide assistance to states, counties, and cities. SWEEP collaborates with utilities, state and local governments, environmental groups (like WRA!), national laboratories, businesses, and other energy experts.
Some notable accomplishments over the organization’s last 20+ years include a savings of $7.6 billion in energy savings for households and businesses in the region thanks to new programs they helped implement. They also helped unlock approximately $1 billion in funding for utility- and state-funded transportation electrification programs across our region.
SWEEP has made the West a much better place over the course of it’s history. As a result of their work, the region has avoided the need for ten large baseload power plants as a result of utility energy efficiency programs implemented, preventing about 80 million tons of CO2 emissions during the past decade, as well as reducing other pollutants. States have enacted over 130 laws that SWEEP proposed or influenced, including measures on utility efficiency programs, minimum efficiency standards for light bulbs and other products, expanded energy efficiency assistance for income-qualified households, and new efficiency financing tools.
Like WRA, one growing focus area of their future will be explicitly amplifying their work to identify and advocate for solutions to the climate crisis, including how to speed up the necessary transition away from fossil fuels through beneficial electrification of our homes and buildings, as well as our cars, taking advantage of decreasing costs and improving technologies. SWEEP will do this with an equity and environmental justice lens to this work, prioritizing policies, projects, and processes that target efficiency investments and other benefits in disproportionately impacted communities.
There are also countless opportunities presented by the historic levels of federal economic recovery and infrastructure dollars that are flowing to state and local governments; these dollars could trigger transformative changes in how we power our vehicles, buildings and industries — if groups like SWEEP, along with WRA, can strategically shape how they are spent.
Thank you SWEEP in joining us to solve the West’s energy and climate challenges!
Learn more about WRA’s sponsorship programs!
Support from our sponsors directly sustains our mission to fight climate change and its impacts in the West. Together, we can make a difference.