By Emily Greenhalgh
PBN Web Editor
WASHINGTON – Rhode Island ranked seventh across the country for energy efficiency, according to the 2012 Energy Efficiency Scorecard released Wednesday by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
Massachusetts took the top slot on the annual list for the second consecutive year, having overtaken California on the 2011 list.
The rest of the top 10 (in order) were as follows: California, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Connecticut, Washington, Maryland and Minnesota.
“We find that more and more states are taking action to improve energy efficiency and move up in our rankings, and it’s no secret why they want to accomplish that: energy efficiency is a pragmatic and effective strategy for promoting economic growth, creating jobs and securing environmental benefits,” ACEEE Senior Policy Analyst and scorecard lead author Ben Foster said in a statement. “The scorecard serves as a benchmark that encourages states to continue strengthening their commitment to energy efficiency.”
Nearly half of all the states on the list have adopted and funded an energy efficiency resource standard that sets long-term energy savings targets and fuels investments in energy efficiency programs within the utilities sector.
Rhode Island and Massachusetts were both listed among the states with the most aggressive energy savings targets, along with Arizona, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, New York and Vermont.
The ACEEE report found that the national annual savings from customer-funded energy efficiency programs topped 18 million megawatt-hours in 2010, a 40 percent increase over a year earlier. According to the report, this is roughly equivalent to the amount of electricity the state of Wyoming uses each year.
“These findings show that energy efficiency is being embraced by Republicans and Democrats alike at the state level. That nonpartisan status is crucial because too many conversations about U.S. energy policy begin with the false premise that the only way to safeguard our reliable energy future is to expand our supply,” ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel said in prepared remarks.
“While some supply investments will be needed, the truth is that step one should always be energy efficiency, our cheapest, cleanest and fastest energy resource,” added Nadel. “Energy efficiency improvements help businesses, governments and consumers meet their needs by using less energy, saving them money, driving investment across all sectors of the economy, creating much-needed jobs and reducing environmental impacts.”
The ACEEE scorecard benchmarks all 50 states and the District of Columbia according to policies and programs that encourage the efficient use of energy in numerous sectors of the economy. Policy scores are based on policies in place as of September 2012.