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By Kimberley Donoghue
PBN Web Editor
WASHINGTON - Rhode Island continues to be one of the nation’s most energy-efficient states, ranking at No. 7, an improvement from its No. 9 spot last year, on the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s 2010 scorecard.
The advocacy group ranked California as the most energy-efficient state for the fourth year in a row. Massachusetts came in second place, maintaining its 2009 ranking, but the advocacy group highlighted the Bay State’s improvements in utility efficiency programs, transportation efficiency, availability of state-sponsored initiatives, and major plans to increase the breadth of its efficiency efforts in the next few years.
The scorecard examined states in six policy areas: utility-sector and public benefits programs and policies; transportation polices; building energy codes; state government initiatives; appliance efficiency standards; and regulations that encourage the use of systems that generate both electricity and thermal energy.
The four most-improved states were Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Alaska; all four climbed at least eight spots since last year’s ranking. North Dakota came in last place.
Connecticut dropped five spots to tie with Minnesota in eighth place. The advocacy group listed Connecticut - along with New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia - as one of the states that have “made plans to divert millions of dollars of energy efficiency funds to balance the budget or reduce deficits.”
Rhode Island scored a 29.5 on the 50-point scale, while Massachusetts earned 42.5 points.
Rhode Island earned 4 out of 8 points for transportation and 5.5 points out of a possible 7 points for its building energy code. The Ocean State’s government initiatives lagged at 1.5 out of 7 points and its appliance efficiency standards earned 0.5 out of 3 points.
Massachusetts scored perfect marks for its building energy code, combined heat and power score, and its state government initiatives score.
“Even as Washington dawdles on climate and clean energy, states are moving ahead with considerable vigor on these vital matters, with energy efficiency initiatives leading the way,” said ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel. “States are moving forward and advancing energy efficiency policies and programs … to create jobs and stimulate their economies during a period of considerable economic uncertainty.”
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is a nonprofit research and policy group dedicated to promoting energy efficiency. To learn more, visit aceee.org.