NEW: RI Ranks 5th in US in Energy Efficiency
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Rhode Island is the fifth most energy-efficient state in the nation, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s (ACEEE) 2011 State Scorecard. The annual scorecard, now in its fifth edition, presents a comprehensive ranking of states based metrics capturing best practices and effective leadership in energy efficiency policy and program implementation. Rhode Island improved two spots from last year’s ranking,joining New England neighbors Massachusetts and Vermont in this year’s top five.
“Clearly, 2011 has not been kind to our economy, but energy efficiency remains a growth sector that attracts investment and creates jobs,” said Michael Sciortino, ACEEE senior policy analyst and the report’s lead author. “With even higher energy savings possible, we expect leading states to continue pushing the envelope next year and inspire those at the bottom of the rankings to embrace energy efficiency as a core strategy to gain a competitive advantage by generating cost-savings, promoting technological innovation, and stimulating growth.”
Rhode Island scored 34 out of a total 50 possible points across categories measuring efficiency in the residential, commercial, industrial and transportation sectors. It tied Massachusetts – the most energy efficient state in the country – for first in the “Utility and Public Benefits Fund Efficiency and Policies” score, but fell significantly behind on “State Government Initiatives,” – receiving only 2 of a possible 7 points in the latter category. The state’s “Transportation” score – 5 out of a possible 9 – also lagged behind leaders Massachusetts, California and New York.
Rhode Island’s relative success in the ACEEE rankings suggests that the state has moved forward on its Comprehensive Energy Conservation and Affordability Act of 2006. The legislation established energy efficiency as the state’s first-priority resource and set the framework for investments in energy efficiency programs.
The act set new requirements for strategic long-term planning and requires the setting of three-year energy saving targets. The three-year energy savings targets proposed for 2012-2014 aresome of the most aggressive in the nation. Rhode Island’s major investor-owned utility, Narragansett Electric (a National Grid Company) has adopted a comprehensive program list modeled after those offered in Massachusetts.
Substantial increases in Rhode Island's electric efficiency investments from $14 million in 2008 to $44 million in 2011 also place RI in the top five states nationally for per capita spending on efficiency programs, according to Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP). This aggressive spending model could generate more than $100 million in savings for residential and business customers.
“Energy efficiency is America’s abundant, untapped energy resource and the states continue to press forward to reap its economic and environmental benefits,” said ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel.
“The message here is that energy efficiency is a pragmatic, bipartisan solution that political leaders from both sides of the aisle can support. As they have over the past decades, states continue to provide the leadership needed to forge an energy-efficient economy, which reduces energy costs, spurs job growth, and benefits the environment.”