Energy efficiency is gaining momentum in states that havetraditionally been behind the curve in pushing such technology,according to research by the American Council for Energy-EfficientEconomy. But states that have usually ranked lowest on the ACEEE'sannual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard must still address numerous barriers to energy efficiency,according to the new report, Opportunity Knocks: Examining Low-Ranking States in the StateEnergy Efficiency Scorecard . The report draws on a series of interviews with stakeholders instates ranked in the bottom ten of the State Energy EfficiencyScorecard: Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota,Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Despite their low rankings in the scorecard, each of the statesexamined in the report has improved its energy efficiency in someway, ACEEE says. For example, last week, Oklahoma governor MaryFallin signed into law legislation that directs all state agenciesand higher education institutions to achieve at least 20 percentimprovement in energy efficiency by 2020. |
Alabama and South Carolina recently passed statewide building codesto ensure new homes and buildings are built to save energy from thestart. A number of states, notably Kansas, have solid programs inplace to plan and finance energy efficiency improvements in stategovernment facilities, according to the report. Despite progress, numerous barriers are holding up progress onenergy efficiency. The most notable barrier is the perception thatenergy efficiency costs more than it is worth.
ACEEE says that thebenefits of energy efficiency improvements substantially outweightheir costs in the long run. The report finds that a number of actions can advance energyefficiency and do not require major government spending orregulatory action. ACEEE advocates strategies akin to that seen inOklahoma, where states can lead by example by mandating efficiencyin government facilities. States can also adopt and enforcebuilding energy codes or implement utility-sector energy efficiencyprograms where such programs cost less than building new powerplants, the organization says. An ACEEE report released in April claimed that states and utilitieswere leading the way in industrial efficiency projects.
In 2010states and utilities invested over $811 million in directindustrial energy efficiency programs, far exceeding spending bythe federal government and other national-level programs, accordingto Money Well Spent: Industrial Energy Efficiency Program Spending in2010.
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