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Energy efficiency measures are thriving in state capitals around the U.S., with several states taking major steps that have improved their ranks in the seventh annual “State Energy Efficiency Scorecard,” recently released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). For the first time in the history of the scorecard, the 2013 ranking of the states is being released with the participation of a U.S. Department of Energy secretary, Ernest Moniz, Ph.D., along with a top elected official of a state, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.
The State Scorecard shows that the top 10 states for energy efficiency are: Massachusetts, California, New York, Oregon, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Maryland, and Illinois. Massachusetts retains the top spot for the third consecutive year, reportedly based on its continued commitment to energy efficiency under its Green Communities Act. In California, requirements for reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have led the state to identify several strategies for smart growth, keeping it in the number-two spot. Connecticut is also closing the gap due to passage of a major energy bill in 2013, and Illinois is making its first appearance in the top 10 this year, reaping the benefits of increased energy savings called for in the state’s energy efficiency resource standard.
According to the 2013 State Scorecard, the five states most in need of improvement (starting with last) are: North Dakota, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska and Mississippi. However, Mississippi also appears on the ACEEE’s list of the top five most improved states, reportedly revealing an upward trend as more states embrace energy efficiency. Last year, Mississippi passed comprehensive energy legislation that included energy efficiency as a major component. The bill included provisions setting an energy code for commercial and state-owned buildings. Mississippi is now set to become a regional leader in energy efficiency. West Virginia’s score improved due to the state’s adoption of stronger building codes. The other three most improved states in 2013 were Maine, Kansas, and Ohio.
“Energy efficiency is a critical tool for cutting harmful carbon emissions and the best way to reduce energy bills for America’s families,” Moniz said. “We applaud the continued progress in energy efficiency nationwide and stand ready to help states as they make their communities cleaner and more sustainable, while saving taxpayer dollars and fostering greater economic growth.”
For more information, visit http://aceee.org/state-policy/scorecard.