Maine sees largest drop of any state in the nation
Natural Resources Council of Maine and Environment Northeast
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a national nonpartisan organization, has released its 2012 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard showing that, in 2012, Maine’s ranking fell precipitously to 25th of all states, primarily due to the state’s failure to fund money-saving efforts to reach Maine’s energy savings targets. State funding falls approximately $30 million short of what Efficiency Maine projects is needed to meet savings targets established by Maine law.
Maine experienced the largest drop in the nation in energy efficiency rankings. Maine ranked #10 and #11 in 2010 and 2011 respectively. In 2012, Maine fell to #25.
The scorecard ranks states on their performance regarding energy efficiency, including on their policies and program efforts. The scorecard documents best practices and provides recommendations for ways in which states can improve their energy efficiency performance. It serves as a benchmark for states from year to year.
“Most northeast states are leaders on energy efficiency, because they recognize that investment in energy efficiency is likely the most effective thing states can do to cut energy costs for people and businesses,” said Dylan Voorhees, Clean Energy Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “Maine is falling behind because we have failed to provide enough support for cost-effective energy efficiency initiatives, and because we are even rolling back progress, including our energy efficient building codes.”
“We can purchase energy efficiency for 3 to 4 cents per kilowatt-hour, or we can purchase electricity generated from power plants for around 7.5 cents,” said Beth Nagusky, ENE Maine Director. “Investing in all cost-effective energy efficiency in Maine should be a no-brainer, but in Maine it has become divisive. Full investment would save Mainers about 5% on their energy bills by 2025 as compared to a business as usual’s approach. This would save ratepayers $60-65 per year, according to a recent analysis by ENE.”
“Maine, which has historically been among the leaders of energy efficiency, dropped significantly in the 2012 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard,” said Ben Foster, Senior Policy Analyst for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). “Although the state has in place legislation that sets binding energy savings targets, recent budgets for efficiency programs have not been allocated at a level that could reasonably deliver on those goals, and so Maine received no credit for them. In this and other ways, Maine has put the brakes on its previous commitment to energy efficiency, and so has been overtaken by other states.
A news conference on the scorecard held yesterday emphasized the bipartisan nature of support for energy efficiency as a way to cut energy costs. Governor Mary Fallin (R-Oklahoma) said, “As governor of Oklahoma, making government smaller, smarter, and more efficient is among my top priorities. Energy inefficiency wastes natural resources and tax dollars that could otherwise be used for essential services like education, transportation, and public safety. Thanks to efficiency programs by our state utilities, state tax incentives for more energy-efficient construction, and our state plan to achieve 20 percent energy savings by 2020 among all state agencies and entities, Oklahoma is one of the most-improved states on this year’s ACEEE scorecard.”
“Maine has been penny-wise but pound foolish by failing to fully fund energy efficiency measures that cost less than energy supply. Full investment not only will save ratepayers money, it will create jobs and boost our economy,” said Nagusky.
“Efficiency Maine has achieved outstanding results over the past two years, but they can only work with the hand that is dealt to them by policymakers and the Public Utilities Commission,” said Voorhees. “Hopefully this scorecard is a wake-up call that we are not only falling behind, but we’re in danger of inadvertently ensuring that Mainers unnecessarily spend hundreds of million of dollars on energy bills if we don’t change course.”
See the complete ACEEE Report at http://aceee.org/research-report/e12c