California falls behind Massachusetts in energy efficiency
California has fallen behind Massachusetts as the country's most energy-efficient state, according to the 2011 Energy Scorecard released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy on Thursday. California had ranked first for each of the previous four years' scorecards.
While California and Massachusetts have both effectively implemented demand-side management plans, "Massachusetts regulators have sent a very consistent message that they want to ramp up their energy-efficiency programs. California has been staying even, and Massachusetts has been flooring it," said Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
Part of Massachusetts' energy efficiency increase is due to long-term investment. In 2009, the state spent $61 per customer to improve energy efficiency, compared with $32 per customer in California, Nadel said. That investment is now paying off. In 2012, Massachusetts will reduce its electricity demand 2.4%, the report said, whereas California demand will decline by 1%.
The 2011 scorecard reported that 29 states had adopted or made significant progress toward adopting new energy-saving building codes for homes and commercial properties; just 20 states had done so in 2010. It also found that 24 states had adopted an Energy Efficiency Resource Standard, setting long-term energy savings targets for utility-sector investments in energy efficiency.
"More and more states recognize that energy efficiency is a way to reduce costs," Nadel said. "You reduce energy bills, but energy efficiency is less expensive than new power plants."
-- Susan Carpenter
Photo: A man looks at an Energy Star appliance. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times