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Monday, October 26, 2009

State continues to rank among leaders in energy efficiency

From an article by Larry Bivins in the Stevens Point Journal:

WASHINGTON — Wisconsin has lost a little ground in energy efficiency, but it still ranks among the top states, according to a new report released today.

The Badger State fell from ninth to 11th on a 2009 scorecard compiled by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. The group rated states’ energy policies and programs in six categories — utilities and public benefits; transportation; building energy codes; combined heat and power; government initiatives; and appliance efficiency standards.

Wisconsin totaled 24 out of a possible 50 points. The national average was 17.

Wisconsin’s best showing was in combined heat and power, on which it scored four out of five total points. Its worst showing was on appliance efficiency standard, where it scored zero.

The state’s slippage in the rankings was more a result of other states having made substantial improvements rather than Wisconsin not doing as much as it had in the past, said Maggie Eldridge, the ACEEE report’s lead author. Maine, for example, moved from 19th to the 10th spot.

Wisconsin, she said, has “a very long and strong track record of offering energy efficiency programs.”

Dan Kohler, director of Wisconsin Environment, said while the state has a good ratepayer-funded energy efficiency program, it could do a lot more. He said his organization has called on the state to require a 2 percent reduction in energy use per year and to use federal money to retrofit homes and businesses.

“Energy efficiency is the fastest and cheapest way to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and reduce carbon pollution,” Kohler said. “Plus, it can save consumers and businesses hundreds of dollars each year on their bills.”

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