Dear Editor: The Biz Beat article “Wisconsin slips down in energy-efficiency ranking,” published Oct. 6, reveals how Wisconsin has lost its one-time leadership position for policies and programs to achieve greater energy efficiency according to annual rankings performed by my organization, the American Council for an Energy-Efficiency Economy (ACEEE). We are pleased to see this issue raised in Wisconsin.
The article contains one statement, however, that is incorrect. A spokeswoman for the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, Kristin Ruesch, states that our group (ACEEE) did not look at “achievements” but “spending alone.” Our State Scorecard, in fact, assesses and includes scores both for program spending and savings (achievements). We agree with the PSC that cost-effectiveness and savings impacts are important attributes of programs like Focus on Energy. It is precisely because of the demonstrated cost-effectiveness of Focus on Energy ($2.30 in economic benefits for every program dollar spent) that we believe higher levels of investments in this clean, low-cost energy resource are justified. The PSC reached the same conclusion in its 2010 review of the program, which led to its recommendation to greatly increase funding and associated energy savings goals for Focus on Energy.
Our neighboring states rank higher than Wisconsin because they continue to push for higher energy savings through increased investments in energy efficiency. Wisconsin, by contrast, is standing still and by doing so, is getting left behind. Energy efficiency saves customers money, protects the environment and creates jobs here in Wisconsin. We encourage Wisconsin’s policymakers to take actions to put Wisconsin back in a leadership position for creating a green energy economy for the 21st century.
Dan York, Ph.D., Utilities Program director, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy