MASSACHUSETTS RANKED FIRST IN THE NATION FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Governor Patrick's clean energy agenda cited as Massachusetts tops California in ACEEE’s State Energy Efficiency Scorecard
WASHINGTON, D.C. –Thursday, October 20, 2011 – Governor Deval Patrick today joined the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) to announce Massachusetts has been named number one in ACEEE's annual state-by-state energy efficiency scorecard. Massachusetts topped California in the ranking for the first time, thanks to the Patrick-Murray Administration’s clean energy agenda, which includes the Green Communities Act of 2008 and other innovative programs and policies to save energy and create jobs. Governor Deval Patrick accepted the honor and offered remarks at a ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. this morning.
“Thanks to our investments in innovation and infrastructure, Massachusetts is now leading the nation in energy efficiency,” said Governor Patrick. “Through our Green Communities Act, we set aggressive goals and laid the foundation for greater investment in energy efficiency – and now we are proud to be a model for the nation and world.”
California held the top slot on the national scorecard for the first four years. ACEEE ranked Massachusetts number four in 2006, but the Bay State climbed to number two in 2009 and held that slot for two years, before moving up to number one today.
ACEEE says Massachusetts now has the most aggressive energy efficiency targets in the nation, citing the Green Communities Act as central to Massachusetts’ success. ACEEE also pointed to the effectiveness of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s integrated approach to creating jobs, helping clean energy businesses thrive, improving energy security and lowering energy costs, and reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions. In addition to the Green Communities Act, the Governor has also signed the Green Jobs Act and Global Warming Solutions Act. ACEEE calculated scores based on utility efficiency programs and policy, transportation, building energy codes, combined heat and power projects, state government initiatives, and appliance efficiency standards.
"Massachusetts has a long record of success implementing energy efficiency programs,” said ACEEE in its report. “The state took a major leap forward in 2008, however, when it passed the Green Communities Act , which established energy efficiency as the state’s 'first-priority' resource, creating an Energy Efficiency Advisory Council to collaborate with utilities to develop statewide efficiency plans in three-year cycles. The three-year plan in operation aims to achieve electric savings equal to 2.4 percent and natural gas savings equal to 1.5 percent of sales in 2012, which amounts to the most aggressive EERS target in the nation. The Green Communities Act is ultimately expected to lead to an investment of $2.2 billion in energy efficiency and demand resources between 2010 and 2012."
“Under the leadership of Governor Patrick, our policies have positioned Massachusetts as a leader in energy efficiency adoption and it’s no accident we’ve received this honor,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done with our legislative, utility, environmental partners, and communities to reach our collective statewide energy efficiency goals.”
The Department of Energy Resources’ (DOER) Green Communities Designation and Grant Program, which is a result of the Green Communities Act, uses funding from auctions of carbon emissions permits under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to reward communities that win Green Communities designation by meeting five clean energy benchmarks including adoption of energy efficient building and planning practices.
To date, 74 municipalities across the Commonwealth have become Green Communities and created savings equivalent to the annual energy consumption of approximately 12,978 New England households. In addition, 97 municipalities have adopted the new energy efficient stretch energy code.
The Green Communities Act also requires investor-owned utilities to pursue all cost-effective energy efficiency – making energy efficiency Massachusetts’ “first fuel” for meeting energy demand. In 2010, the first implementation year, the utility energy efficiency plans saved an equivalent to the annual electricity usage of almost 85,000 households and the equivalent to the annual natural gas usage of nearly 14,000 households. In addition, measures implemented under the plans produced greenhouse gas emissions reductions equal to eliminating more than 74,000 cars.
"By making energy efficiency Massachusetts' first fuel, thousands of people - from contractors and homeowners to businesses and municipalities - are benefiting from our strategic energy efficiency investments,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Mark Sylvia. “We are demonstrating what’s possible and building on a history of leadership as we improve our codes, incentives, and infrastructure across the state. We are proud to be recognized by ACEEE today.”
“This ranking affirms the policy choices Massachusetts has made: prioritizing cost-effective energy efficiency as the lowest cost, cleanest energy resource, emphasizing the importance of a strong, diverse stakeholder council, and committed program administrators,” said Daniel Sosland, Executive Director of ENE (Environment Northeast). ENE represents the environmental community on the state’s Energy Efficiency Advisory Council.
"The success of the Massachusetts program proves that customers will respond when programs show results that save energy end reduce costs at the same time," said Robert A. Rio, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at Associated Industries of Massachusetts, who represents industry on the state Energy Efficiency Advisory Council that developed the Commonwealth's three-year energy efficiency plans.
“Energy efficiency is America’s abundant, untapped energy resource and the states continue to press forward to reap its economic and environmental benefits. The message here is that energy efficiency is a pragmatic, bipartisan solution that political leaders from both sides of the aisle can support," said ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel. "As they have over the past decades, states continue to provide the leadership needed to forge an energy-efficient economy, which reduces energy costs, spurs job growth, and benefits the environment.”
Earlier this week, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) reported the Commonwealth’s clean energy companies grew jobs at a rate of 6.7 percent from July 2010 through July 2011 in its 2011 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report.