---- — Many states continue to move strongly toward improvements in energy efficiency, with New York among the leaders.
This year, New York scored third among all other states in advancing energy-efficiency initiatives on the sixth-annual scorecard created by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. For the second year in a row, Massachusetts took the top spot on the scorecard.
Studies show that energy-efficiency programs are being embraced by Republicans and Democrats alike at the state level. That non-partisan status is crucial because many discussions about U.S. energy policy begin with the false premise that the only way to safeguard our reliable future is to expand our supply.
While some supply investments will be needed, our top priority should always be energy efficiency, our cheapest, cleanest and fastest energy resource.
Energy-efficiency improvements help businesses, governments and consumers meet their needs by using less energy, saving them money, driving investment across all sectors of the economy, creating much-needed job and reducing environmental impacts, experts point out.
All we need do is look around the North Country to see energy-conversation efforts and ever-increasing investment in renewable energy sources. In northern Clinton County and Franklin County, wind-energy technology continues to expand. More efficient wind turbines are being developed, resulting in more resources for the state’s electricity grid. Franklin County is in line for a major natural-gas project that will expand alternatives in our area. More solar-energy projects have been created by both public and private enterprise throughout the North Country.
The State Energy Efficiency Scorecard benchmarks all 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to the policies and programs that encourage the efficient use of energy in many sectors of the economy. The report is designed to “capture the diversity of efforts related to energy efficiency happening at the state level and to encourage friendly competition among the states to craft innovative policies and programs that deliver economic, environmental and energy-security benefits of efficiency.”
The report examines six of the primary policy areas in which states typically pursue energy efficiency: utility and public-benefits programs and policies; transportation policies; building energy codes; combined heat and power policies; state government-led initiatives around energy efficiency; and appliance and equipment standards.
New York has become a leader in energy efficiency and renewable-energy endeavors, and the North Country is playing a role in that effort. We hope the progress continues because alternative energy sources and conservation combine to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.