Friday, October 21, 2011From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Wisconsin's move to roll back funding increases for programs that help homeowners and businesses save on energy bills was criticized in a report Thursday by a national energy efficiency advocacy group.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy released a scorecard rating states' efforts in the area of energy efficiency.
Wisconsin was in the top 10 several years ago but ranks 16th in this year's scorecard. Massachusetts was the top state overall, and Michigan and Illinois were cited as among the most improved states.
"Clearly, 2011 has not been kind to our economy, but energy efficiency remains a growth sector that attracts investment and creates jobs," said Michael Sciortino, ACEEE senior policy analyst and the report's lead author.
"With even higher energy savings possible, we expect leading states to continue pushing the envelope next year and inspire those at the bottom of the rankings to embrace energy efficiency as a core strategy to gain a competitive advantage by generating cost-savings, promoting technological innovation, and stimulating growth," he said.
Wisconsin has lost some ground while other states have made significant pushes to set up initiatives that provide incentives to consumers and businesses to conduct energy-saving retrofits. Improvements by Michigan and Illinois pushed those states to rankings just behind Wisconsin.
The report saluted efforts in Arkansas, Rhode Island and Arizona, which "worked with utilities and adopted significant energy efficiency regulations," the report says.
"Despite significant progress, some states have slowed or stepped backward in the race to save energy. New Jersey and Wisconsin have both diminished investments in utility-sector energy efficiency and Arizona is considering a law that will reduce transportation efficiency in the state."