Massachusetts has put in place the new energy efficiency standards that will make it the most energy efficient state in the United States.
Today, Massachusetts' state officials announced an energy efficiency plan which calls for an annual statewide decrease in electricity use of 2.4% and a 1.15% decrease in natural gas use for the next three years.
The goals are part of the state's Green Communities Act, and will be achieved primarily through a US$1.6 billion incentive program for utility customers that take certain measures to reduce their energy consumption. Some of these measures include insulating a house, or swapping incandescent light bulbs for more energy-efficient lighting such as LED or compact fluorescent light bulbs.
The key to Massachusetts plan is quadrupling the amount of money the state invests in energy conservation outreach. The state will increase its funding for consumer outreach to $600 million from $150 million. As a result, Massachusetts residents will be offered free energy audits, and rebates for for purchasing more energy-efficient appliances.
The plan will cost over $1 billion. The state intends for a large portion of the plan to be paid for by revenue generated from auctioning pollution allowances as part of the the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Although the plan has significant up-front costs, the state expects consumers will eventually reap $6 billion in energy savings. As well, the new energy efficiency measures are expected to create 25,000 jobs.
Ian Bowles, Massachusetts' Secretary for Energy and Environmental Affairs, said, "The Green Communities Act established energy efficiency as the Commonwealth's 'first fuel'--what we look to first to power our homes and our economy."
Read the full story at the New York Times: Massachusetts Sets Ambitious Energy Standards
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