New Energy Standards for Massachusetts
Massachusetts has taken a major step to reduce energy consumption.
The plan calls for a statewide reduction of 2.4 percent in electricity
use and 1.15 percent in natural gas use annually for three years. The
savings are to be achieved largely through $1.6 billion in incentives
for utility customers who take certain actions to conserve energy, like
insulating their houses or replacing conventional light bulbs with
compact fluorescent ones.
At the heart of the Massachusetts plan is a quadrupling of annual
spending for consumer outreach and conservation incentive programs to
about $600 million annually from $150 million. Money will be available
to consumers for services like free energy audits, and rebates will be
offered for the purchase of energy-efficient appliances and air
The move puts the state in competition with--if not ahead of--California as the state with the strictest energy standards.
Steve Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy
Efficient Economy, which ranked California and Massachusetts No. 1 and
No. 2 respectively in its 2009 survey of the most energy-efficient
states, said that while a switch in those rankings was not certain, it
would much prefer to see this sort of action on a nationwide level.
Failing that, however, a state-by-state approach will have to do. The
insulation program, in particular, will provide some boost to the
construction sector, and it will save consumers money in the long run.
--Bruce D. Snider